Project Management In The Construction Industry Construction Essay

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This research aims at establishing best practice approaches in the area of project management in the construction industry.

The research also describes the construction industry characteristics and establishes the need for successful project management which consequently leads to successful project completion while meeting the required technical specifications, time and budget, the research main goal is then to derive a best practice project management approach in the construction industry.

The detailed objectives of this research are as follows:

Establish the best practice project management approaches used in the construction industry worldwide by means of a thorough literature review.

Narrow the scope of the research and focus on the specific areas of Stakeholders Management, Software Solutions and Project Manager's competencies.

Analyse the selected methods by comparison to a case study example to give realism and credibility to the research.

Provide the case study company with a set of improvements while taking into consideration the effect of country and cultural factors.

Encourage engineering departments to adopt modern methods and techniques in developing and managing their construction projects.

Chapter 1: Introduction

General

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With an estimated population of 28 million and an approximate size of 830,000 sq mi (Wikipedia 2010), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the Middle East. The country's economy is petroleum based as 75% of budget revenues and 90% of export earnings derive from the oil industry which accounts for 24% of the world's total petroleum reserves (Eia, 2010). Consequent increase in oil prices triggered several oil booms earning the Kingdom a budget surplus of 28$ billion in 2005(ameinfo, 2010). These surging oil revenues coupled with a steady growth in population stimulated intensive investments in construction projects since the government now possesses more than sufficient resources to embark on long-planned improvements and a long awaited expansion of infrastructure, transport and municipal services. Plans include building 600 new factories, 4,000 schools, 600,000 new homes along with an increase in electricity generation and distribution (Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry). Figures show that the total value of construction contracts to be awarded in 2012 is set to 63$ US million compared to a 22$ million in 2008 showing an astonishing 23.4 per cent annual growth. (bharatbook, 2009).

The above mentioned characteristics of the Saudi Arabian economic and demographic situation reflect its demand for extensive construction activities in all areas which renders the industry in the spot light for facilitating and accompanying growth. The Construction industry, due to its vitality is then a worthwhile area for research and development in Saudi Arabia.

Project Management in Construction

During this construction boom period, the stress was on simply building and completing the projects with minimal consideration for costs or quality. A significant portion of the Government budget was allocated to be spent on building all kinds of facilities thus money was not an issue under such a generous budget. At the same time, expertise in building and managing such huge projects was limited and standard project management methods -if any- were implemented.

But recently, this mentality has started to change. Awareness for the need of a more controllable industry in terms of cost, time and quality has increased. Clients' needs changed and they do not only demand fast completion of projects but they also require high quality standards and cheaper execution. Competition is augmenting as more companies are trying to penetrate the market. This shift in the nature of the industry now demands the implementation of an "Effective Project Management" methodology.

As a matter of fact, construction is probably the oldest form of project management as we see it today. Thousands of years ago, civilisations used to build monumental construction which some are unparalleled to this day: The Egyptian civilization in the Nile valley around 9000 years ago, the Sumerian civilization along the Tigris as well as the Peruvians in the Americas about 7000 years ago lived in citadels that were strategically located and well planned. However, modern project management is more attributed to the manufacturing and services industry than to the construction industry though the later has always been one of the largest industrial sectors worldwide and without continuous construction engineering and management research, the industry will not be able to keep up with the latest technological and managerial innovations which will allow it to address its concerns effectively.

It is worth mentioning that a distinguishing factor of the construction industry is owing to the great amount of risks associated with any project. Projects involve great amounts of finance and man force, and any change in any aspect, be it design, schedule, legalities, logistics or weather has an adverse financial and social impact on the entire stakeholders involved. Several Researchers noted that decisions and analysis in construction traditionally depended on intuition, judgements and experience, not denying the fact that decisions need to be taken as soon as possible (Akintoye, 1997, Fiatech, 2004).

