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Section 1 Phases of a Project

Section 2 Management Techniques


Description:  This unit has been designed to enable you to: 1) Identify and describe the significance, principles and practices involved in the commissioning, completion and hand over procedures for completed installations and buildings. 2) Discuss the application of management techniques in the design, pre-contract planning and construction phases of a building services project.

Author:  Gates MacBain Associates

Section 1  Phases of a Project

Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Identify and describe the stages of a project and discuss the significance, principles and practices involved in each stage.

Before you can identify and describe the significance, principles and practices involved in the phases of a project you will need to understand the phase/stage relating to a project. BSRIA Publication Building Services Job Book considers the role of each stage of the construction process in relation to the integration of Building Services. It lists these as:
  • Preparation
  • Design
  • Pre-construction
  • Construction
  • Commissioning of engineering services
  • Pre-handover
  • Initial occupation
  • Post occupation
The publication considers each of the stages as an overview and goes on to consider each stage under the following titles:
  • The role of the building services discipline.
  • Work stage inputs.
  • Work stage outputs.
  • Stage activity check lists.
  • Tools and templates.
The construction project process is considered in cyclic fashion and each stage  is licked to the RIBA Plan of Work , the OGC Gateway stages and the ACE work stages if commonality exists . The RIBA and OGC Gateway are accessible via the website references. These also provide access to other relevant information.

The BRSIA publication Soft Landings Framework (access via website and publications listed) considers how the design, construction, operation and feedback can be used to improve the design process.  This is an excellent as a source of reference for those involved in the design to commissioning of buildings and their aftercare and contains extensive tools and templates. 

The publication will provide an extensive source of information. 

In the publications own words: .  

‘Soft Landings provides a unified vehicle for engaging with outcomes throughout the process of briefing, design and delivery.  It dovetails with energy performance certification, building logbooks, green leases, and corporate social responsibility’. 

‘It can run alongside any procurement process.  It helps design and building teams to appreciate how buildings are used, managed and maintained.’ 

‘It provides the best opportunity for producing low-carbon buildings that meet their design targets. It includes fine-tuning in the early days of occupation and provides a natural route for post-occupancy evaluation.’ 

‘It costs very little, well within the margin of competitive bids.  During design and construction, Soft Landings helps performance-related activities to be carried out more systematically.  There is some extra work during the three-year aftercare period, but the costs are modest in relation to the value added to the client’s building.’ 

‘Most of all, Soft Landings creates virtuous circles for all and offers the best hope for truly integrated, robust and sustainable design.’ 

It is a concise publication but contains substantial and thought provoking information. 

It could be considered that there is merit in the Client appointing a Project Manager to oversee all activities from Preparation to Post Occupational Aftercare, (see BSRIA publication) this individual, if fully skilled and competent in all aspects of construction including the engineering services design and co-ordination will save countless co-ordination challenges arising and thus prevent unnecessary delays and contractual claims.Many contractual claims centre around avoidable time and information issues. 

The Architect, Structural and Services Design Engineer must work together to establish the design and co-ordinate the installation of services; it is not possible to separated the design function from the installation and commissioning of services without leaving areas of potential contractual claims. 

The Readers attention is drawn to the publications listed below.   

The CIOB Code of estimating practice accurately and in detail documents the estimating and tendering process. Though all of the publications contain supporting information which can be located via the index.    


  • BSRIA (2009) Building Services Job Book; BRSIA: Bracknell
  • BSRIA BG4/2009 (2009) The Soft Landings Framework; BRSIA Usable Buildings Trust
  • BRE, (2004) Information Paper - Whole Building Commissioning; BRE: Watford (paper 69.02)
  • Brook M. (2010) Estimating and Tendering for Construction Work, 4th Edition, Oxford:  Elserier.
  • CIOB (2009) Code of Estimating Practice; 7th Edition,  Wiley - Blackwell


Self-Assessment Task

  • Identify and describe the significance, principles and practices involved at the different stages of a project.

Section 2  Management Techniques

Aims and Objectives

At the end of this section you should be able to:
  • Discuss the management techniques that can be used on a building services project.

The application of management techniques in the design, pre-contract planning and construction phases of a building services project are by no means exclusive to construction projects. Most of the techniques used are common to all management activities and have been the subject of much research historic and current and attempted definition. 

