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(Organizing for Project Management)
The Owners' Perspective
The Project Life Cycle
Major Types of Construction
Selection of Professional Services
Financing of Constructed Facilities
Legal and Regulatory Requirements
The Changing Environment of the Construction Industry The Role of Project Managers
1. The Owners' Perspective
Like the five blind men encountering different parts of an elephant, each of the numerous participants in the process of planning, designing, financing, constructing and operating physical facilities has a different perspective on project management for construction. Specialized knowledge can be very beneficial, particularly in large and complicated projects, since experts in various specialties can provide valuable services. However, it is advantageous to understand how the different parts of the process fit together. Waste, excessive cost and delays can result from poor coordination and communication among specialists. It is particularly in the interest of owners to insure that such problems do not occur. And it behooves all participants in the process to heed the interests of owners because, in the end, it is the owners who provide the resources and call the shots. By adopting the viewpoint of the owners, we can focus our attention on the complete process of project management for constructed facilities rather than the historical roles of various specialists such as planners, architects, engineering designers, constructors, fabricators, material suppliers, financial analysts and others. To be sure, each specialty has made important advances in developing new techniques and tools for efficient implementation of construction projects. However, it is through the understanding of the entire process of project management that these specialists can respond more effectively to the owner's desires for their services, in marketing their specialties, and in improving the productivity and quality of their work. The introduction of innovative and more effective project management for construction is not an academic exercise. As reported by the "Construction Industry Cost Effectiveness Project" of the Business Roundtable:  By common consensus and every available measure, the United States no longer gets it's money's worth in construction, the nation's largest industry ... The creeping erosion of construction efficiency and productivity is bad news for the entire U.S. economy. Construction is a particularly seminal industry. The price of every factory, office building, hotel or power plant that is built affects the price that must be charged for the goods or services produced in it or by it. And that effect generally persists for decades ... Too much of the industry remains tethered to the past, partly by inertia and partly by historic divisions... Improvement of project management not only can aid the construction industry, but may also be the engine for the national and world economy. However, if we are to make meaningful improvements, we must first understand the construction industry, its operating environment and the institutional constraints affecting its activities as well as the nature of project management. Back to top
1.2 The Project Life Cycle
The acquisition of a constructed facility usually represents a major capital investment, whether its owner happens to be an individual, a private corporation or a public agency. Since the commitment of resources for such an investment is motivated by market demands or perceived needs, the facility is expected to satisfy certain objectives within the constraints specified by the owner and relevant regulations. With the exception of the speculative housing market, where the residential units may be sold as built by the real estate developer, most constructed...
References: 1. Bourdon, C.C., and R.W. Levitt, Union and Open Shop Construction, Lexington Books, D.C. Heath and Co., Lexington, MA, 1980.
5. Nunnally, S.W., Construction Methods and Management, Prentice-Hall, Englewoood Cliffs, NJ, 2nd Ed., 1987.
7. Tersine, R.J., Principles of Inventory and Materials Management, North Holland, New York, 1982.
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1. McCullough, David, The Path Between the Seas, Simon and Schuster, 1977, pg. 531. (Back)
5. For more detailed discussion, see D.G. Mills: "Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining" (Chapter 4) in The Construction Industry (by J.E. Lang and D.Q. Mills), Lexington Books, D.C. Heath and Co., Lexington, MA, 1979. (Back)
9. For further details on equipment characteristics, see, for example, S.W. Nunnally, Construction Methods and Management, Second Edition, Prentice-Hall, 1986 (Back)
11. This example is adapted from Fred Moavenzadeh, "Construction 's High-Technology Revolution," Technology Review, October, 1985, pg. 32. (Back)
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