Project Management Definitions

Referring to some of the project management definitions in various references, we find that project management was defined in a number of ways, just to mention a few:

The Chartered Institute of Building defined project management as " The overall planning, control and co-ordination of a project from inception to completion aimed at meeting a client's requirements and ensuring completion within cost and to required quality standards"

The Chartered Institute of Building also determined the objectives of project management: "To apply management skills and techniques to the organisation and control of all aspects of the project and to optimise the use of resources to produce a well designed and soundly constructed facility which will meet the client's requirements of function, cost and time".

Harrison defined project management as "The achievement of a project's objectives through people, and involves the organizing, planning and control of the resources assigned to the project, together with the development of constructive human relations with all those involved, both in - company and with the other companies involved " .

The Project Management Institute defines project management as "The art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the life of a project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time, quality and participant satisfaction"

Hunter and Stickneyg defined project management as "The application of the systems approach to the management of technologically complex tasks or projects whose objectives are explicitly stated in terms of time, cost, and performance parameters".

This variety of definitions can only reflect the wide scope of project management and emphasises the fact that it is difficult to define it in a precise standard context. For the purpose of this research, the definition and objectives of the Chartered Institute of Building will be adopted as it is coherent with same context of the research aiming to apply project management skills and techniques for the ultimate purpose of controlling all aspects of a project, and to optimise the use of resources available in order to produce a successful project.

But what is a successful project? Actually, Baker, Murphy and Fisher (2004) concluded that "project management can be described as successful if the project meets the technical performance specification and/or mission to be performed, and if there is a high level of satisfaction concerning the project outcome among: key people in the parent organization, key people in the client organization, key people on the project team, and key users or clientele of the project effort". But this definition can only drag to new interrogations: what is client satisfaction? What is team satisfaction? Which goes beyond the scope of this research thus we will content with Kerzner's definition:

"Successful project management can be defined as having achieved the project objective:

Within time, within cost, at the desired performance/technology level,

While utilizing the assigned resources effectively and efficiently".

Case Study and how, why and benefits

The case study company, Saudi Oger, is one of the major construction contractors in Saudi Arabia. A background of the company will be provided in the methodology chapter (3). The author has previously joined the company for a training period from which he got a thorough understanding of the company's operation and processes. The author's previous experience and the previously established working relations with colleagues will turn out to be reliable sources for information. With the use of interviews and a small questionnaire, the current working processes will be identified and compared to established best practices from the literature review in order to provide the company a set of clear recommendations that will allow it to perform more efficiently and establish itself as a market leader. The case study approach has been chosen because of the practicality of the results to be obtained and the fact that data collection will be relatively easy due to the author's experience and previous established working relations.

Thesis Organization

Chapter one: Introduction

Chapter one provides the reader a background view on the vitality of the construction industry in Saudi Arabia and on the subsequent importance of the implementation of effective Project Management practice thus justifying the purpose of this research. The chapter also sets the term project management in context of the study and it finally identifies the research objectives and aims.

Chapter two: Literature Review

Chapter two presents a thorough review of previous research in the area of project management in the construction industry for the purpose of identifying best practice techniques and tools used and identifying "must have" project management competencies.

Chapter three: Methodology

Chapter three discusses and justifies the research strategy (case study) and data collection techniques (centred on structured interviews) to be adopted in the empirical data collection of this study. Details on the case study company are provided, together with a framework for analysis. In addition, the method limitations are discussed in terms of validity and reliability.

Chapter four: Results

Chapter four reports the findings of the case study. The results of the interviews are summarized under the themes of Construction management software, stakeholders' management system and project manager's competencies.

Chapter five: Analysis and Recommendations

Chapter five discusses the results while relating them to best practice processes mentioned in chapter two and provides recommendations for improvements.

Chapter six: Conclusion

Chapter Seven summarizes the research conclusions and contributions, and addresses future research opportunities.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

This chapter comprises of the following:

Exploring what research has been previously conducted in the area of construction management in order to build a pathway for this research and eventually contributing to the research efforts.

