Importance Of The Strategic And Operational Dimension Construction Essay

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1.0 Introduction

The history of project management has being in existence since man started erecting building. The main attention was given to the erection of the building itself, the management of the people and material were given less interest. This paper would look at the evolution of project management as a discipline in the construction industry, the functions and values would also be evaluated.

2.0 Evolution of Project Management Discipline in the Construction Industry

Project management has been in the construction industry since man started erecting buildings; little attention was given to the management of people and activities within the project. The main aim then was to get the building erected until recent times the management and organisation of people started being taken into consideration.

It has being noticed in the past that people use the title project manager in a project without having the fundamental knowledge of the profession. The Architect, Quantity surveyors and Engineers have taken the title of project management. The Architects has been known traditionally to be close to the client there by acting as a project manager, a survey carried out by Matheous (1993) showed that Architect has been taken to be the 'client's friend' by project managers and quantity surveyors. Schon (1983) showed the danger which could come about when a quantity surveyor or an engineer is placed with the role of a project manager, he expressed how project management is a discipline with a special expertise and people involved in project management must undergo the necessary training. If this wasn't cleared it leaves the client in a state of confusion on who reports the progress of the project, someone must be held responsible for the failure/progress of a project.

A project manager has foundation knowledge not necessarily an expertise in all fields concerning construction, but a basic understanding of what each aspect of the construction team is providing. Gameson (1992) concluded that the number of construction professionals has gone up in number, this professional offers various services to the industry, and one of the many services offered is the project management service.

In the 1960's and early 1970's various project management organisation were formed e.g the international Project Management Association, the Australian Institute of Project Management and the Association of Project Management (APM), the APM was the UK based. In 1996 the Chartered Institute of builders (CIOB) published a code of practice for the construction project management, the code focused on providing guidance on the project manager's role.

As the construction industry got more advanced the need for a specialty in the management of a project was needed. Barnes (1988) "considers that project managers need to have specialised training and /or expertise and to be able to apply modern techniques in their field effectively just like any other professional person."

2.1 The Values of Project Management

The values of project management are of great importance in the construction industry of today. Project management ensures that the objective of the client are met, keeping in line with the progress of the work. Project management entails that the project is achieved within the time, cost and quality. The time, cost and quality will be met by ensuring that all parties involved in the project are properly supervised and every conflict are resolved in time to avoid delay.

Project management ensures that the functional satisfaction is met in all aspect of the project. The functional requirement particular refers to the project being built for what it was meant for, are all facilities installed to the required specification, will the building fit it purpose. These are some of the checks that would be carried out to ensure that the functional requirements are satisfied.

The project management must ensure that the aesthetic of the project are satisfied. The project must be built as designed, proper supervision must be given to the contractor during the construction of the project. Regular checks must be made by the project manager and architect to ensure that the contractor builds as designed, that the specified material is used in the finishing of the project.

Time is of great importance in a project, project usually have some set back during the construction. Variations are made and this must be properly checked to ensure that the project is completed in the specified time.

Cost is a major factor that the client feels happy when the project is finished with the approved budget. The project manager must ensure that this is met.

After the completion and handing over the project must be worth is cost. The value for money must be achieved from the project. Clients would be dissatisfied when a project doesn't worth its value.

The project manager must ensure that all parties involved in the construction are kept in check by proper supervision.

2.2 Strategic and operational dimension which exists within the project management function.

The strategic and operational dimension that exists within the project management function are:


Techniques and technology

Decision making

Organisational structure.

2.2.1 Behaviour

In a construction project has so many parties involved in the execution of the project. The behaviour of the people involved in the construction project both from the design to the construction stage varies. Their attitude to work and to their fellow work mates affects the delivery of the project. Various professions are normally involved in a construction project and they come with different attitude and behaviour.

2.2.2 Techniques and Technology

These are the tools used to execute the construction work. The type of technique and technology introduced into the construction would determine how fast and well the project would be. For the technique and technology to be advance would be determined upon the project team knowledge. If the techniques and technology are proper ply used it would help the project manager to meet the client's objective.

2.2.3 Decision Making

The type of decision made on a construction project determines it output. Decision making is vital for the completion of the project in the specified time, cost and quality. The team involved in the decision making must take into consideration of other parties opinion even if they are not involved directly to the decision making team. The clients and the management team take most of the decision based upon the advice from professional.

2.2.4 Organisational Structure

The way the organisational structure is structured would determine how the relationship of the construction team would be. It shows who is responsible for what aspect of the construction and how the decision making process and techniques would be used in the construction project



3.0 Introduction

This part would look at the difficulties faced by those involved in a construction project. The delivery of a construction project affects every member of a construction team, especially the project manager. For being the head of the management team he must ensure that the client's objectives are met, these objective are mainly time cost and quality. A project manager is expected to have some characteristics which help in execution of his duties on a project. Those characteristics would be discussed.

4.0 Difficulties faced by those responsible in the delivery of a construction project

The construction project is handled by a team of specialist. These specialists have a duty to play in the delivery of the project. The difficulties are caused by some factors which are:

4.1 Client related factors

Most clients like to have the final authority in any given aspect of the project and this causes a problem to the waiting for a response from the client. Payment issue from the client is also a major problem, when clients delays the payment due to a contractor for so long it slows the contractor down in acquiring more materials for the project especially when an overdue payment of a completed work. Variations are also seen to occur during the construction, this could be difficult to amend especially when the aspect of the work has been completed and handed over.

4.2 Material factors

The main contractor and sub-contractor are those that the material factor could affect, although it affects the project has a whole. If the materials are being delivered by the main contractor to the sub-contractor it sometime causes a problem. The main contractor could get material which would be rejected by the project manager and Architect, getting a redelivery to site takes a whole lot of time, which cause delay to the project completion time. A confirmation should be taken by the contractor before a final order is placed to avoid such delays.

4.3 Contractor related factor

Improper site management, planning and co-ordination of sub-contractor nominated by the contractor cause a big delay in the construction project. They tend to make mistakes during the construction. The management of the contractor's workers on site should be well placed to avoid the union taking action against the contractor. When this is done it results to a strike and thereby causing delay. Improper use of the allocated finance of the project for another project being done by the same contractor, makes the contractor to be low in finance especially when he hasn't being paid by the client.

4.4 Contractual relationships factor.

These are the disputes which occur during the construction. The organisation structure of the project would play a role here, if the organisation structure is well defined problems would occur.

4.5 Labour and equipment factor.

The supply of labour and equipment plays a role in the difficulty that the contractor would face. The failure of the equipment would cause a delay in the construction process.

4.6 External factors.

These are the changes in the regulation, bad weather condition and problems associated with site conditions and surrounding neighbours.

5.0 Characteristics of a Project Manager.

A project manager in a construction industry must possess the following characteristics:

Competence towards his job

He must have a full knowledge of the project

He should be able to co-ordinate and plan effectively.

Achieve the clients objective of the project

Must be able to relate effectively with the project team.

Give a detailed report to the client when need be


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