The Constructor

What is Construction Management?

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Construction management is the overall planning, coordination, and control of a construction process from the start to the end. The objectives of project management are to produce a project that meets client requirements on budget and schedule, and at acceptable risk, quality, and safety. Project managers often earn their positions by proof of efficient management on similar value projects. The development of team building is essential for their success in managing projects. This results in high quality construction with steady and harmony progression. Good construction staff avoid mismanagement of construction materials, project site untidiness, and construction defects, hence the increase of project total cost would be avoided.

Knowledge Requirements for Project Manager

A good project manager with necessary construction management knowledge would ensure the success of the project to a great extent. Knowledge requirement of project manager include:
  1. He/ she should be familiar with all aspects of the construction process with regard to the management of a project
  2. Understand requirements of the project: planning, controlling and reporting.
  3. He/ she shall understand the responsibilities to design team and site management personnel
  4. Should possess enough knowledge about form of contract with regard to the impact of variations, possession, extensions of time and dispute resolution.
  5. Shall be able to understand procedures when dealing with disputes.

Management skills

  1. Establish leadership skills when dealing with site management.
  2. Develop a team approach among their site management personnel.
  3. Delegate responsibility to the site management team.
  4. Maintain good site records when reporting on progress and on the contract profitability situation to senior management.
  5. Proficient in report writing and communications with senior management, site staff, subcontractors and the client.
  6. Be able to implement company procedures and policies
  7. Act as mentor to immediately subordinate management personnel.

    Fig. 1: Construction management

Team building

Team building is an essential component of the site management process. Good project manager builds competent teams. Project manager shall set up the following teams enrolling skillful and competent personnel in order to execute the design with standards.
  1. Site management team
  2. Procurement team
  3. Surveying team
  4. Site engineering team

    Fig. 2: Team Building

Project Management Plan

The project manager has to provide the project team with a road map on how to execute the project. It establishes how the project is to be managed, executed, monitored, and controlled. Updating and revising the project management plan requires the project manager to add management detail on how a new phase is to be managed, write any changes to the project scope, and forecast project costs and schedule against the baselines. Based on the complexity and size of the project, one or more of supporting plans such as quality management, Risk management, and Contract management plan is added to the project management plan.

Project Management Process

The project management process begins with identification of the user requirement, project constraints, resource needs, and establishment of realistic objectives to meet the strategic goals. This may be an iterative process as new information becomes available through efforts by various professionals on the project. The construction phase is important because the quality of the completed project is highly dependent on the workmanship and management of construction. The quality of construction depends on the completeness and quality of the contract documents that are prepared by the designer and three other factors: laborers, field supervisors, and quality of materials. Skilled laborers and effective management of the skilled laborers are both required to achieve a quality project.

Fig. 3: Project Management Process

Material Management

Site Planning to Reduce Loss and Waste

A good site manager can ensure successful materials storage and handling provided that necessary resources are given. However, a good site manager without the resources can achieve very little. The following preparation shall be done as to decline loss of materials:
  1. Prepare hard standing areas for site access and materials storage areas.
  2. Provide facilities to cover and protect components from the weather
  3. Store materials such as formwork, scaffold fittings and drainage fittings in crates or timber pallets.
  4. Establish storage compound with dedicated material storage areas for the storage of window frames, lintels, pipes and sheeting etc.
  5. Have lifters or loaders to handle materials onto scaffolds and loading platforms
  6. Use tarpaulin sheets to cover plasterboard and other sheet materials.
  7. Utilize racked storage for specialist timber products, trunking and pipework.

    Fig. 4: Dedicate Storage Area for Storing Construction Materials

Good Site Practice for Materials Management

  1. Pre-plan storage areas prior to delivery of construction materials
  2. Use of storage container bins – easy to stack and handle containers of scaffold parts
  3. Organize reused materials properly at site, wall panel formwork, stacked clear of ground after use
  4. Use colored barrier to identify storage area and road access.

    Fig. 5: Good Material Management

    Fig. 6: Good Storage Practice

    Fig. 7: Organize Resuable Materials at Site

    Fig. 8: Use of Colored Barrier to Identify Access Roads and Storage Area

Bad Site Practice for Materials Management

As the site progresses from foundation work to roofing and external works, different materials are brought on site for each construction stage. The site layout plan should therefore be flexible enough to accommodate this ever-changing situation.
  1. Prevent untidiness on the site. Areas under scaffolds should be maintained clear of waste material as each scaffold platform is raised.
  2. Avoid over ordering materials
  3. Lack of site preparation for material delivery is another cause of mismanagement of materials.

    Fig. 9: Mismanagement of Materials at Construction Site

    Fig. 10: Overordering of Materials; Disorganized Construction Site

    Fig. 11: Result of Lack of Planing Prior to Ordering Materials

    Fig. 12: Untidiness on Project Site, Bad Material Management

Mechanical Handling

Commonly, various heavy, medium, and small machinery are used in construction projects based on the type, size, and location of the project. These machineries shall be managed properly by considering safety measures and preparing access roads and location for each type of machines used.

Fig. 13: Machinery Used in the Construction

Managing Construction Defects

Managing defects involves carrying out planned inspections at each stage of the construction process. The approach to recording and managing defects during a project is to carried as follows.

1. Recording defects during the project

This method of construction defect is also called a photo image approach. When this technique is used, information shall be recorded as follow:
  1. Provide description and photo image, and ensure that the photo image clearly indicates the problem and is close enough to show the detail clearly.
  2. Specify the responsibility for the defect for example design/detail fault, subcontractor/workmanship problem or damage by others.
  3. Comments on specific responsibility regarding carrying out remedial works.

    Fig. 14: Damaged Corner of Featured Insulated Panel

2. Dealing with Defects at Project Handover Stage- Practical Completion

Practical completion is normally understood to be when the works are complete for all practical purposes. Any outstanding items of work are considered as being only of a minor and would not affect functioning of the building. Minor items of work may be completed in the first few days after the handing over of the building to the client.

3. Dealing with Defects at the Final Completion Stage

The defects liability period, which is normally 12 months, is stated in the contract. As the defect liability period comes to end, representative of client prepare list of defects. Outstanding defects need to be completed by the date specified, in order that a certificate of completion can be issued and the final retention released.
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