Explore the best practice found in the literature in the following three main subjects:

Construction Management Software

Stakeholders Management Systems

Project Manager competencies

Previous Research

Xiao (2002) stressed the need and importance for any benchmarking process to be conducted on an international level due to globalisation. Xiao identified the Japanese, United States and United Kingdom's construction industries for being renowned as world leaders. The aim of his research was to embark on a deep comparison between the three industries and distinguish each of their respective strengths and weaknesses in order to provide worldwide contractors with an opportunity to learn from the best and improve their performances.

However, the study admits that the process of comparing international construction is tedious because of the uniqueness of products and the complexity of the production process. In other terms, each of the methods developed for this purpose has its own limitations in terms of comparability and representativeness of data.

Having undertaken an international review of contractor performance, the research has:

e defined 'best practice' for contractors and established criteria to evaluate contractor

performance and practice in terms of construction cost, construction time, construction

quality and sustainable development;

conducted a questionnaire survey arnong contractors in the three countries to collect

information in regards to their performance and practices;

* identified the significant differences in contractor performance and practices between

the three countries and revealed the possible causes for the disparities;

developed six best practice performance models by means of multiple regression

analysis.

The thesis concluded that there exist significant differences in contractor performance and

practice between Japan, the UK and the US. Based on the practices of contractors in the

three countries, factors significantly influencing contractor performance are identified and

measures for performance improvement are recommended for contractors.

Shehu (2008) discusses a shift from a project to a programme management approach and the fact that the construction industry is still unaware of such change and the subsequent improvements and efficiencies it brings.

Shehu (2008)

The recent shift in industry from project to programme management has no doubt

brought efficiency and improvements, but the construction industry is scarcely aware or

reluctant to embrace the new culture. The lack of clarity in programme management

has called for a need to contextualise, explore and document its practice in the

construction industry to identify the quintessential challenges, critical success factors

and skills and competencies for effective construction programme management.

In order to provide awareness and clarify the ambiguities of programme management,

this study provides a framework for the systematic implementation and successful

practice of programme management in the construction industry. To facilitate this

research, a total of 119 usable questionnaires were received and 17 semi-structured

interviews were conducted to facilitate the findings of the study. A triangulation of the

existing literature, industrial questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews were

employed to develop a framework for effective adoption and implementation of

programme management.

The main conclusions drawn from the study include identifying and documenting how

programmes differ from projects; highlighting the programme management skills and

competencies requirements for effective implementation and practice. In addition, the

major challenges to implementation and practice of programme management and the

critical success factors that are essential to the successful implementation of

programme management have also been explored, investigated and documented. The

research has also explored and documented the ideal number of years of experience,

academic qualifications, career pathway, training and CPD requirements for effective

programme management.

The study proposes that formal procedures should be in place in order to equip

programme teams with the requisite support and training needed to be effective in

implementing and practicing construction programme management. Integrated

relationships and communication should be maintained to facilitate formal and informal

learning, understanding and knowledge sharing. For future research, this study can be

extended to look into benefits management, the maturity stages of construction

programmes, integration of programme's supply chain, efficient communication and

effective stakeholder management.

For the same reasons stated in the beginning of this research relating to the vitality of this sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, several researchers tried to tackle this topic throughout the last decade. El-Ashaikh (1996) endeavoured in a detailed study of Project Management in the public sector of Saudi Arabia. His major aim was to provide recommendations that will contribute to the development and enhancement of project management processes in the construction industry. He first started by providing detailed information on the entire construction project life cycle, applicable laws and regulations, building procurement systems applied, types of tenders used and types of contracts adopted.

Thereafter, he identified the problems facing the industry by examining three case studies. He ended his research by providing a set of proposals summarized by these two general guidelines:

* Proposals that contribute to the development of management abilities of the public sector's project managers.

