Even with current economic challenges, high costs and budget cuts, clients still expect construction projects to be completed faster and at less cost. They expect all of this without compromising on quality and value. Critical factors such as identifying objectives, defining project scope, managing time, cost and quality, and factoring in project changes requires an experienced project manager with strong technical capabilities and decision-making effectiveness. It stands to reason then that one of the most important members of any construction team is the project manager.
1) Pre-planning to optimise investment
Project management is much more than just managing the building process. It includes specific strategies and tools for initiating and managing construction delivery, from establishing objectives right until the last wall is painted. It’s all about managing expectations and thinking through ideas for improving building quality to actively reduce operational costs. Project management is also about understanding and integrating complete systems to control any changes to project scope, costs, time and schedules. Right from the outset, a good project manager must consider ways to optimise the client’s investment.
2) Scope Management to limit risk
Project scope basically refers to the work required to achieve a client’s specifications and objectives. Right from the beginning comprehensive project scope management helps to define work tasks and other project requirements to achieve successful completion. It’s critically important therefore to establish clear and realistic goals upfront. Scope management is directly related to managing change. While change is inevitable and sometimes desirable, project scope management helps to limit unnecessary changes that could negatively impact on the cost and programme of the construction project as a whole. It also helps to ensure beneficial changes are properly evaluated and assimilated with as little risk as possible.
3) Continuous cost management for timely, cost-effective delivery
Cost management is not something that just happens at the beginning and end of a construction project. It is also not purely reliant on reports from Quantity Surveyors. Project costs should be continuously measured and analysed throughout a construction project. This includes everything from planning, programming, design, procurement and construction right until occupancy. Cost begins with realistic budgets based on actual estimates for related work. Comparing budgets to actual costs at every stage of the construction project process is vital particularly when it comes to change management. Proper cost management ensures the project is timely and cost-effective.
With effective pre-planning, scope and cost management it is possible for an experienced project manager to predict with a fair degree of accuracy construction project outcomes. Without the application of comprehensive project management principles the outcome of any project remains unsure and the various parties involved in the project cannot be held accountable. This is evident in certain construction project failures. With all the current economic and construction industry challenges, professional project management is essential to improving construction industry performance.