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House Building Construction Management – A Project Manager Guide

Posted by admin on April 24, 2016
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Project manager for house building construction, NethouseplansTypical House Construction Schedule

Every member in the team is important and he ensures the success of a project and a great deal of the co-operation between different parties is essential. A project manager has the role of enhancing the potential of the entire team in general.  This refers to the facilitation of various processes rather than the actual theory of construction. He is not to take the traditional functions of other members or to even relegate them to the secondary roles.  Any construction project involves a team effort. In a typical medium size project, the team will comprise of the architect, the quality surveyor, project manager, structural engineer, building contractor, electrical and mechanical consultant.

In the case of a medium sized construction project, a project manager would typically be involve in the coordination and facilitation of some or all processes and stages pertaining to the planning and execution a given project.  The developer will have to decide on the correct timing of appointing a project manager.  In some projects architect or quantity surveyor may assume the role of a project manager.  Sometimes it is left to a specialist project manager who is not involved in any of the other technical roles currently employed in the project.

Whatever the decision taken in appointing a project manager, there are typical procedures and stages involved in a typical construction project.  These stages will span the entire project from planning, and execution, right up to the conclusion and handing over of a completed project to the developers.  Below is the list and discussions of each of these stages.

The project manager role in the Design & Planning phase

Stage 1: appointing a professional team

The architect and quantity surveyor are the first members of the professional team that are appointed by the developer in consultation with the project manager.  The professionals are normally appointed through writing and their briefs should be defined clearly. The fees should be agreed on taking into account the scales that are laid down by the respective institutions.

Stage 2: Ascertainment of the requirements of the owner

The first responsibility of the architect is interpreting the requirements of the clients and to design the scheme that can help them to achieve the final objectives using the most economical and efficient method.

Stage 3: the parameters of the project should be defined

The investigation has to be made by the professional team and it has to be pertinent to the information that was recorded. They include the viability and the feasibility studies, scope of extension, adjoining of the properties, networks, road access and other factors that are pertinent to a certain project.

Stage 4: getting approval of the design

An architect can proceed with the preparation of the preliminary sketch design for the approval of the owner. On the approval, the architect will prepare the final sketch plans of a project and can submit through the project manager while a quantity surveyor should make the cost estimate.  Taking into account that estimate costs cannot exceed the project budget, what has to be done next is to put everything into motion

Stage 5: the final design

The final drawings that are sufficient have to be given to the quantity surveyor so that he can prepare and issue the bill of quantities.  These will include all the requirements, services, details, schedules and costs of all construction items, finishes, sections, elevation and plans.

Stage 6: documentation of the contract

Depending on the magnitude of the project, the architect or quantity surveyor will be in charge of preparing the bill of quantities and the contract documentation.

Stage 7: tender preparation

Quantity surveyor prepares a tender documentation. This includes the standard condition of contract, specifications, descriptions, the amendments that can be done, the bill of quantities, special conditions of the contract, the penalties, and sureties required and the tender forms.

The tender has to state that no specific tender or lowest tender will be accepted in all cases. For big projects, it is important to have the pre-tender qualification exercise so that a tender can be restricted to the suitably experienced and qualified contractors. These tenderers are going to be the ones invited.  When the invitation is sent to the members of the builder’s association, a level of the pre-qualification has to take place for the members who have high level of repute.

Stage 8 : The tender procedure

A contract will go out to a tender. This is the standard procedure that should be given enough time to ensure that the tenderers have enough time in preparing a tender that it is well balanced.  Closing dates and times for the submission of tenders is specified on the tender documents.  Each completed tender is submitted by each contractor as per the details of the tender.

Stage 9:  Evaluation of the tender

A team of professionals will evaluate the tender that they have received taking into account the predetermined qualifications criteria that were compiled as part of the owners requirements and standards set by the professional team.

Stage 10: Reporting about the tenders

The project manager should report to the owner about the following

  • The list of the prices and the names of the tenderers, the qualifications details together with the comments of the professional team.
  • Which tender has been recommended to be accepted
  • The contractor’s previous jobs, the financial soundness, checked references and the reliability with regards to plant, labor and the management structure of the tenderer who had been recommended
  • The comparisons about the price for each square meter of a tender against the estimated cost

A quantity surveyor has to give the report about the priced Bill of Quantities given by the contractors. The acceptable surety has to be given by a contractor. He has to submit the list of subcontractors that he wants to use so that they can be approved together with the proof that they are insured.

Stage 11: the contract implementation

A contract is then given out and the project manager is the one responsible to give the variation orders where the additional expenditure has to incur.  If the additional expenditure is large, the owner has to approve it first before it can be implemented.  An architect has to liaise with project managers about issuing of the variation orders that have to be in the accordance of a contract while the copies have to be given to quantity surveyors and to owners.

During the time of a contract, informal and formal meeting have to be held at the site.  The meetings have to be chaired by a project manager and an architect. The minutes done in the meeting have to be given to quantity surveyor and to the owner if they are not part of the meeting.  The monthly measurement of the jobs should be done on regular basis to ensure of progressive payment.

The progress report has to be drawn every month and it should be done by the quantity surveyor, while working in the conjunction with the project manager. It should include

  • The full contract report for financial status
  • The list of the variation orders that are issued and the value they have
  • The list of the variation orders that are yet to be priced with the estimated value
  • The report about workmanship of a contact and the sub-contractors
  • The progress report
  • The estimate of final cost that has been projected forward so that they can allow for the potential factors.
  • The details of the claims for the extensions of the time and how they can affect the contract
  • The date of the estimated beneficial occupation with the comparison to original
  • Information that it is awaited by the contractor
  • The important contractual events that it is going to take place in the coming month

In the course of the contract, the architect and the project manager should supervise the performance of the project together.  The onus is on the contractor to manage and to supervise the employees together with the supervision of the professional team but it does not relieve a contractor his obligation in such respect.

The supervisory of the professional function involves the timorous advise and the guidance about how things may go wrong in order to be rectified before they become worse or when it can still be done.  It cannot be good to wait until the project has ended and to start coming up with different list of the faults also called snags that will be impossible to remedy at such late stage.  There is nothing that was found out that may destroy the good relationship found within the contractor and the professional like this practice.

A contractor is also under obligation of advising a team about the potential overruns to the contract so that the remedial action may be taken. The increased cost with the claims to the extra has to be notified and also agreed on as the work continues and it should not be left out to lead to the delays while settling down of a final account

Stage 12: The Final account

At the beneficial completion of a project, a project manager with the architect will make a thorough inspection about how the work was done and they can prepare the snagging list. The work of a contractor is to go through the list conscientiously and to sign off the items when they are completed.

A quantity surveyor may prepare a draft for final account and the parties should work well so that it does not shock the owner who has been notified about the cost increase or disappoint a contractor who may have made a reasonable profit. When there is a satisfactory rectification about the items found at the snag list, final taker over is going to be effected and final account can be signed.

Choosing the contractor

A correct choice of a contractor is something important to the success or failure of a project. A contractor should work like a partner and the contribution he makes is of importance to the entire work.

The compliance of specification in the account of the workmanship and to qualify, it is going to be the responsibility of the contractor but no level of the iron fist persuasion or butt kicking which may substitute the proper attitude with the state of mind for the contractor.

The mistakes of the professional building contractors and contractor will stand as monument for a long period. It is possible to avoid this. The project that it is finished in the right time and within the budget is the source of the pride and happiness for the people who are associated with the program. This may be achieved only when different participants choose to work together towards the common goal and to exercise enthusiasm, mutual trust and honesty.

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