* Proposals that contribute to the development of systems that govern the performance of public sector projects.

It can be argued that El-Ashaikh had high ambitions. It is a bit unreasonable to create a whole set of recommendations relating to the entire development and enhancement of project management processes in the construction industry through one single study. El-Ashaikh ended up with a list of vague and unspecific recommendations that lack of practicality and requires extensive further research. But this research must be granted credit as it was one of the first serious steps embarking in this area and it provided a general overview of the situation in the industry on which the coming studies can build upon.

El-Saqer (2001), also conducted a similar research investigating the development of project management processes in government construction projects in Saudi Arabia. He intended to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the construction projects processes and explore the established project management practices for the ultimate aim of identifying impediments and also provide a set of recommendations for improvement. El-Saqer also considered the business culture of Saudi government organisations in terms of effects on the industry.

A survey is conducted based on Hofstede's work which analysed the business culture of government sector organisations which undertake construction projects in order to identify the cultural characteristics in terms of power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism/collectivism, and masculinity/feminity. A second survey analysed the development processes and project management practices adopted by the targeted organisations.

His research revealed the major problems facing the industry ranging from government regulations, shortage of staff with appropriate skills in engineering departments, business culture, lack of systematic and coherent procedures for many processes and practices, lack of effective project management system, and lack of a central government entity responsible for controlling, regulating, and improving the construction system.

El-Saqer then made a set of recommendations aiming at improving the processes and contributing to the development of project management practices:

1. First stage: short term improvements in the existing practices and procedures.

2. Second stage: adoption of recognised project management system.

3. Third stage: long term improvements in the existing practices and procedures.

El-Saqer also tried to address the whole of the project management process rather than concentrating on a specific area which might have made a greater contribution to the research. As attacking the whole process will disperse the researchers' efforts and leave a big for future researchers to explore. The differences with this study resides in the fact that this research will focus on the process of project management in the context of tools used and project manager competencies in the framework of construction supervision and control.

Stakeholder management models

Client needs in a construction project are wide ranging and demanding thus very hard to characterise and measure whereas the need for an effective stakeholder management system in order to correctly identify their needs and requirements. One of the project manager's responsibilities is then to maintain stakeholder's interests into account. The project manager should develop constructive working relationships with clients, users and public authorities. The ideas of Cleland (1986), Pinto and Slevin (1988) indicate that an efficient management of the relationship between the project and its stakeholders is paramount to insure project success. Milosevic (1989) added that a project and its stakeholders can be considered as a network in which the actors interact and exchange information, resources and results. Some stakeholders are more important than others depending on the powers they hold in means of decision making and funds. It is then important that stakeholder management is adequately addressed and properly managed.

Takim (2005) in his dissertation emphasised to need for effective stakeholders management and he states that his undertaken literature review has shown that management of project stakeholders brought significant success both in theory and practice. But he also noted that it had some weaknesses in the areas of lack in strategies, plans, methods, coordination and discussion within the project team as pointed by Karlsen (2002). Takim (2005) then identified three models of stakeholder management in construction which are summarised as follows:

The Six-Step Stakeholder Management Process Model

Developed by Karlsen (2002), the model includes processes of planning, identifying, analysing, communicating, acting and following up. The first process of planning focuses on the initiation of the process by defining the purpose of the project and how the activities should be planned and organised. The second process focuses on the identification of all related project stakeholders. This is followed by the process of analysing the stakeholders in terms of their areas of interests in the project, desired contribution, expected reward etc. The stakeholders are then classified into four categories depending on their potential for threatening the project and potential for collaboration with the project:

The supportive stakeholder is low in potential to affect the project but high in potential for collaboration such as consultants, contractors and financial institutions.

Marginal stakeholders are neither highly threatening nor especially collaborative and these are the environmentalists.

Non-supportive stakeholders have a high potential to affect the project but are low on the potential for collaboration and these are the labour unions, media and public authorities.

