The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman. Published here March 2014

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked - the Project Environment
What We Liked - the Construction-execution Approach | Downside | Summary


This book, Total Construction Project Management, Second Edition, covers so much valuable detail that experienced construction management readers are sure to find fault with some of the details. But that is to be expected in a long established industry where many practices, good and bad, have become institutionalized. For us, we were very comfortable with the content and enjoyed all of the long-past memories that it evoked.

However, we did wonder about the advisability of including data, such as pay rates and relative standings of different trades that tend to be localized and quickly become obsolete as the years roll by. While on the subject of data, we did find that many tables and charts had fonts so small that they were difficult to read and required a strong magnifying glass! We also missed the inclusion of a Glossary of Terms[18] to better understand the authors' interpretation of the various technical labels inevitably used in the industry. We think we know what the authors intend, but for many readers world wide, this may not be true.

Perhaps a Glossary of Terms for a book of this size is an unreasonable expectation. However, a list of acronyms would definitely be helpful and only take up a page or two. True, that acronyms are explained in the text, but unfamiliar ones are quickly forgotten as you read on through subsequent text. For example, in reading through a section on Construction-Project Initiation[19] on page 86 we suddenly came across a paragraph on "FPM" wherein it states: "The FPM is an important document to have prepared early in the project, to assist in indoctrinating your new people as they come on board."[20] It was not until we got to page 181 where we read about The Field Procedure Manual (FPM) followed by a long description of its recommended contents.[21]

Interestingly, aside from standing corporate project policies and procedures, we have always prepared and ring-file of vital statistics for our own particular project, to be shared with newcomers to the project. But this is the first time we have seen it described in minute detail. This is typical of the valuable information in the book - we just wish we had known what FPM stands for a little earlier.[22]

Another interesting section of the book is the Appendix that purports to be a Job Description for the Construction Manager. Given the seven pages dedicated to this description, including a short final section titled "Do Not Make These Project-Management Mistakes", it reads more like a contract than a job description.

What We Liked - the Construction-execution Approach  What We Liked -
the Construction-execution Approach

18. One of our favorite hobby horses
19. Ibid, Chapter 3
20. Ibid p86
21. Ibid, see pages 181 to 189
22. To be fair, we did subsequently discover "FPM", that we normally referred to as "Project XXX Guidelines", in the Project-Initiation Checklist, item 7 on page 84.
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