It is important to accept that the whole process of management is one based upon people; everything is achieved with and through people; individuals each with their own strengths and weaknesses; all with views and preferences and within the contract context each individual being a professional within their discipline. The task of the co-ordinator is to harness the individual talents of those who will form part of the team and to build the team into an effective working unit with an understanding of the needs of the project and the needs of individual group members. Early pioneers of management and management concepts are considered in the constructionsite Unit Processes of Management, which may be consulted. In modern format the stages generally derived and accepted from earlier work are: 
  • Forecast
  • Plan
  • Organise
  • Motivate
  • Co-ordinate
  • Control
  • Communicate.

Each of these stages are considered in the constructionsite unit Processes of Management, although updated in terms of modern management thinking they are as relevant today as they were when first identified as the processes which management must go through to ensure efficient discharge of their duties and responsibilities. 

The team may come together from diverse backgrounds and disciplines and team formation is vital if co-ordination and harmony is to be preserved. Meetings will form an important part of the team formation and of the co-ordination process.  

Once the team is formed it is important that relationships are preserved and that new members are welcomed into the team; it is too easy given the stresses and pressures placed upon individuals and the team to allow personal differences to affect the work of the team and impinge upon its objective The Manager of a project must be aware of such difficulties and be prepared where necessary to resolve such issues.  

The tools used by management in the efficient of the processes of management previously listed are many and diverse. 

The prime concern for the construction team must always be the health, safety and welfare of the persons engaged upon the project and those in the community who may be affected by the works.  Risk Management; CDM Regulations and Environmental policy are considered in a number of the constructionsite Units of Health and Safety Legislation; Confirming to Health and Safety Legislation and CDM Regulations 2007 and the CSCS Card System, one of which is linked to below.   

Whilst it is appreciated that to complete the project on time and to the budgeted cost forecast is required of the construction team nothing should be allowed to compromise safety. The manager of a project can be placed in a very difficult position attempting to balance speed with output, it is much more sensible (not to mention the legal implications) to comply legislation and the risk assessments for completing operations.   

Nothing happens without thought and thought may be haphazard and uncoordinated; however if progress on a construction project is to be positive and structured some form of planning; initially via the thought process and subsequently placed upon a transferable medium a Programme for all to see and discuss will be necessary. It is important that all those who will be expected to abide by the programme and forward its intended targets have the chance to take part in its production and affect its format; all in an atmosphere where comment is welcome and applauded. 

The processes of contract planning and programming are considered within the constructionsite units Construction Processes and Planning and Control. 

Method statements and Risk assessments in combination with many other factors will all be taken into consideration during the planning process no matter what stage of that process is currently under consideration. 

The financial implications of any contract must be assessed initially before the tender process is commenced and as a continuum during the progress of the works, there is little point in tendering for a contract unless the contractor is convinced that a profit in some form is attainable. The Quantity Surveyor will be required to ensure that all valuations reflect accurately the work completed and ensure that the sums required for sub-contractors are included within the valuations. 

The units Financial Appraisal Procurement and Payments and Valuation and Payment Procedures linked to below consider cash flow and valuations during the course of the contract. 

The above are perhaps the most important aspects of contract management and control but clearly management is a vast topic area and only some of the tools of management have been considered. 

The management of a Building Services project is no different to the management of any construction project early involvement with the concept and design, continuous liaison with all parties; the agreement of planning and programmes and constant attention to the detail of production; never forgetting the health safety and welfare of all involved are central to good management. 

Within construction projects there is a tendency to design the building and then ‘plan’ the services to fit the programme for the building operations this may cause major disruption to the flow of operations and progress of the works. The unit Pre-tender Information Requirements considers the need for greater understanding to exist between Building Service Engineers and Architects and Contractors. 

The most important aspect of management is never to forget that all things are achieved with and through people and neglect of those involved materially or psychologically will diminish the quality and rate of production and can lead to unsafe working practices. 

This is a vast subject and the student is referred to the construction units to gain an insight into how it relates to the phases of a Building Service contract.  Within these units you will find a guide to the specific publications and website relevant to the area of management.   

Constructionsite Units

  • Health and Safety Legislation  
  • Financial Appraisal Procurement and Payment 
  • Processes of Management 
  • Planning and Control 
  • Valuation and Payment Procedures 

Self-Assessment Task

  • Outline the management techniques that are appropriate for a building services project.

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