Tag Archives: Building

Construction Management -v- Project Management

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has for many years seen its role as the leader in construction management. The current challenge is to define and differentiate construction management from project management and from the role of an on-site construction manager.

I have been in the UK for the last couple of weeks and was at the CIOB Member’s Forum where this topic was discussed at length. My feeling is construction management has a very wide remit that underpins all phases of a built assets lifecycle from feasibility through to demolition and disposal.

My starting point is the presumption that construction management involves the application of construction knowledge to achieve the efficient creation, maintenance or changing of a built asset. Where a built asset, or the built environment, is a very wide definition that covers all man made structures from canals, roads and railways to any structure or enclosure.

As suggested by the diagram below, the application of construction knowledge through construction management has a very wide application. Whereas project management is focused on the efficient creation of a new product, service or result. Project management has a much wider remit than simply building. Any significant change can and should be managed as a project from the creation of a new software program to the reorganisation of a business’s processes.

The primary role of traditional project management in the construction industry (as indicated in the diagram below) is managing the site based construction activities from initiation through to closure. However, it is quite feasible for projects to be initiated at any phase of the built assets lifecycle to initiate a ‘change’ (eg, a maintenance project to upgrade the facility). Also, if multiple projects are involved such as building the 2012 Olympics, program management can be used to advantage.

If the ideas outlined above hold true, project management is the process of delivering a change, whereas construction management is the underpinning skill set used by a range of specific disciplines, including project management, as the built asset evolves from an idea to a design, to built structure, to a maintained facility through to its final demolition or recycling. It’s the knowledge of good construction practice that allows the surveyors and designers to create a cost effective design that is durable, buildable and maintainable; and similar knowledge is needed by facilities managers to look after the structure through its operational life. As suggested above, construction management is the effective application of construction knowledge to a proposed or actual built asset.

Based on these thoughts, a working definition for construction management could be: The effective application of construction knowledge to all aspects of the creation and care of the built environment to the benefit of society.

The lead discipline will change from Architects and cost engineers to construction companies and project managers to facilities managers depending on the phase in the built asset’s life, but each discipline also needs to understand and apply effective construction management to undertake their work practically and effectively.

What are your thoughts???

Can Bob the Builder save the world economy??

One of the construction industries best know characters (if you are under 5) Bob the Builder, is front and centre of the efforts to save the world’s economy.

Bob the Builder

Bob the Builder

As a start, his construction team’s cry of ‘YES WE CAN’ has been central to the Barak Obama election campaign. But this is only the beginning.

Obama in the USA, Kevin Rudd in Australia and a range of other governments are now asking the whole of the construction industry Bob’s key question “Can we fix it?”  Hopefully the answer is ‘YES WE CAN’. The amount of money being directed to construction projects to provide stimulus to the economy is enormous and will require a major response if the funds are to be well spent. As an industry we need to provide value and quality for the money being invested.

This opens up a two of interesting challenges:

  • How are we going to meet the current short term demand for professional constructors? Possibly by attracting with people with project management, administration and scheduling people from the depressed IT industry – project management is supposed to be a portable discipline.
  • How are we going to meet the looming long term skills shortage? Maybe one way to attract talent would be for the construction industry to set up a ‘Bob the Builder’ fund to ensure every child under 5 has access to this wonderful range of toys. After all as the old adage goes “The only difference between men and boys is the size of their shoes and the price of their toys” how hard will it be to persuade a young graduate it is nearly as much fun directing the operations of a back hoe, JCB or equivalent as playing with Scoop or Muck??
Bob and Friends

Bob and Friends

There are some interesting challenges ahead and Bob the Builder may not be able to fix everything but for the rest of us in the construction industry we have our work cut out.

Can we do it?    I certainly hope we can!

Note: Bob the Builder is a copyright brand owned by HIT Entertainment Limited