The mixed blessing stakeholders can play a major role in the project and this group of stakeholders include clients, end-users and line organisations.

A clear picture of who the stakeholders are and how they might affect the project is now drawn. This is followed by developing and implementing strategies for dealing with stakeholders. Karlsen (2002) points out that the client and the end users are the most important stakeholders and subsequently would cause much problems and uncertainties. The strength of this model is that, it is simple to understand and implement as it enables the project manager to identify and build a clear understanding of the project stakeholders and also to prepare for possible adverse stakeholder reactions.

Model of Strategic Needs Analysis (SNA)

Smith et al. (2001) saw the need for a greater involvement of the stakeholders into the project. Their model is based on engaging the project stakeholders by inviting them to express their needs, views and expectations in a structured form. The Strategic Needs Analysis model assists all parties in determining their strategic goals for the project in order to create greater commitment, involvement and collaboration, all aiming at improving stakeholder's satisfaction and project success.

The structure of the SNA process is based on the involvement of stakeholders at three stages:

Briefing stage: this stage aims at developing the stakeholder's strategic awareness of the importance of identifying strategic needs and requirements before project definition.

Seminars stage: Participants cooperate to develop a set of strategies for the achievement of corporate visions, analyse them and then consent on a preferred one.

Workshops stage: Participants develop a detailed performance brief which takes into account the financial, human resources, social and other implications of the project implementation and focuses on the required outcomes.

In summary, SNA aims at to develop a comprehensive performance brief containing a set of parameters in order to guide project team members in controlling and developing the project. This forms the main strength of this model but it seems to be overcomplicated, time consuming and needs to be implemented as early as possible in the project.

The Eight-Steps for Meeting Customer Expectations in the Construction Industry

Sims and Anderson (2003) developed a multi step programme aiming at meeting customer expectation in the construction industry.

Identify the stakeholders: Prepare an organisational chart of all the relevant stakeholders involved and spot the ones that can influence the decision-making on the project and prioritise their respective needs.

Know the project: In general, construction projects have four big objectives: safety, quality, budget and schedule. But Sims and Anderson (2003) suggested that in most cases one of these objectives is dominant thus planning should be in line with that specific objective. They also suggested creating a ranking for these objectives which allows for quantifying the customer expectations.

Prepare a rough plan: Prepare a draft of a plan which includes the scheduling of how the project should progress while stating the anticipated outcomes. This allows the stakeholders to comment on the draft therefore increasing their collaboration and commitment. The plan should then be reviewed, approved and distributed to all relevant stakeholders.

Benchmarking process: This process involves agreeing upon a timeframe for progress monitoring and reporting in the form of formal reports which will allow for information sharing, accurate plan adjustments and overall consensus.

Post-project debriefing: This final step aims at assessing whether the key project stakeholders have met or exceeded their expectations and critically discusses the areas of success and failures for the long term goal of process improvement and development.

In summary, the strength of this model is that the methods used are comprehensive and robust and it shows that this model allows for good collaboration and involvement of key project stakeholders throughout the progress of the project which will lead to good customers' relationships that will allow for continued repeat of business.

SUMMARY

This section aimed at stressing the importance of stakeholder management systems in insuring project success and meeting customers' satisfaction while reviewing and critically assessing the work done in that area. Three models for managing stakeholders' needs and expectations were illustrated as examples for valuable guidelines, particularly to client organisations for managing their construction project stakeholders for a successful project completion.

The model of Strategic Needs Analysis (SNA) process by Smith et al. (2001) could make a valuable contribution to the important formative stage of a project in which the strategic needs of project stakeholders are expressed and captured to form into a comprehensive performance brief in defining their project and thus, acts as a useful guidance for project team in developing the entire project.

