I have been involved in this area of the industry since the age of 19 when my employer gave me my first opportunity to run one of his jobs as a site foreman, since those days a lot has changed and I have been privileged to be involved in some amazing projects from small works to multi-million pound period restorations. Below are a few thoughts on what I consider the role of project and site management to be.
Project and site management in the construction industry can take many forms, from a few hours of thought given to a house make over at a weekend, to dozens of industry professionals engaged for years on multi-faceted multi million pound contracts. For my purposes here I include positions as Site Agent, Site foreman, Site manager, and Clerk of Works to be included under the heading Project Management, as depending on the nature of the site and project, the boundries between these different titles often become blurred.
But one thing is certain… Whatever the size of project there WILL be a need for project and site management.
What is “Project and Site Management”?
Well after some considerable thought… my best definition at the time of writing is… “organising the job”… simple and easy… if only that was true!
So what’s involved in “organising the job”, this will depend on many different things and will be tailored to the needs of client and project, but here are a few of the many tasks from my own experiences.
Health and Safety and First Aid
This is non-negotiable! And is absolutely the first priority on any construction project that I put my name to. (If you’re not interested in this one, then I’m not interested in working with you, and I make no apologies for that!) Now isn’t the place to go into details but don’t let the words health and safety put you off. A good H&S policy is appreciated by all on site, and if people don’t appreciate it then they won’t be working with me.
Advising the client
A good Project Manager is the client’s eyes and ears on site and has a professional duty to inform and advise wherever and whenever it is considered necessary. Off site, assistance can be given while entering into negotiations with subcontractors or discussing design details with architects, designers, and consultants. There must be honesty and mutual trust from both parties, together with a commitment from the Project manager to act in the client’s best interest.
Liaison with other Industry Professionals.
Architects, Engineers, Surveyors, Designers and tradesmen all have something to “bring to the table“ and all this information needs to be understood, coordinated and distributed to those that need it, when they need it. If the project falls within the scope of The Construction Design Management Regulations, there will be a need for regular liaison with the C.D.M. coordinator.
Many clients understandably may wish to retain control of the purse strings; there is nothing wrong with that; however assistance may be given in the production of cost plans and ensuring that contractor’s payments are fair. Assistance can be given in obtaining the most competitive supplier and contractor quotes. We can of course work with the clients own Quantity Surveyor.
A multi layered discipline this one! And it’s absolutely vital to get it right!
Personally I tend to rely on experience to guide me, as I don’t think it can be bettered. Programming the works needs to be assessed on a day to day basis with constant attention being given to deadlines, lead times, curing times and inclement weather, there is a lot to consider.
Services, drains, foundations, walls, roof plumbing, electrical, the list goes on and on…. but they all need to be completed on time and…. IN THE RIGHT SEQUENCE! Not easy.
To convey programming information I prefer to use a simple excel bar chart as they are easily interpreted, however Microsoft Project and others can be useful when the need arises.
Measuring and marking, surveying the site and setting out the works. With today’s technology there is no excuse for error. The availability of total stations, G.P.S positioning systems and laser levels has greatly increased the achievable accuracy and speed of this work. Although not the task of the Site or Project Manager on large jobs, on a smaller site this may be a daily duty. The checking of dimensional accuracy of built work should also be monitored.
Quality needs constantly monitoring; this begins at the design stage, as the best craftsmanship on site is a complete waste, if the design is not fit for purpose, over the years I have seen this happen many times…. don’t let it happen to your project! So having got a great design and all the details sorted we need to ensure that the quality of the on site operations meet expatiations. I believe it is just as easy to do something well as it is to do it badly…. so let’s do the job once and do it well. A good site manager will monitor all the on site activities for quality. On larger sites there may be a need for an appointed Finishing Foreman to coordinate this task.
The keeping if records is a vital requirement on any project this may include amongst other things…. the visitor sign in and out book, site induction records, H&S records, scaffold and plant safety inspections, concrete test cube data, material and supplier delivery notes, cost control and expense data, recording minuets of meetings, action lists and maintaining an accurate and up to date site dairy are just some of the records that need to be kept.
Things do go wrong that’s a fact, but if they are attended to promptly in the correct manor there is no reason to turn a minor issue into a pantomime! And you can’t beat experience in the industry to sort out glitches when they happen.
As you can see there is a lot to consider, and I have really only scratched the surface.
The question is do you need our help with this or not, the answer is of course “I don’t know” as that will depend on many influencing factors such as….
- The size and complexity of the project.
- Your construction experience.
- Your willingness to get involved and the amount of time you have to spare.
- Your budget.
- The type of contractor and tradesmen you choose to complete the project.
OK… so in the real world… !!
If you are contemplating small renovation works, such as a fitted kitchen, minor alterations even a loft conversion or small extension, it probably won’t be necessary to engage the services of an independent site or project manager, as if you employ a reputable builder or tradesman to carry out the ENTIRE job this should (in my opinion) be included as part of their work. After all, a reputable builder wouldn’t want his client worrying about such matters or interfering with his programme, as with small profit margins and tight schedules efficiency is key.
However, if you are planning something more personal or major, maybe your own “Grand Design” or small development, our site or project management services may well be something to consider. As you can see from these few photos we have been privileged to work on some amazing projects. I hope we will be part of yours…. please feel free to contact us to discuss your needs, but whatever project you are contemplating…. good luck and enjoy the experience.