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:
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.