Managing the Development of Building Projects for Better Results

First published in 1981, updated for web presentation, Dec. 2000

Introduction | Principal Parties | Project Plan | Improving Performance
Project Life Cycle | Bar Chart Schedule | Manpower Loading Data
Information Explosion | Final Cost | Design Stages | Cost Effectiveness
Choices | Construction Costing | Value Management | Design Review
Cost of Building Ownership | Practice and Value Management | Summary

Management and the Principal Parties

The principal parties to a building project and their respective interests may be identified as follows:

  • The "Owner as Sponsor" anxious to maximize return on investment, perhaps at the expense of operational costs
  • The "Owner as Operator" anxious to minimize operating costs, perhaps at the expense of initial capital costs
  • The "Designer" anxious to provide a good design service and build a reputation for future work, perhaps by creating a "professional image" in the final building
  • The "Constructor" anxious to maximize profit, especially if severe market competition has resulted in tight firm-price margins
  • The "Project Manager" anxious to set the stage for a successful project implementation through efficient management.

These relationships must be managed just as positively as the technical aspects of the project. Thus the objective of project management may be said to be the achievement of predetermined specifics within given targets of quality, time, cost, and client satisfaction. A successful project is therefore one which is perceived as having achieved satisfactory trade-offs within these parameters.

Management in the project context means to plan, organize, execute, monitor against the plan and then control by taking corrective action. Or in simpler terms: "To direct by saying what you are going to do before you do it." This provides an opportunity to modify your actions at minimum cost and maximum effect. Provided always, of course, that this does lead to procrastination beyond the period of opportunity for effective action!

It must be understood that this approach is particularly sensitive amongst team members during the development stage of the project when its functional design is being determined. Professionals understandably do not like to feel that they are being restricted in their professional judgment, second guessed or criticized. Cautious but candid, constant and complete communication between all members of the project team is therefore essential.

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