Relevant dimensions in Construction Management

Relevant dimensions in Construction Management

Relevant dimensions in Construction Management
 Relevant dimensions in Construction Management
 

 
1 - Design / Engineering   
2 - Mobilization   
3 - Procurement   
4- Integrated Planning   
5 - Productivity   
6 - Performance management 
7 - Risk management   
8 - Contract management   
9 - Organization, skills and safety   
10 - Budgeting
My professional experience focuses more on Africa and infrastructural works, even though I believe that my reading is transverse to our activity, although some of the points become more important when the operation is carried out in such a specific environment and as is the case with much of the "African" works.  I would like to say that I consider as important as the ten points listed above the moment of their implementation, that is to say, for a project in a different country with different laws, people, language, climate, materials, accessibility, contracts, the most important is the preparation / start of the operation.  
 
The starting points are the study of the market and the work itself and the integrated planning of the work. The first planning is the most important because all actions will depend on it, so that planning will determine the outcome of the project. This first planning should be based on budgeting and will result in decisions that will determine the mobilization, procurement, design / engineering and contract management.

I think it is really important to get a good start, much more in markets where resources are very small and where things take a lot more time to happen. The preparation phase of the project, where the various areas should interact, should, in my opinion, be the main focus of the construction companies, as I consider that at the moment it is perhaps their greatest weakness. Thus, a comprehensive checklist with the most diverse subjects to be prepared could / should be implemented as standard. 
Issues such as on-the-job communications, local administrative procedures, local market supply capacity, best ways to get the goods on site, contract analysis, project analysis, accounting for required materials and delivery maps, topographic surveys, tests, licenses and the team, among many others should be part of this checklist.  In the African market, even more so than in the others, if a project starts well, with good preparation, most of the problems would cease to occur during the construction phase, and most of the meetings that would take place in the course of construction would not be necessary. I think it is very important to "waste time" with a careful preparation of the works, and the team nucleus will have to participate actively in this preparation, as a form of not only accountability, but mainly as a way of endowing the project of a team that knows the rules of the game from the beginning.

At present, I come to the conclusion that the dimension where further improvement is needed is planning and accompanying it in parallel with more effective and proactive contractual management. This may be due to the fact that currently the main focus of companies is economic and financial performance, that is our great concern is whether or not we comply with the indices with which we commit, but forgetting or not giving due importance the way we are reaching them.  
 
I give an example of a the work of a road with 150 km in length. It is a linear work where the main tasks are repeated throughout the project, and these (a few) main tasks usually represent more than 80% of the contract value. In terms of planning, these tasks repeat themselves over time and overlap each other, so it is critical that all tasks are ongoing at the same time for planning to be accomplished. However, some of them are simple to make and require a smaller structure and less materials, such as excavation and landfill. So these tasks are usually a temptation at the beginning of a road work, getting the more complicated ones a bit overlooked, like the pavement layers.  
In conclusion, what finally happens is that in terms of billing, results and Indirect Costs / Direct Costs the work is controlled, but in terms of organization and planning is completely uncontrolled, although this will only reflect when, as it is said in the slang, it is time to "gnaw the bones," and it may be too late.  In this way, I believe that performance indicators directly related to the work plan can help to make control more effective in the works.Thus, one way of making planning more important in the eyes of the project team is to include indices to monitor their compliance directly in the performance evaluation criteria.
 
 
About: 
I am a civil engineer/construction manager with more 20 years of experience in infrastructure construction  management in some of the largest Portuguese companies. Of those 20 years, about 15 were spent in Africa, notably in countries such as Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Ghana. I have worked as a quality and safety manager, production manager, construction manager, project manager, country manager in infrastructural projects, mainly roads. 
I have a passion for production management and the technical side of construction projects, but I also developed a special taste for contract management, where I was involved in several claims both as a project manager and later as a consultant. At present I am in Ghana as the general manager of a new company that will initially operate as a quarry. It is a challenging project because it consists of creating the company from the ground, in all its components.

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