A six-stcp stakeholder management model by Karlsen (2002) provides a comprehensive stakeholder management which focuses on the planning, identifying, analysis, communicating, acting and follow-up process. It is realised that the formal and systematic process of stakeholder management on clear objectives and strategies is essential for project success.

The eight-step model by Sim and Anderson (2003) for meeting customer expectations in the construction industry is another excellent guide lines useful for managing project stakeholders in meeting their needs and expectations in the construction project development. Meeting project stakeholders' needs and expectations according to them is the only way to ensure that a project client will continue to have a repeat business.

Project manager Competencies

In correlation with the various responsibilities and duties handled by a project manager, a set of diverse attributes are required to enable maximum efficiency in performing these tasks. These attributes range from technical to managerial and surely with a project manager competent in all these areas, project success chances are increased. Based on that, the research conducted by Chor-Wo (2004) focuses on discovering which competencies are regarded as the most important by construction project managers in Hong Kong. Chor-Wo claims that his list of competencies can act as guidance for human resource personnel in terms of facilitating the recruitment process in the industry and as well used by aspiring professionals to seek further training and improve in these competencies.

Chor-Wo (2004) in his paper, established the competencies needed for a project manager in Hong Kong by means of a questionnaire and he also wanted to investigate which areas needed greater attention for future development purposes. The ultimate aim is then to put in place a framework to identify the expected future competencies required from project managers based on the current project managers' views and experiences.

The said questionnaire is based on 55 competencies derived from previous competency models and researchers' work. Project managers were asked to give their opinions on each competency with respect to their level of importance on three levels: importance to current project management practice, level of current skill shown and level of importance to future project managers. The questionnaire revealed significant differences between the current level of importance and the current level of skill which means that project managers are not performing to the level they expected. It is also noticed that some skills currently considered important will not be so in the future and vice versa as the importance for those relating to business skills is increasing and those to technical slightly decreasing.

The research then proposes methods to narrow the gap between the two levels by means of on the job training for all categories of skills and an application and mentorship programme should be provided for the more complicated and importance skills like financial, IT, legal and communication skills.

Chor-Wo (2004) mainly adopted the 55 competencies (table 1) from Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer (2000) and made minor modifications. The competencies are divided into 7 categories, namely, technical, managerial, financial, IT, legal, communication and general skills. This choice of competency list as reference is justified due to time and resources restrictions that did not allow for formation of focus groups in order to establish a local list and it is also argued that this list serves the research well in terms of containing all relevant skills and not overlooking any area.

Technical skills

Managerial skills

Basic Technical Knowledge

Leadership

Design activities and background

Time management

Planning and scheduling

Decision making

Forecasting techniques

Negotiation

Estimating and tendering

Delegation

Site layout and mobilisation

Strategic planning

Material procurement

Human behaviour

Plant hire and management

Motivation and promotion

Construction management activities

Recruitment

Reading, understanding drawings

Team working

Productivity and cost control

Top management relations

Quality control

Sub-contractors relations

Operation research

 

Legal skills

Financial skills

General legal background

Reporting systems

Drafting contracts

Project finance arrangement

Industrial relations

Investment appraisal

Health and safety issues

Taxation

Preparation of claims and litigation

Stock control and evaluation

Trade unions and public authorities

Establishing cash flows

 

Establishing budgets

Communication skills

IT skills

Presentation

Operating systems

Report writing

Programming languages

General / business correspondence

Special applications

Public speaking

Spreadsheet

General skills

Database

Marketing and sales

Network systems

Public relations

CAD

Understanding of organization

Project management software

Chairing meetings

Information systems and IT tools

Table 1 Project Manager Competencies

But is a project success only dependant on a single individual's success and competency? Well as Jacobs (1989) notices that the usual competency approaches concentrate on individual competencies and tend to forget about group dynamics, Antonacopoulou and FitzGerald (1996) state that the success of an individual depends on the level of mutual support and collaboration between project team members in terms of learning and improving. As such, collective or team competencies are not to be neglected (Burgoyne 1989), and it's then evident that the social settings in which people operate have a major impact on their successful performance.

