How to Manage a Residential Construction Project


There are four types of construction projects: commercial construction, industrial construction, infrastructure construction and residential construction. Residential construction might be the easiest for laypeople to understand as most of us live in these types of structures. But do we really know what residential construction is?

Before we get into the management of a residential construction project, we’ll explore the meaning of residential construction and examples of the two major types of residential construction. We’ll also define the key areas of residential construction and how residential construction differs from commercial construction.

What Is Residential Construction?

Residential construction is defined as the construction, alteration or repair of single-family and multi-family dwellings. Residential construction as with other types of construction can be complex. It’s broken down into phases and there are many stakeholders involved in the process.

Residential construction usually involves six stages, beginning with site preparation and pouring the foundation. After that is rough framing followed by rough plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Installation of the walls is next and then drywall is installed as well as interior primer finishes. Finally, the interior trim is done and driveways and walkways are also completed.

Of course, that’s a simplified list of steps. There’s also flooring, fixtures and landscaping. One thing is for certain, to manage all these stages requires project management software. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that has powerful Gantt charts to plan, manage and track construction stages in real time. Besides organizing tasks and adding milestones, you can also link all four types of dependencies to avoid costly delays that can eat into your profit margin. It’s easy to filter for the critical path and identify essential tasks. When you set a baseline, you can not track planned progress against actual progress in real time to help you stay on schedule. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager’s robust Gantt charts help you plan, manage and track residential construction. Learn more

Residential Construction Project Examples

Residential construction might be a subset of the larger construction industry, but it can also be broken down into two main categories: single-family housing and multi-family residential buildings. Let’s take a closer look at these two types of residential construction.

Single-Family Housing

This is a residential construction that’s unattached to other buildings. It stands alone and has its own private lot of land around the structure. Single-family homes tend to have more privacy than other residences but can be built very close to each other. The styles of single-family homes run the gamut from craftsman, victorian and ranch to mid-century modern, Spanish revival and many more. Some styles require more maintenance than others and the homeowner is responsible for all the costs associated with upkeep.

Multi-Family Residential Buildings

Multi-family residential buildings can be further subdivided into two categories: condominiums and townhouses. Condominiums are separate units that are part of a larger complex or community, such as an apartment building. Condominiums or condos will usually have at least a wall in common with another apartment. They’re part of a homeowners’ association and are charged a monthly or yearly fee. You’ll find these in high-density metropolitan areas.

There are also apartment complexes that aren’t owned by the residents themselves, but by someone else who rents them. Then there are townhouses, which can be looked upon as a combination of a single-family home and a condo. They tend to be multi-story buildings with one or more common walls with other townhouses so they’re more private than a condo and less expensive than a single-family home. Unlike many condos, townhouses usually don’t have common amenities such as a gym or pool.

Key Areas of Residential Construction Projects

As in any construction project, residential construction requires a process to get from the idea to the product. Residential construction projects vary in complexity, but all of them will follow the same process. The construction process is project conception, design and planning, building permits, pre-construction, procurement, construction and post-construction.

Across this process are key areas of residential construction that are shared regardless of the project. These factors must be considered in order to have a successful residential construction project. Let’s take a moment to explore these key areas of residential construction projects more closely.

Project Location

You can’t build something without having a space on which to erect it. Therefore, location is an essential part of the residential construction process. There will be many factors to consider when choosing a location, from accessible roadways, near or far from restaurants and retail. There are also practical considerations, such as if the area is in a flood or fire zone. You want the property to be attractive to residential customers and safe.

Related: 11 Free Construction Excel Templates

Architectural Design Process

Once the location has been secured, then you’ll have to work on the architectural design process. This requires finding a builder and architect who can create the type of residential property you want. That’ll require a vision of house style, size, amenities, etc. You’ll also want to do some research on the builder to make sure that they’re reliable and deliver quality on time.

Contractor Management

Once you have a builder or a general contractor to manage all the various subcontractors that’ll be working on the job site, you’ll want to employ contractor management to ensure everything is going according to plan. Contractor management is a system to make sure that the contractor services support safe facility operations and meet performance goals. This will address the selection, acquisition, use and monitoring of contracted services.

Zoning and Building Permits

All buildings have to follow regulations and follow code compliance. Before any construction project starts or even before planning begins, zoning and building permits must be pulled from the appropriate governmental agencies. While some clients might want you to cut corners and not build exactly to code, which can be more expensive, what they’re not considering is working with an unlicensed contractor who doesn’t pull permits means that they probably don’t have workman’s compensation and other insurance. If something happens on the job site, you’ll be liable.

Equipment Rental

It’s usually not financially beneficial for most residential construction contractors to invest in the purchase, storage and maintenance of the various big machinery needed to move earth and build residential structures. Most rent machines and tools that they need for the job. This gives residential builders flexibility and readily available cash flows. It also provides them with well-maintained and reliable equipment that’s usually the safest and most updated.

Scope of Work

A scope of work is essential for any type of project. In residential construction, the scope of work lists all the construction obligations as well as the work activities for all contractors, subcontractors and supplies. The scope of work is written out and usually included in the contract so it can be agreed upon and signed to make it official.


Procurement is the process of securing all the products and services required for the residential construction project. The project manager will define the project requirements, solicit bids, buy or lease supplies and equipment, monitor the construction contracts and resolve any conflicts with the budget, timelines or quality.

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Residential Construction vs. Commercial Construction

While residential construction and commercial construction share many commonalities, some differences are important to understand. The main difference between these two types of construction is the name.

But seriously, construction is construction. The phases, the processes and the resources are almost identical. The end product, however, is different. Residential construction will result in apartments, and single-family homes, but commercial construction delivers facilities, warehouses and business establishments.

There are some differences in terms of codes or regulations that must be followed. There’s often a difference in the building materials used and the cost can be significantly different. Even the equipment can be different. But the general process is roughly the same.

How to Use ProjectManager to Manage Residential Construction Projects

Residential construction, like all construction, is helped when the general contractor and construction crew are using project management software. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that helps you plan, manage and track your residential construction projects in real time. Besides robust Gantt charts to schedule work, we have tools to help you monitor your progress in real time to help you keep to that schedule and resource management tools that add to your productivity.

Monitor Your Progress With Real-Time Dashboards

Once you’re in the construction phase of a project you have to keep a close eye on the work being done to make sure you’re meeting project milestones. Our real-time dashboard collects live data automatically and displays it on easy-to-read graphs and charts. You can get a high-level view of the project when you need it, seeing metrics from time to costs and even workload. Unlike inferior products, there’s no time-consuming setup required. Just toggle over to our dashboard and it’s ready when you are.

ProjectManager's dashboard
Manager Resources and Boost Productivity

Our resource management features make it easier for contractors to keep their teams working productivity. First, you can set their availability, including PTO, holidays and vacation time, which makes it simple to assign tasks. Then you can check on the whole team’s workload by using our workload chart. It’s color-coded so it’s easy to see who is overallocated and balance the team’s workload right from the chart to have everyone working at capacity.

Workload chart with reassignment popup

Those are only a couple of the features that are included with our software. We have secure timesheets, customizable reports and much more. There’s risk management software to help you plan against those unexpected events that can take you off track quickly. We’re a great fit for any type of construction project, especially residential construction.

ProjectManager is online project management software that connects teams in the office, on the job site or anywhere in between. Share files, comment at the task level and more to foster greater collaboration. Get started with ProjectManager today for free