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A good manager can sense a problem before it actually becomes apparent, this type of manager have more success in business than managers who are prepared to sit there and judge it on income and outgoings.
Successful management needs control, many people have different ideas of control. There are a lot of qualities in the control of a business, in the construction business there are probably three that stand out more than any others, Money, Time and Resources.
Regular visits to a site ensure an eye on control. Regular reporting of a project supplies control to the management, weekly reports of progress and cost and profits situation.
Companies change size and the value of report measures needs to be measured. Control policy and the implementations must be set by the hierarchy of the company. The company must set out statements to portray a standard for controlling time, quality and finance, these need strict monitoring and organising in order to be successful.
Businesses are dynamic with the constant flow of money going out and also coming in. Wages to be paid creditors and sub contractors to be notified, money coming in from contracts.
Budgets drawn up for the plant and labour force, preliminaries and contingency sums sought, this could not happen without the planning and forecasting of the company and the valuable management team.
Budgets are presented in a variety of ways, plotting time against resources and money with graph or bar chart, which can be displayed infinitely, as a form of forecast which can be used as a target to the next milestone.
This is in the form of a bar chart for labour, displayed in hours or weeks. This basic approach shows the actual weeks being used on a project and any variant monitored as the job progresses. The bar chart and culminative diagram could easily be displayed in money.
This is similar to the labour chart, plant cost distribution is shown from the QS bill of quantities are displayed on the bar chart and plotted on a weekly cumulative graph for comparison with the actual outgoings. Plant often exceed allowances in the tender, manager are renown for not off hiring plant at the right time. Plant hired or owned by the contractor, strict procedures must be put in place to off hire as soon as possible.
Site setup and dismantling, fixed costs and time related hire costs presented in a bar chart format to a timescale. Preliminaries are one of the construction industries most overspent sectors, maybe due to the fact that not enough money is allocated or over enthusiastic site setups. Its also one of the most cut back sectors mainly to make the tenders more competitive. These preliminaries are usually charged at a percentage of the contract sum at present 6 to 12%.
The holding of site records is important part of contracting this enables to refer back to incidences or spurious claims by the subcontractors. Records kept up to date by a good manager this helps with
Initialising a claim for loss or expenditure
Arguing a counter claim from a client
Confirming applications for extension of time.
Claiming payment for extra work not included in original
Reporting progress meetings
The contractor should give responsibility to the site team for keeping maintaining records and this includes site foremen, planning engineers and quantity surveyors.
Records of time lost due to bad weather etc
A record of own labour as well as detail sub contracted
Record verbal of instructions
Drawing revisions recorded
Meetings are very important for communication throughout the phases of the construction project, and form an essential part of the control procedure to keep a project on time and within budget, making sure the quality of the build is following specifications. This is where problems can be raised and alternatives suggested, deciding on a suitable action.
The meetings should be kept short and purposeful and the right staff are attending in order for the precise particulars can be recorded and the right decisions made without seeking advice from superiors.
These minuted or recorded meetings are usually the responsibility of the clients architect or engineer and should be circulated for all parties to be made aware of the topics about to be discussed, minutes from the previous meeting should also be circulated so they can officially recognise it as a accurate documentation.
Key performance indicators
To measure overall performance on projects KPi s can be used. These could be used to set certain standards at the start of the project, check efficiency as the project develops which will give a foundation for improving objectives for future developments. In Constructing excellence 2004 plans put forward by the government to help the construction industry have the progress of KPi s fo several aspects of project delivery like
Time and cost predictability
Implementing KPi s businesses can measure project routine within and outwardly plus create standards to assist the company to gain ultimate standards.
Construction planning, programming and control. B. Cooke. P Williams. 3rd Ed
Preparation is a function of management and a programme is a tool used in the management process. Very few plans turn out as expected and a construction project is one them. Contractors have a contractual responsibility to complete a project on or before a certain date and if he cannot achieve this without some legitimate grounds he may incur penalties through the contracted payments. No benefit to the client, the project will still be late but places a financial elbow on the contractor.
The contract administrator will monitor his performance through the master program and issues can be brought up at the next meetings asking the contractor how he intends to correct it. Ultimately the contractor can be replaced for breach of contract, consequently terminating his employment.
Standard conditions of contracts have similar circumstances in relation to time, stated in the contract will be:
Date for possession of site
Dates for possession of certain sections of the site
Date for completion of works
Dates for completion of sections of the works
This can be found in the contract particulars in JCT 05, in the appendix in ICE7 and contract data in NEC3.
Standard forms of contract requires the contractor to prepare a program for the use of organising and monitoring the build.
JCT, ICE and NEC contracts have variations as to what should be in the master program to monitor and keep track of all works, but there must be enough information at the engineers or architects desk to make educated decisions about extensions or delays as the job progresses. The contractors pack of information he has to call upon through his staff can be many forms in the scrutiny of keeping the project on time.
Linked bar charts
Critical path analysis
Time chainage diagram
Combination of above
To ensure architect/contract administrator can monitor actual vs. forecast time spent and identify whether the project is on schedule there a number of different techniques depending on the trade involved.
First and foremost it is essential that the trades on the critical path are on schedule and not falling behind programme. An example of this is the timber frame truss sub contractor. The timber frame trusses are a key element on the critical path and if this falls behind the whole programme will be hit by the knock on effect hence critical path.
To ensure that we monitor this and critically appraise their performance in the procurement stages we have implemented liquidated damages to their contract meaning any delays will be punished by deductions from their final account. Due to timber frame construction being fairly reliable due to the prefabrication off site and the ease of construction on site it is easy to monitor progress and if problems are occurring in the prefabrication then appropriate remedies can be implemented by the sub contractor to speed up the process.
This is a good way of monitoring sub contract programme by the use of financial repercussions the sub contractor will do their up most to bring the specialist package in on time. However not all of the items on the programme or the critical path for that matter are carried out by sub contractors. Main contractors employ a large number of site staff so works that are not specialist will be carried out by our own workforce. The methods in which we monitor this are simple; Daily return sheets and programme progress alterations
Site manager will fill these sheets in every day and return them to the office on a weekly basis so the contract management team can asses programme and costs. The project management team will then update the construction programme with a progress line so we can see progress against time.
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