When Should a PMA be Conducted?
Both "planned" and "spot" appraisals are possible.
However, a program of planned PMAs, in which the parties concerned
are notified well in advance, are much less intimidating and more
constructive. This enables key information to be extracted or retained
as a basis for the review, with minimal interruption to on-going
work. It has the added merit that management will be obligated to
set standards of conduct and performance, while individuals will
keep mindful of these standards in the course of their daily activities!
In determining the timing for PMA, it is important to relate to
the four basic phases in a typical project life cycle.
The first phase of a project involves its conceptualization, including
preliminary configuration, technical and economic feasibility, positive
and negative social and environmental impacts, and examination of
The second phase involves stages in which the technical plans are
developed, any required technical feasibility studies are conducted,
and the resulting findings provide input to a thorough planning
stage. This planning stage typically culminates in a Project Brief
which should both constitute justification for funding the implementation
of the project, as well as provide the base line data necessary
for exercising control during its execution. In other words, the
conclusion of this phase represents a major go/no-go decision point
in the life of the project, a distinctive separation between the
planning of the project and its realization.
The third or execution phase of a construction project typically
encompasses the stages of detailed design, procurement of construction
services, i.e. tendering and award of contract(s), followed by the
major part of construction.
The final or finishing phase of a construction project is not strictly
discrete from prior stages, but is sufficiently different in content
to warrant separate consideration. It not only involves the testing
and startup of the facility, but typically includes training of
operating personnel, transfer of responsibility for the facility,
release of project resources and closing of project documentation.
Given this brief outline of the construction project life cycle,
it will be seen that PMA should be planned into the project early
in the second phase, by identifying the PM Appraiser and together
establishing a suitable mandate. A PMA can be conducted with advantage
towards the end of the second phase, which provides an opportunity
to verify the various risks involved, and possibly identify additional
risks, which can then be provided for in the Project Brief. This
can add significantly to the credibility of the Project Brief and
its chances of securing funding for the ensuing phases of the project.
PMA activity would normally be stepped up during the several stages
of the third phase of the project and, like the various other project
activities, trailed off in the final phase. Nevertheless, the PMA
documentation can make a significant contribution to the project's
final close-out report.