Research Proposal: Construction Project Management

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Construction Project Management

The focus of this short review is construction project management and will include the components and considerations of construction project management, the role of the project management as well as other pertinent and relevant information concerning construction project management.

Components and Considerations of Construction Project Management

Clough, Sears and Sears (1998) write in the work entitled: "Construction Project Management" that construction projects are "intricate, time-consuming undertaking. The total development of a project normally consists of several phases requiring a diverse range of specialized services." (p.2) Construction project management in its progression from the initial planning through the completion of the project is stated to pass through "successive and distinct stages that demand input from such disparate areas as financial organizations, governmental agencies, engineers, architects, lawyers insurance and surety companies, contractors, material manufacturers and suppliers, and building tradesmen." (Clough, Sears and Sears, 1998, p.2)

The construction process is one that involves "many skills, materials and literally hundreds of different operations" and this is true even in projects that are of a "modest proportion." (Clough, Sears and Sears, 1998, p.2) Inclusive in the construction process are consideration of a "natural order of events that constitutes a complicated pattern of individual time requirements and restrictive sequential relationships among the structure's many segments." (Clough, Sears and Sears, 1998, p.2)

Clough, Sears and Sears (1998) state that each construction project is "to some degree...unique" as "each structure is tailored to suits its environment, arranged to perform its own particular function, and designed to reflect personal tastes and preferences." (p.2) in addition it is reported that the construction process "is subject to the influence of highly variable and sometimes unpredictable factors." (Clough, Sears and Sears, 1998, p.2)

II. Best Practices

Best practices are an integral part of each process within the construction project under management focus in this study. For example project management in general requires a focus on resources for implementation of projects, cost- estimating and -- management. Scheduling, tracking of performance and compliance to regulations and the following stated categories within the realm of what is termed to be 'best practices' or the optimal method of construction project management acknowledged among professionals in construction project management.

A. Equipment and Tools

In project construction management and specifically in the area of 'tools and equipment' considerations include such as:

1. specifications;

2. Management resources;

3. rentals

4. online auctions;

5. sales;

6. manufacturers;

7. Dealers;

8. Parts; and

9. technology. (CareerBuilder.com, 2010)

B. Building Information Modeling

In the area of Building Information Modeling the following are stated to be integral components in what is considered to be best practice:

1. Interoperability;

2. Integrated Project Delivery;

3. CAD;

4. 3D,

5. 4D,

6. BIM,

7. buildingSMART, and

8. Project Lifecycle Management. (CareerBuilder.com, 2010)

C. E-Commerce Tools

Included in the stated tools for e-commerce are those as follows:

1. project management;

2. project implementation;

3. design and collaboration;

4. facility management;

5. procurement;

6. personnel management;

7. training;

8. bid solicitation; and

9. information management. (CareerBuilder.com, 2010)

III. Project Managers

Project managers in construction are stated in the work of Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer (2000) to be responsible for the overall success of delivering the owner's physical development within the constraints of cost, schedule, quality and safety requirements." (p.111) the project manager's role in the operational activities of both architectural and engineering is one that is critical and as well their role in the development of infrastructure is also critical. In addition project managers "find themselves confronted by issues, and undertaking additional roles, that have traditionally not been part of their responsibility." (Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer, 2000, p.111)

The work of Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer (2000) relates the findings of a survey that examined how the construction project manager acquires and develops the skills and knowledge necessary for their practice. The survey was conducted in the United Kingdom and serves to "identify and provide appropriate lessons and options that can inform in-house training schemes for project managers of construction organizations as well as academic an industry-base programs that serve as training routes for future project managers." (Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer, 2000, p.112)

Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer (2000) state that professional competency in project management is acquire through combined knowledge gained in training and the skills that experience and the application of knowledge results in. Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer (2000) state that academic programs in project management and the knowledge areas include two primary sources:

1. The reference material of the Project Management Institute (PMI; and

2. The Association of Project Managers. (Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer, 2000, p.113)

The following illustration lists the knowledge input for developing construction project managers which has been adapted from the work of Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer (2000).