Belbin (1981) claims that a team or group will function more effectively if it has the correct balance of skills, knowledge and attributes and this can only be judged when viewing the team as an entity. If the project manager was the only competent member, the project is most likely not to be completed on time, neither on budget nor to the required quality. From a client's perspective, the design team will be effective, only when all parties like architects, quantity surveyors, etc. possess the appropriate knowledge and skills. From the contractor's view, a good project manager needs a competent team involving foremen, subcontractor, etc. who are required to play their role in assuring project completion and success.

It is then evident that all project members should be competent enough to ensure project success and a set of competencies should be derived for every single member role. But this is beyond the scope of the research which only targets the project manager and further research might be conducted in the areas of team building and all its related factors.

Project management tools

Mohanty (2006) reviewed the history, development and implementation of computing tools in construction management. His research aimed at providing construction firms a detailed study into the software's development, marketing and implementation processes through a review of popular project management software applications. He conducted a survey to establish industry trends and preferences relevant to project management computerisation and work environment from the business and organizational management view.

His primary aim was to design a decision model that would provide project managers and executives with a greater insight into crucial aspects of project management applications in order to serve as a guideline for the selection of a software system that best-fits their enterprise as well as being a reference for project managers and construction executives to concentrate upon applications that would best fit their budgets, operations and requirements.

His study also provided an insight into the functions, capabilities, problems, barriers and necessary future enhancements that exist in the field. Based on popularity, usage and variation, he chose the following applications as a reference:

Primavera Systems Inc.'s Expedition

Autodesk's Constructware

Computer Methods Int. Corp's Enterprise

Turner Corporation's Inc. TurnerTalk

TURNERTALK

TurnerTalk is designed by Turner Construction Company employees and partners. The software allowed the company's jobsites and departments to build and manage their projects over the internet by accessing the Prolog applications. Therefore, architects, engineers and subcontractors can collaborate online with a 24x7 access to real time project information and cross functional communication is promoted between various internal Turner departments.

The application's main characteristics can be summoned in the following points:

It takes very little time to install and does not need any specific hardware or software requirements and its deployment and vast array of toolsets allow it to be quickly and easily applied to different types and sizes of projects.

No need for formal training on the software is required assuming that users have basic knowledge of common project management tools.

High customizability, as it can be altered to suit different companies with minimal effort.

Continuous update and monitoring of data can be achieved by the presence of an excellent service network.

It can be integrated with most standard office solutions packages like Microsoft products, Primavera, etc.

Advanced document management capability: it can generate reports, logs, change requests and purchase orders. It also facilitates logging and tracking of all specifications, submittals, meeting minutes and other information.

A smart site management tool is also supplied to record daily work progress, staff information, inspection details, etc.

The only major issue that this package faces is the risk of an internet breakdown which could render it useless, but known instances of such occurrences are very few and have been overcome quickly. Owing to phased deployment procedures, little or no downtime has been experienced and continued training programs are offered to update all professionals using it.

CONSTRUCTWARE

Developed by Emerging Solutions Incorporated in 1994, Constructware is probably the first of its kind in means of providing internet based solutions for construction management activities. The software compromises a set of 100 modules and includes most functions and capabilities that facilitate activities for various types and scales of construction projects.

Some of the application's most important modules are mentioned below:

Cost control tools: enable monitoring and comparison of budget changes and costs. It is capable of generating financial documents like invoices, purchase orders, RFQs etc.

Design collaboration module: archive, recall and access for various drawings in addition to tracking and recording to design alteration data.

Document management module: Automatic time stamping to allow easy tracking of changes, submittals, drawings, documents, emails, logs, meeting minutes, etc.

Project information module: Users record detailed information for monitoring of projects. Also contains information related to the project primaries, contractual agreements, company codes and project schedule.

