31 Jul Project Management in the Construction Industry
“A project is a series of tasks, arranged in a defined sequence or relationship that produces a pre-defined output or effect. A project always has a start, middle and an end” (Project management Institute, Body of Knowledge 1999, PMBOK).
Project management for the construction industry is built on the same principles as any project management task: conception, planning, launch, monitoring performance and project closing. Although they do offer their own unique challenges.
“Construction project management is simultaneously one of the most challenging and one of the most rewarding professions in the built environment,” says Michael Taylor, executive director at Betts Townsend (Mail & Guardian).
How Project Management Differs in the Construction Industry
Project management in the construction industry comes with challenges of its own. Project managers find themselves under pressure for time, cost and quality, and maintaining a contractual relationship between client and contractor.
Often, it involves years of planning. Other ways in which they differ:
- They are unique and do not have any repetitive processes.
- Have a defined timescale with which to operate that must be strictly adhered to. If one aspect of the project gets delayed, it affects the entire operation.
- It has an approved budget where a level of financial expenditure within which the deliverables must be produced to meet a specified customer requirement.
- They also have limited resources.
- The construction business involves all levels of risk, including Health, Safety and Environmental, and even business risk.
- It will guarantee beneficial change. Once the project is complete, something is delivered.
There are also various key people at play during construction, including the project manager, who ensure the project is on target. The contractor handles public safety, time management, cost management, quality management, decision making, math, drawings, and human resources.
Both these players need to work well together to ensure its success.
Then lastly, the client needs to be involved in every step of the process. There should be full transparency in the operations including costs, whether the project is on target and what the risks are. Overall, the principles of project management are the same – but the construction industry has its own unique challenges that need to be overcome.