Executing construction projects has become exceedingly difficult in today’s world. The complexity of the projects only adds to the difficulty. However, the principles and techniques of Construction Management can help immensely in the successful execution of a construction project.
- WHAT IS CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT
- WHY IS CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT IMPORTANT?
- WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF APPLYING CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES?
- TYPES OF CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS.
What is Construction Management?
It is a practice of using tested and refined methodologies for executing a construction project from its initiation to its completion. Construction managers use various techniques and tools to ensure maximum efficiency and on-time project delivery.
Why is Construction Management important?
The use of CM principles and methodologies helps in the timely completion of the projects without cost over-runs and other financial complications and legal disputes.
The principles if employed wisely can help in a significant reduction of costs, and help construct a quality project. These principles help the people involved in the construction and benefit the intended users and the world in general.
The management of projects using professional and time-tested methodologies becomes even more important for large scale projects.
What are the benefits of applying the principles of Construction Project Management?
The principles of construction management are used for the accomplishment of various goals of a construction project. Principles like project planning, cost management, time management, quality management, administration and communication, and safety management are of immense value.
We will discuss each of those briefly below for a better understanding.
Proper planning is essential for executing a project. It is therefore of utmost importance to take time to formulate plans for the smooth execution of the project.
Some types of Planning formulated for the purpose include:
Communication Plan: Communication plan clearly establishes the information flow between various stakeholders.
Risk management Plan: Every project has some risk involved in its execution.
It is, therefore, important to plan for the possible risks that one may have to face during the execution of the project and prepare for them accordingly.
Strategic Plan: It involves conducting feasibility studies and examining the environment of the project.
Operational Plan: It is concerned with the operations/activities of the project.
It also involves planning for the scope i.e. how much work the construction project will involve and budget of the project.
Since planning is not a one-time activity and continues till the completion of the project it is important to devote significant resources to this activity.
It is an essential part of any construction project. The cost overruns, as experience shows, in construction are frequent and can possibly lead to the bankruptcy of a company. It involves cost estimating, spend management, value management, risk management, cost control and monitoring measures to eliminate cost overruns.
The Project Management Body of Knowledge states that the cost management comprises of Four processes
1) Resource Planning– for calculation of the full cost of resources required to complete a project. Construction managers use tools like Work Break-Down Structure for the purpose.
2) Cost Estimating-estimating costs involved in completing the project.
3) Cost Budgeting-it involves setting a budget and monitoring the costs based on the budget.
4) Cost Control- Measuring the actual costs with the budgeted costs and controlling discrepancies.
Time is directly related to costs. It is of the essence to manage it effectively and avoid any delays, which can have serious repercussions for both the owner and the construction company.
There are various methods and tools that construction managers employ to manage the time of a project effectively. Professionals use tools like Gantt charts for scheduling and monitoring project progress.
Project duration and time required for various activities is determined by using Network diagrams
Techniques like PERT, and Elementary trend analysis, are also used for optimizing resources.
Project managers also use various software and digital tools to manage various activities. These also help in increasing the efficiency of the execution, which directly results in time-saving.
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Quality is one of the most important factors in any construction project. Construction managers use various tools and techniques to manage the quality of the construction project.
Some of the important tools used throughout the industry include:
- Fishbone diagram
- Pareto chart
- Scatter diagram
- Decision Matrix
- Flow charts
- Tree Diagrams
- Quality Assurance Plan
- Training of personnel
- Project reporting etc.
Besides, Quality management programs are installed for assuring the quality of the project.
- These programs involve
- Formulating a Quality control plan: A QC plan defines the acceptable standards, that will be used to monitor and maintain the quality and people responsible.
- Formulating quality assurance processes which state how quality is going to be monitored.
Administration and communication
In order to execute a construction project, proper communication between all stakeholders is essential. The teams need to communicate with each other for many reasons and hence a proper communication strategy and protocol are important for saving time and costly mistakes.
Construction is a document-heavy job. It requires an effective organization of documents from engineering drawings to administrative and legal documents to keep everyone sane. Therefore proper management of these becomes important for the smooth execution of the project at hand and for any legal purposes also.
These are all dynamic processes and continue till the execution of the project and often beyond and need to be handled properly.
Various administrative functions include making and analyzing various project reports, bookkeeping and accounting, budgeting, HR, Bidding and tendering, and other legal documentation.
The execution of the project depends heavily on the proper communication and administration functions, which are often being performed off-site.
Various tools used for the purpose include:
Drawings: They are of various types like mechanical and electrical. These are primary sources of communication particularly between the client and the construction company as they explicitly show the details and the nature of work.
Drawings also help in monitoring the project and are especially useful in estimating costs involved too.
Contract documents and General conditions of the contract:
Contract documents contain various duties required to be performed by the contract executing body and the deliverables expected by the client.
They also contain the specifications of the work. This helps in monitoring the progress of the project. The dispute redressal mechanisms in the documents are used to protect parties involved in the contract.
It also has laid out some protocol for the performance of various activities that helps in smooth execution and proper coordination between different stakeholders.
Business correspondence: It includes letters and reports. It is one of the main mediums of communication between the stakeholders.
Construction of any project requires constant changes in designs, plans, and other things. These changes must be conveyed to the parties involved without delay. Efficient, timely correspondence is necessary for this.
In addition to these tools, construction proffessionals use various digital and cloud-based tools nowadays to share real-time information with the people involved in the project.
The construction industry employs a majority of the labor force particularly in the developing countries.
Studies show that most accidents occur in the construction industry.
A study by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) revealed around 950 people die at work in India every day and over 720,000 workers get hurt because of occupational accidents.
It, therefore, becomes very important to follow safety protocol to eliminate accidents, which are a major cause of avoidable losses.
Some practices to ensure safe working site include:
- Identifying safety hazards that are inherent in any construction project and assessing the risk associated with each hazard.
- Managing Risks from the hazards by following safe practices and using safety equipment.
- Continual monitoring of all safety equipment.
- Ensuring that all people involved in the project are aware of the risks and have proper training and education in dealing with them.
Types of Construction Projects
Construction projects vary from small scale residential projects to mega projects like stadiums and dams.
Some types of constructions projects include:
Residential: Residential construction primarily includes projects like houses, apartments, etc.
Building– These are the most common types of projects. These include buildings from small to large scale.
Industrial– Industrial construction primarily includes large projects like hospitals, power grids, factories, etc.
Civil: Civil constriction involves the construction of bridges, dams, roads, airports, canals, etc.
To sum up, Construction Project Management is an important aspect of project execution.
Absence of is the most important reason for a project’s failure and should not be overlooked.
Most projects fail primarily because of improper Construction Management practices.
Done properly it can not only help projects get executed on time and without cost overruns but will also as a result help grow the stagnant industry at an impressive pace.
Explorer, writter and a teacher.