Also includes models for risk management, subcontractors, a project website and a maintenance module.

Web Cam Module: Allows real time view of the job site and also maintains logs of status and previous images.

Some of the issues regarding Constructware is its inability to be integrated with the common project management applications like P3 and MS Project. It is also argued that it is not designed to the details that it should be to enable efficient construction management and it does not fully accommodate all the areas that a construction management process needs.

3.4 PRIMAVERA EXPEDITION

Primavera Systems, established in 1983, are the pioneers in providing software applications for project management solutions worldwide. Its products like P3 (Primavera Project Planner), Suretrak, Enterprise and Expedition are being used in most industrial sectors and are described as most reliable application providers. Their products are not industry specific applications and have a generic applicability which enabled them to possess a huge market share. This is also backed up by the fact that they are designed to automatically inter-operate with most common office solution tools like Microsoft and Adobe Products.

Expedition compromises project management tools that cater to the needs of most projects but does not have advanced capabilities as sees in other customised applications. However, its interoperability with other tools partially fills this gap. The following points summarize some of the application's functionality:

A distinguished feature is on the security level as the users can develop Custom profiles for all project members which defines the nature and extent of access the member has to project information.

Action lists and graphs help various parties identify areas that need immediate attention and might jeopardise project progress.

Automated report generating facility enables all contract information like submittals, change orders, financial data, etc. To be compiled and stored into a summary report at various project timelines.

MS Excel integration: the software is able to import data from worksheets, filter them on user demand and generate a report using excel log format. This also enables tracking of project costs, proposals and bids down to the base level.

Besides these, Expedition offers all the other general advantages that are characteristic of web-based PM applications like centralized information database, tracking and monitoring of project progress, contract information, change orders, RFIs, cost monitoring and control, generic collaboration tools, office organizers etc.

CMiC ENTERPRISE AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Based in Canada, Computer Methods International Corporation (CMIC) has more than 30 years experience in providing software solutions in the area of project management and their Enterprise and Project Management applications are designed and developed mainly for the construction management community. These two main packages are interoperable and may be purchased individually or as a package.

To have an overview of Enterprise's functionality, the following points are highlighted:

Self Service toolset, allows the client to customize its views and panes tailored to their particular requirement for information all by themselves.

Financial Management module, handles both internal and external transactions. Automated recurring payments, auditing, statistical analyses, comparisons and integration with all billing systems over the organisation are within the module capabilities. In addition to managing vendor payments and balances, maintaining historical data and generating periodic financial reports.

Projects module, responsible for all the costing, billing, invoicing, tracking, estimating and cost control activities of the project. It is the major subcontractor and change management tool and records all contracts, bids, revenues and agreements as well as running cross-company project related queries related to work-in-progress, payments, percent complete, etc.

Human Capital module: maintains all employee information, payrolls and personnel management aspects of the company and tracks all of the financial and employment information related to procurement records of the company or project. Inventory records are also recorded with real-time updating of information.

Customer Relationship Management toolset (CRM), records various marketing and sales activities, it creates, approves and maintains vendor information, project reports and proposals and handles generic contract management and resource planning.

The Project Management application is aimed at higher management and has the additional feature of managing all information related to all of the company's projects including all aspects of project costing, site management, documentation, bids, contracts etc. The application is also capable of detecting project anomalies and highlights them by recording and tracking various bid packages, establishing compliances with the vendor, subcontractor and insurances.

Conclusion

Previously research conducted in the area of project management in the construction industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was initially explored. The aim was to build a broad overview of the subject in terms of the efforts made to tackle it, what is the progress made and to identify loopholes from which this thesis can build upon and effectively contribute to the research. In its second part, this chapter tried to identify worldwide best practice approaches focusing on three areas: Stakeholders management systems, Project manager competencies and Construction management computer tools. These approaches will then be assessed for compatibility for the case study company and relevant recommendations will then be made.

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