The regional construction sector has experienced strong growth in recent years and looks set to continue this momentum with the local market poised to outperform the global market in the short and medium term.
In a growing market, concerns about the success of construction projects are paramount to both employers and contractors; why do so many projects become embroiled in long and costly arbitration or litigation? Why are obligations regarding time, cost and quality so often not met? Getting the project management of a project right can save substantial time and money in the long run.
Tasks that usually fall under a project manager’s remit and which contribute to the continued success of construction projects include risk management, design review, procuring, managing variations, overseeing commercials and contract administering.
Set out below are some tips to ensure the effective and efficient management of a project.
Ensure that the contract allows proactive management of the programme. There needs to be a clear mechanism for the programme to be updated, issued and for changes in the programme to be reported to the client and key stakeholders. This will ensure that critical activities are regularly and diligently monitored, also allowing better track potential and actual delay, and its causes contemporaneously. This will allow planning and implementation of mitigation measures to avoid or reduce potential slippages. An accurate and up to date programme will facilitate and allow the consideration and opportunity to use acceleration measures to see if these can be economically deployed to recover delay.
2) Assemble the right team
It is important that a multidisciplinary team with the required level of technical skills and experience is assembled. Carefully consider the required capabilities of programming; commercial; technical; and contract management, which are essential skills. The team needs to collaborate in order to manage proactively the risks associated with time, cost and quality throughout the life of the Project.
3) Project Documentation
A thorough and accurate record of all project documentation must always be available. It is essential (and economic sense) to invest in the correct tools to achieve efficiencies and ensure document management systems are fit for purpose. If there is a document management system, ensure that all project correspondence is diligently and systematically uploaded there – for instance it is often the case that communication is carried out by email which are not then filed onto the document management system. Should matters escalate to a dispute having rapid and easy access to a complete and clear record of all project documentation will be vital (and will help to manage the costs of administering any disputes).
4) Early engagement of legal
Involve legal teams/advisors with regular briefings and updates throughout the construction/implementation process. Do not wait for a dispute to crystallise. On-going legal advice and support will help avoid the escalation of disputes before they crystalise and will assist in ensuring a well-documented position in correspondence. This can be vital in risk management. If, despite best efforts, a construction project does proceed to arbitration or litigation, the early and on-going involvement of legal counsel often means that the client is in a much better position.&
5) Risk management,
At the outset a clearly defined risk management plan (and possibly an active risk register) should be prepared, implemented, and managed by regular and accurate management reports.
Ensure that all key stakeholders are kept appraised of significant risks, particularly where there is a potential or actual impact on time, cost, or quality. Be clear on the below points:
a) What are the risks?
b) What are the options?
c) What is the likely impact on time/quality/costs
d) What mitigation steps or acceleration measures could be implemented?
In preparing management risk reports, ensure input has been obtained from all multi-disciplinary teams.