Construction Management is both an art and a science, and is something that is usually quite hard to do. It is hard because one has to look at a broad range of variables, and try and guess what effect each variable will have on a construction project.
For example, a construction manager in the middle of a project will have to take into account the following:
- The weather,
- The availability of construction workers who may be sick or may not feel like showing up for work,
- The fact that some materials are out of stock just when they are needed,
- The availability or non-availability of key equipment like cranes,
- Changes made to the existing design by architects and clients the previous evening,
- Juggling the work of 20 or more different trades at the same time,
- Surprise discoveries of electrical cables below the ground that no-one knew about,
- Inspections and permitting delays by government authorities
It is the inter-relationships between all these variables and the effect they will have on the project that creates complexity in project management. Compounding these problems is the team from the owners of the building, who often sit in plush offices far from the construction site, have little understanding of the difficulties in building construction, and demand that the project be finished before time.
Construction management is best done by people with a detailed knowledge of building construction, such as civil engineers or architects. However some aspects of this work, such as financial planning or procurement, can be done by people who do not have a construction background. With enough training and experience, a layman can gain enough expertise to work as a construction project manager.
Construction management can be performed by different agencies in a project. It can be done by the contractors working on the project, by the owners of the project, by independent consultants hired by the owners, by the designers of the project, or by the investors in a project. It is important to note that each agency may have differring aims and motivations in a project. For example, a contractor may want to increase the costs of the building, and an owner may want to decrease it. Independent consultants may wish to delay the project, as they are paid a monthly fee to monitor it.
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