What Is a Construction Site? Site Planning and Site Inspection 101


There’s much to plan in construction. While the building gets the attention, there are equally important functions happening outside of the final product. For example, the construction site. This is where all the work takes place, and that work can be very dangerous. The building site requires site inspection, construction site safety and more.

Let’s take a closer look at this often-neglected side of construction project management. We’ll define what a construction site is, what is meant by construction site planning and inspection and explore the variety of construction sites and roles you’ll find when working in construction. Construction sites might not get the glory, but no construction project would be done without them.

What Is a Construction Site?

First, let’s define a construction site; it’s a piece of land on which a building or some other structure is going to be erected. It’s often referred to as a building site, but a construction site is typically more expensive. Construction sites are suitable for more than just a housing project and they’re suitable for any type of construction.

But a construction site requires more than just setting up work on a plot. There are soil and vegetation that needs to be addressed to make the construction site suitable. It’s only after this landscaping is complete and handed to the contractor to start work that it becomes officially a construction site.

There can be major or minor site changes depending on the condition of the plot. But all construction sites need to comply with the local building regulations that govern when and how work can be done.

What Is Site Planning?

A site plan also called a plot plan, is a drawing made by the architect, urban planner or engineer that illustrates the existing and proposed conditions for the construction site. These conditions can include buildings, roads, sidewalks, parking, drainage, sewer and water lines, lighting and landscaping.

A site plan is a drawing that illustrates the arrangement of whatever structures are to be built on the site, such as buildings, parking, drives and landscaping. Several construction drawings will be used by the contractor to guide their work. But it’s also submitted to the local building authority to make sure that codes in the jurisdiction are being met. Copies of the drawings are kept for historical records.

Site planning is executed by a professional who is either a licensed engineer, architect or land surveyor. The site plan also includes site analysis and planning to expand from the structures being erected to include transportation and other areas that’ll be affected by the build.

Sitting planning, especially site analysis, is the first step toward creating a construction project plan. You can’t build until you know what you’re building on and how to modify it to support the planned structure. Project management software helps you take this data and organize it.

ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps you break the project into phases, tasks, resources and costs and links all four task dependencies to avoid costly delays. You can even filter for the critical path. Then set a baseline to compare your planned effort against your actual effort to keep to your plan and deliver on time and within budget. Get started with this free construction schedule template.

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What Is a Construction Site Inspection?

A construction site inspection ensures the work being done complies with the plans and construction specifications of the project, but also the requirements of the client and code regulations. This isn’t a one-time event, but the job site is checked regularly throughout the execution of the project.

There are more reasons for the construction site inspection, such as ensuring the quality of the work and the safety of its execution in terms of both the process and the finished product. This is part of the monitoring and reporting phase in construction and involves clear communication with stakeholders who have a vested interest in keeping the project expectations progressing as planned.

Construction site inspections cover a lot of ground, all of it critical to the success of the project. Here are some focus areas in a typical construction site inspection and why they’re so important to the successful delivery of the project.

Daily Progress

A progress inspection is part of the daily responsibility on the job site to ensure that it complies with project requirements. These can be done by one or more project members depending on the size of the job. These individuals can also be from different trades as long as they’re experts in what they’re inspecting. If needed, experts can be brought in for inspections on outside issues, such as waste management or environmental policy.

Construction Site Safety Hazards

A construction site safety hazards inspection looks for on-site hazards, whether they’re a danger to the construction crew or to the integrity of what’s being built on the site. Not only are these hazards identified, but there are recommendations made to fix them, provide some kind of protection or mitigate the issue.

Regulatory Compliance

A regulatory inspection is part of the safety, performance and quality inspection for a job site. A safety inspector or regulatory inspector looks at the operation and activities of the project to make sure that the laws, regulations and rules are all being followed.

Quality Control

This inspection is about overseeing the processes and procedures related to managing control on the construction site and making sure that the project and materials used are all meeting the standards set during the project planning phase. This is done to ensure that the expectations of all parties involved are being met.

