“It's the use of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to plan and implement activities to meet or exceed stakeholder needs and expectations from a project”
Thembakele Consulting Engineers is 100% BEE ownership and currently is a SMME developing company, the brainchild of Director and founder, Ivan Padayachi, is a certified & professionally registered Civil Engineer himself.
At Thembakele we focus on four primary aspects when implementing projects amongst others that we believe are tantamount to project success i.e.
What is construction?
Construction can be seen as the conversion of “raw” resource inputs into defined functioning outputs, by means of a managed process. More specifically, construction is the use by a contractor of supervised labour, and appropriate plant, equipment and other constructional aids, to process and assemble materials and components on site (sometimes partly off site), according to design and specifications, into a completed functioning building.
What are the main objectives of a construction project?
The main objectives of each construction project (based on the principles of project management) are to erect the building or facility in accordance with the design and specifications, with the most effective use of resources and control of risk, and to complete it:
- within the budget (allowable cost)
- on time (within the specified and agreed contract period or legitimate extensions thereof)
- to an acceptable and agreed standard of quality and workmanship
The above are the “technical” objectives of a project. There are usually other “softer” objectives as well, such as achieving buy-in through participation, capacity building, skills transfer, and promoting job creation and local economic development.
Role of the Project Manager
Project Management Practice in the Construction Industry
Good construction management practice is essential in maintaining efficiency, cost-effectiveness and control on projects. This, in turn, helps to maintain and protect projected profits, long-term financial viability, integrity, good reputation and good customer relations. Effective construction management, therefore, is an essential tool in ensuring the sustainability of the construction entity, together with marketing and adequate capitalisation. Other reasons for practising good construction management include the following :
- Ensuring the most efficient and effective use of scarce and costly resources such as money, people’s time, materials and equipment in producing affordable housing to people with low income
- Maintaining high standards of quality and workmanship to ensure that beneficiaries live in pleasant and well-functioning buildings; and managing entities enjoy low-maintenance requirements and expenses for the ultimate benefit of paying occupants
- Maintaining high standards of health and safety on building sites
- Setting an example and being a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs and development organisations in the community
- Building a reputation for dependable service (on time, within budget, and of good quality) with clients, communities and funding agencies
- Building trust and good relations with suppliers, subcontractors, professionals, and support organisations, which leads to smoother running of projects with fewer problems, delays and disputes
The project life cycle
Projects are usually divided into project stages (i.e. definition, planning, execution and delivery stages) to provide better management and control. Collectively these project stages are known as the project life cycle.
The project life cycle typically passes through four stages, i.e. definition, planning, execution, and delivery. These stages can be expanded on based on the clients view as to the project life cycle and the point from which the project manager is appointed. The starting point begins the moment the project is given the go- ahead (when a contract agreement is signed). Project effort starts slowly, builds to a peak, and then declines to delivery of the project to the customer.
- Definition stage – specifications of the project are defined, project objectives are established, project teams are formed and major responsibilities are assigned.
- Planning stage – plans are developed to determine the project steps, beneficiaries, timeframes, quality standards and budget.
- Execution stage – the major portion of the project work takes place – both physical and mental. Time, cost and specification measures are used for control. The project managers have to ensure that the project is on schedule within the budget and meeting specifications. They have to also check if any changes are required.
- Delivery stage – delivering the project product to the customer, may involve customer training and transferring documents.
Project Communication Management
Project communication management is about how communication is carried out during the course of the project. Good communication ensures that all stakeholders are regularly kept informed about progress and problems. Project communication management is made up of the following processes:
- Communications planning – determining the information and communication needs of the stakeholders: who needs what information, when will they need it, and how will it be given to them
- Information distribution – making needed information available to project stakeholders in an accessible and timely manner
- Performance reporting – collecting and disseminating performance information. This includes status reporting, progress measurement and forecasting
- Administrative (Project) Closure – generating, gathering, and disseminating information to formalise phase or project completion