True Construction Project Management and How To Tell The Difference

Posted by MDA Projects on Wednesday, December 04, 2013 with 1 comment
In recessionary times successfully managing a construction project from concept to completion becomes even more complex. Yet, there is an alarming tendency to want to absorb the project management role into other construction disciplines. This means that the architect, quantity surveyor or one of the engineering disciplines takes on the additional role at a marginal or zero cost. However, cutting project management fees is shortsighted and not financially viable in the longer term. In fact, as project viabilities become more marginal, the need for independent leadership becomes even more acute. In particular, larger more complex projects with tighter profit margins demand an elevated level of objectivity and independence to control and manage project variables.

Why you need a dedicate project management service provider

Competitive tendering, the mindless ‘chase to the bottom’, threatens financial viability, quality, safety, efficiency and overall project sustainability. Now more than ever, consultants are expected to work within tighter budgets but according to the same quality standards, timeframes and end results. As such, professional and independent project management is key to achieving the right balance between conceptual idealism and implementation realities. In fact, it should be the first ingredient in the makeup of your professional team.

Selecting the right project management team

From the start your project manager should have relevant demonstrable experience, having worked on similar or more complex projects. Scale too is important. Make certain you select someone that projects the authority, overall team sensitivity, and financial responsibility you require. You also need someone with the appropriate expertise and resources for your particular project size and scale requirements.

Part of the MDA Projects Team
Alarming rate of building collapses in South Africa

This year alone several buildings collapsed in South Africa. In most cases unprofessional contractor management was sited. The most recent case in Tongaat resulted in two deaths and injury to 30 other people who were trapped in the rubble. While not directly related to the issue of dedicated project management it does highlight the serious consequences of cutting critical steps in the construction process. This is a prime example of how professional and independent project management could have prevented the tragedy from happening.

Anticipating potential problems

A reputable project manager anticipates worst case scenarios and puts processes in place to help mitigate risk. But risk control is more than a system of checks and balances. It is also about procuring the right people and credibly managing multi-disciplinary teams. Not having a credible project management service provider results in unnecessary waste, escalated costs, unforeseen delays, and even loss of life. The entire question of procuring professional services by competitive tendering and confusing quality and functional ability with price needs serious review.