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The Role and Importance of Construction Project Management

Neil Baatsen
10th Feb, 2023

In the built environment, the construction project manager (CPM) generally acts as the single point of responsibility within the construction process. The appointment of a CPM allows the client to engage with a responsible party and provides the client with a single point of control when it comes to any coordinative elements on construction projects to ensure the control of cost, time and quality and the successful delivery of client expectations.

Scope of Services

Within the world of complex construction projects, bringing the big picture into fruition is an intricate task. This challenge requires numerous processes to take place which can be divided into 6 overlapping stages. These stages, as per the SACPCMP, are facilitated by the CPM and are as follows:

  • Stage 1: Inception

Stage 1 relates to the establishment of client and end user requirements. It also includes the creation of the project brief where the project is defined and from which respective design appointments can be made. The project brief will further establish project objectives, priorities, constraints, assumptions and the respective strategies and procedures required to ensure successful delivery of the end product. The development of stage 1 and the forecast of further stages are captured and reflected within the initiation programme compiled by the CPM.

  • Stage 2: Concept and Viability

Stage 2 is where the project’s concept and viability is determined and finalised. The project brief is communicated to the design consultants and the concept and feasibility is developed within the agreed client requirements. The procedures for cost control and reporting as well as cash flow requirements are integrated into the concept and feasibility. Furthermore, the indicative project documentation and indicative construction programme is developed. The concept and feasibility are compiled and presented to the client for approval for continuation into design development and procurement.

  • Stage 3: Design Development

Once the project concept is defined and its feasibility is approved, design development can be initiated within the parameters of the approved concept and feasibility. The CPM will, as part of stage 3, ensure that all remaining consultants required are appointed and coordinate the detail design development as well as facilitate the obtaining of all required statutory approvals. All coordination of stage 3 by the CPM will be carried out with the purpose of ensuring buildability whilst focusing on controlling design influence on the time, cost and quality constraints.

  • Stage 4: Documentation and Procurement

During stage 4, the CPM will implement the procurement strategies developed in previous stages. The tender procedures facilitated by the CPM will utilise the designs, estimates and approvals from previous stages. This will ensure that a capable contractor is contracted to bring the designs to fruition. The focal points being on the contractors financials, assessed along with the input of the quantity surveyor, as well as scrutiny of the contractors history of delivering projects of a similar nature and their ability to do so timeously and to the required standards. The procurement phase is not limited to the main contractor but may incorporate various sub-contractors and suppliers as part of the process. During this phase the type and conditions of the contract will also be determined and shared as part of the tender procedure.

  • Stage 5: Construction

During construction, the CPM will be responsible for administrating and managing the works in accordance with the signed construction contract. This will include all reporting and monitoring in terms of safety procedures, quality of works, progress with respect to the agreed construction programme, monitoringof long lead procurement and off site production, timeous information flow and delay mitigation as well as cost and cash flow control.

This stage will also include the monitoring of all testing and commissioning in conjunction with the adherence to the issued practical completion lists and conclude with the issuance of the practical completion certificate leading into the final completion phase. The CPM will further monitor the issuance of the works completion lists and the procedures in achieving works completion.

  • Stage 6 Close Out

The project close out phase will conclude with the issuance of the final completion certificate. The CPM will monitor the issuance of the final completion lists by the respective consultants and the procedures in achieving final completion.The CPM will compile the close out report inclusive of all required operational information and the respective warranties and guaranties. This information will be formally handed over to the Client upon the final handover procedure. The CPM will also facilitate any training procedures necessary to ensure that the client or the end user can utilise the facility effectively for its intended purpose.

Due to the nature of construction projects and the ever-changing project environments these stages will frequently overlap and the elements within may change to accommodate the project’s and the client’s needs. The ever-changing environment and large number of coordinative elements, procedures and unique requirements are what create a distinct requirement for CPM services.

Overall Benefits of the Professional Construction Project Management
 

The CPM serves as an objective and experienced owner representative to ensure that the client’s and the project’s best interests are protected. This will include the protection of the client from unnecessary liability with respect to the various processes that go into construction and development which the client may not have an understanding of. Risk identification and management is therefore a crucial service that the professional CPM will provide to the client for the duration of the project.

The CPM furthermore adds increased value through the facilitation of competitive tenders and contract negotiation which ensures contractor compliance and competitive pricing. Cost reduction and control is further increased through the CPM’s involvement in driving value engineering, reducing change orders, implementing time saving processes and activity sequencing as well as the elimination of unnecessary or repetitive scope and cost.

The centralised communication process where the CPM acts as the liaison allows for the seamless integration of all professional consultants and other respective role-players. This facilitates timeous progress through project phases and keeps the clients’ financial interests at the forefront of the project.

Conclusion
 

The earlier the CPM can be appointed on a project the greater the benefits for the client and their development interests. Opportunities for savings are largely identified and implementable in the preconstruction and planning phase of the project (Stages 1 to 4) where a comprehensive and accurate scope of work is established, and a detailed budget is compiled. The CPM is the recommended professional appointment on the project when it comes to identifying project goals relative to the project’s feasibility and required quality and ensuring the timely delivery of all respective project milestones.

The oversight and orchestration of the project in its entirety is therefore what the CPM is responsible for and thus, the CPM is ultimately the ‘glue that holds everything together’. 



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