Environmental Factors

An environmental factors inspection surveys and samples soil and existing structures on the construction site to measure asbestos and other environmental impacts. This includes groundwater sampling and phase I and phase II site assessments, which are done by qualified environmental professionals.

Draw Inspections

Of all the inspections listed for the construction site, the draw inspection is the simplest. It takes place in both commercial and residential construction projects and involves the builder and the lender. The draw inspection makes sure that the lender knows that the project is progressing as planned.

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Types of Construction Sites

We mentioned two types of construction sites, commercial and residential. There are also industrial and infrastructure ones. Of course, there are other ways to define a construction site, such as by sector, owner, occupancy, etc. But there are four main types of construction sites that we’ll define.

  • Residential construction sites: This is a construction that’ll serve as a home for people, whether it’s single or multi-family homes, such as apartment buildings or row houses.
  • Commercial construction sites: The commercial construction site is a place to erect structures related to business including offices, warehouses, etc.
  • Industrial construction sites: Like commercial, industrial construction sites are places of business, but they’re factories and large-scale facilities that require more than office space. They manufacture products and include heavy machinery.
  • Infrastructure construction sites: The last of our four main construction site types is infrastructure, which can be anything from roads and bridges to airports.

Construction Site Roles

The construction site requires a vast number of construction workers to build the proposed structure. We’ve broken down the construction site roles involved in construction project management into four main disciplines.

Construction Site Manager

The construction site manager is responsible for the safety of the work environment and that the work is done on time and within budget. They work with architects, surveyors and builders in order to keep the construction project on track and ensure that there are resources available when needed.

Construction Site Engineer

The construction site engineer offers technical advice as well as planning, marking out and leveling the construction site. This is done before any building takes place. They can also build roads, drainage systems and other related things. Their responsibilities are similar to that of a construction site manager as they both manage the project, supervise staff and offer onsite support.

Construction Site Inspector

The construction site inspector is responsible for reviewing the work on the construction site to make sure it passes all inspections, such as safety, code, etc. They not only check but record the results and manage that archive, which includes the time of the inspection and the materials reviewed.

Construction Workers

This leaves the construction workers, also called construction laborers or the construction crew. They’re the ones who execute the onsite tasks from removing debris to building scaffolding, loading and unloading building materials and operating heavy equipment.

ProjectManager Helps You Manage Your Construction Site

From managing construction workers to tracking progress and recording inspections, managing a construction site involves a lot of work and coordination. ProjectManager is award-winning construction project management software that helps you plan, manage and track that work in real time.

There are a lot of different types of workers on a construction site and our software allows them to use whichever tool best suits their work. Construction site managers often prefer Gantt charts to plan, schedule and monitor work, while construction workers find kanban boards and task lists more beneficial. All of our project views update in real time so no matter which tool you choose, you’re working on the most current data.

Get a High-Level View With Real-Time Dashboards

Construction site managers need to track progress, quality and more. Our real-time dashboard gives them a high-level view of the project whether they’re onsite, in the office or anywhere. It automatically collects project data and displays it in easy-to-read graphs and charts that show metrics such as time, cost, workload and more. Unlike lightweight tools, there’s no time-consuming configuration required. All you have to do is toggle over to the dashboard and it’s already calculated and displayed.

ProjectManager's dashboard
Log Hours Anywhere With Secure Timesheets

The last thing construction workers want to do after a day laboring on the construction site is rush back to the office to log their hours. Our mobile app makes filing timesheets easy no matter where you are or at any time. Once submitted, the timesheet is locked and delivered to a supervisor who reviews and submits them. Timesheets are also a great tool to track the percentage of crew members’ work that has been completed. You can view how much of their tasks are done and get a better idea if you’re on schedule.

ProjectManager's timesheet

Those are only a couple of the many features available on our robust software. You can use risk management, task management and resource management features, too, plus customizable reports that offer more detail than dashboards and can be shared with stakeholders. If you’re managing a construction site and a construction project, then you want to have these features in hand on our mobile app or anywhere you can connect to the internet.

ProjectManager is online construction project management software that empowers teams to plan, manage and track their work in real time. Our collaborative platform means that you’re connected anywhere and at any time to share files, comments and more. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.