Figure 1

Source: Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer (2000)

Project management includes the areas of:

1. Finance and accounting

2. Sales and marketing

3. Strategic planning

4. Tactical planning

5. Operational planning

6. Organizational behavior

7. Personnel administration

8. Conflict management

9. Personal time management

10. Stress management (Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer, 2000)

General knowledge areas in construction project analysis are stated in the work of Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer to include those as follows:

1. Economic analysis;

2. Social trends;

3. Political developments;

4. It ADVANCEMENTS;

5. Legal framework; and

6. Statistics, probability theory and risk. (Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer, 2000, p.114)

The essential project manager skills include leadership, technical leadership, and team leadership (Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer, 2000, p.114) and includes the skills as follows:

1. Establishing direction by developing a vision of the future and strategies for producing the changes needed to achieve that vision.

2. Aligning people through communication of the vision by words and deeds to all whose co-operation may be needed to achieve the vision.

3. Motivating and inspiring subordinates by helping people energies themselves to overcome political, bureaucratic, and resource barriers to change. (Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer, 2000, p.115)

Also a critical project management skills is that of communication which involves "the exchange of information" and when effective is a "broader skill and involves a substantial body of knowledge that is unique to the project context." (Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer, 2000, p.115) the project manager is required to master the skills of "writing, oral [communication] and listening. (Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer, 2000, p.115)

Another critical skill is that of negotiations as these occur on many issues during a project initiative. The project manager must be able to communication and negotiate effectively for the purposes of the project in terms of:

1. Scope, cost and schedule objectives;

2. Changes to scope, cost or schedule;

3. Contract terms and conditions; and

4. resource availability and utilization. (Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer, 2000, p.115)

The following figure illustrates the key areas in which the modern project manager must be competent o ensure effective performance.

Figure 2

Source: Edum-Fotwe and McCaffer 2000)

IV. Effective Controls

The work of Hughes (1991) states in the work entitled: "Effective Control of Construction Projects" that at the level of the project "the task environment...has five facets...each of which is a microcosm of its counterpart in the general environment. The economic environment impinges upon the project in terms of the financial plans and targets. Although economics is a much wider issue than finance, this is the dominant effect. Similarly, in terms of the way in which people and power groups interact, the political environment is evident in the policy of the client and project teams." (p.1)

Therefore, policy is primarily a result of "the general policy environment. The physical environment dictates what is technologically possible, and in this way, the technological task environment is a consequence of the general physical environment. The social environment at the general level sets the parameters within which people form groups. In this way society is manifested in the legal institutions it establishes, and the way in which the construction professions have become institutionalized is part of this process." (Hughes, 1991, p.1)

The legal framework is that of common law, statutes and contractual relations and is the method chosen by society for self-government. Lastly the cultural environment is "...manifest in the aesthetic expression that people choose. The expressions of faith represented by religious buildings or of endeavor represented by some commercial buildings are aesthetic manifestations of cultural attitudes." (Hughes, 1991, p.1) the two levels of environmental influence or the general and task environments are shown in the following table labeled Figure 3.

Figure 3

General and Task Environments

General environment vs.

Task environment

Cultural

vs

Aesthetic

Economic

vs

Financial

Political

vs

Policy

Social

vs

Legal/Institutional

Physical

vs

Technological

Source: Hughes (1991)

Hughes writes that the relationships between the two levels of the environment is not exclusive in nature as there are "...many links and each facet of the general environment...connected to each facet of the task environment." (1991, p.1) Burns and Stalker (1966) relates that work management and control "takes place at the boundary between the operating system and its environment." (in Hughes, 1991, p.1) Hughes states that there are five aspects of control in relationship to the environment as follows:

1. Cost control - the cost plan must… [END OF PREVIEW]

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