Being an effective Project Manager involves more than just having the required technical skills but requires a number of other attributes.
Check out this article: 10 Qualities of an Effective Project Manager
The Project Manager should provide guidance as to the quality requirements and expectations on the project. Whenever they travel around the project site they should be looking with a critical eye at both the completed work, and the work under construction, to ensure it conforms to the project’s quality requirements.
A top-to-bottom commitment is required for quality. A project will not achieve the required quality standards if individual workers are not committed to producing a quality product. At the same time, even if the workers are committed and well-trained, the project will not achieve the desired quality if the Supervisors, Quality Engineers and the Project Manager aren’t committed to producing a quality product.
All workers and staff must take responsibility for producing the best quality product possible. Often on projects I see people blaming their tools, materials, equipment, the schedule, the Supervisor, or fellow workers for a poor quality product. Each individual must understand that they are personally responsible for the quality of the product they produce, and they shouldn’t play the ‘blame game’.
In saying this, management must also be mindful of how they influence the quality of the workmanship on the project, and what they can do to improve the quality culture, like sending craftsmen or Supervisors on appropriate training courses. They should also continually look at the construction process with a critical eye, to see if changes would improve the quality of the end product. Maybe the materials or equipment are genuinely substandard making it difficult for the workers to achieve the desired quality.
On many projects I see completed quality work being damaged by follow-on trades and contractors. All workers on the project should not only take pride in their work, but also in the work done by the others, and they should respect each other’s work. Taking a little extra care while working around completed work, and protecting it, will ensure it’s not damaged.
There should be a clear delegation of the ultimate responsibility for the quality of a task. Often I’ve had Engineers, or Supervisors, tell me that they weren’t responsible for the poor quality of their section of works and that it was the Quality Manager who was responsible. Obviously this is rubbish! Each Supervisor is responsible for everything within their section of works, including the quality of work and the materials used. Every Engineer should be responsible for the quality of their section of the works. The Quality Engineer, or Quality Manager, is appointed to assist the Supervisors and Engineers to monitor and record the quality, and to ensure the required quality systems are implemented and followed.
Poor quality should not be accepted, and Project Managers must not pass by substandard work without taking action.
Managing a construction company or division isn’t easy. Individuals need to:
Check out this article: THE 5 SIGNS OF A BAD LEADER
The use of drugs and excessive consumption of alcohol - how does it affect your construction project?
The use of drugs and excessive consumption of alcohol appears to be a growing problem on construction projects. It can lead to:
Even excessive consumption of alcohol after hours can lead to workers arriving at work inebriated from the night before.
To ensure that alcohol and drugs don't become a problem project managers should make sure that:
Labour is often a major component of the costs on a project. It sometimes accounts for more than 50% of the costs, meaning even a 10% improvement in efficiency can result in an additional 5% profit. Of course the converse is true, and if labour is 10% less efficient than expected then the profit is reduced by 5%.
But it’s usually more than just the direct costs of the workers. Low productivity means more workers are required, which adds additional costs for accommodation, transport, mobilisation and supervision. Poor productivity also impacts the schedule which can result in the client imposing penalties for late completion as well as the contractor incurring additional overhead costs.
A major cause of poor productivity is a demotivated workforce.
See the attached interesting article:
The Warning Signs of a Demotivated Workforce
We will discuss other causes of poor labour productivity in future articles.
The construction industry can rapidly change, with work becoming scarce, and work opportunities in some areas expanding while they shrink elsewhere. Construction companies have to be fleet footed to take up new opportunities, while at the same time ensuring the company can work through the lean times.
One company I worked for had different divisions specialising in building, roads and concrete and operated across all regions in the country as well as in other countries. These divisions and operations willingly shared resources, and when one area or division was booming they used resources from other divisions that were languishing. This cooperation and sharing of resources enabled the company to almost continually have enough work for all of it's resources and to operate profitably.
The key though, is to anticipate downturns in the region or sectors in which you operate. This means you need to have good market knowledge. In anticipation of a downturn you can avoid taking on additional staff, don't buy new equipment, build up cash reserves, look at diversifying to markets that won't be as negatively affected by the downturn and most importantly adjust margins on tenders in anticipation of a more competitive market and look to securing long duration projects that will get you part way through the downturn.
Operating in a downturn may present opportunities to dispose of old, less efficient equipment. It's also often an opportunity to get rid of poor performing staff. The company needs to look at reducing costs, improving productivity and negotiating with subcontractors and suppliers for better deals and discounts.
Every Project Manager has to be able to negotiate. They must negotiate with the client, subcontractors, suppliers, their staff and other stakeholders. Being a good negotiator usually ensures all parties are happy with the outcome (and hence the contractor and project) and invariably ensures that the project is profitable.
I found this excellent article on the art of negotiation:
Negotiation 101: The 6 Principles
Please read it since we can all learn some valuable lessons.
A project schedule, (program, programme or Gant Chart) is an important tool to monitor project progress. However a properly constructed schedule must:
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Copyright 2016 - The attached articles cannot be reproduced for commercial purposes without the consent of the author.
The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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