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The Scottish Parliament Building Construction Essay

This paper introduces ideas about the Scottish Parliament Building regarding the idea behind it, its design, the process, the performance, project management, strategic management, the problems caused during project stages (i.e. time delay, extra cost). Obviously it is too difficult to cover all of these the problems and defects caused at the early stages or during the project process. However, this paper will try to identify and analyze these problems and find a relationship between them, in addition to suggesting better solutions or actions that could have been taken in order to deliver the project more successfully.

The officials in Scotland wanted to succeed in this challenge but they were under considerable time pressure. They needed the building as soon as possible because they were in temporary accommodation and expected to be there for at least the first two years of the new parliament. Initial funding for the project was provided by the Scottish Office. It has since received funding from the Scottish Executive and a number of academic funding bodies.

After much discussion and debate, Scottish officials decided that the location for the new parliament building should be in Holyrood. This proposal was a late entry into the site selection process. However, dialogue with Scottish and Newcastle, the then owners of the site, continued and they offered it in December 1997. In January 1998, Donald Dewar, the former first minister, identified the selection of Holyrood as: A purpose-built parliament, offered to make a statement about Scotland’s future; its city centre location; and its historical links. (cited in www.scottish.parliament.uk).

The choice of design and architect also took time through stages of competition. Seventy teams were originally chosen to continue in the competition and five teams reached the final stage. These final five teams were asked to produce indicative design ideas for the Parliament building at Holyrood.

Egan, in section 31 of his report, stated: “We have repeatedly heard the claim that construction is different from manufacturing because every product is unique. We do not agree. Not only are many buildings, such as houses, essentially repeat products which can be continually improved but, more importantly, the process of construction is itself repeated in its essentials from project to project. Indeed, research suggests that up to 80% of inputs into buildings are repeated. Much repair and maintenance work also uses a repeat process. The parallel is not with building cars on the production line; it is with designing and planning the production of a new car model”. In spite of this, the Scottish Parliament building is unique. While most of the activities in construction projects are repetitive processes, as stated in the Egan report, it could be argue that there was a misunderstanding of the nature of the project and the difficulties associated with it. This misunderstanding was caused because of the fact that the project was unique, so the specialized experience and expertise required were rare. Moreover, the necessity to introduce a landmark building is one of the factors that hampered the project. In other words, the delay caused during the lifetime of the project would be less if it was a repetitive project, instead of repetitive activities, as it was very complex in nature, with big challenges to deliver and a high quality building to produce on a densely developed site, against very tight deadlines.

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