Project management is the life blood of any project in any industry, but when it comes to civil engineering, proper project management is of the utmost importance. This is because of the lives of the people who work for the construction of the building or the people who it will inhabit, will be at stake here. This is why while undertaking any civil engineering project, due care is taken while setting the project management standards.
Although project management is a crucial aspect of civil engineering assignment, still its entirety is not included in the course of civil engineering taught at most universities. This is because of the nature of importance and the vast skills which are required to execute a construction project effectively. This is why project management in construction is a separate course all together.
The most important components of project management in construction:
Apart from the various intra-personal skills and excellent knowledge of the numerous civil engineering activities, there are two main factors which govern the proper execution of construction projects. These components are:
- Time Management
- Financial Management
- Time Management: Time is money, this is a moral statement which people go by, but in the case of construction management, it is taken in the most literal sense. This is because the costing and the financial management of the project go hand in hand with time management help. If the time taken for the completion of various phases of the construction process increases, the over cost increases. Also, the timely delivery of the project is a major concern. The time taken for proper execution so the stages of the construction process should be minimized as much as possible.
But there is only so much a project manager can do in this regards. There are some time based factors which can be shortened, such as the setting of the different components of a building. This included the major components such as the foundations, column and the beams on which the whole building stands on. The time taken for curing of these components is also to be taken into account, as without proper curing of the columns and beams, the strength and durability of the structure is hampered tremendously. Hence, endangering people’s lives.
Another time based factor which cannot be changed is, the time delay due to natural factors, such as rain, heavy winds, very high or low temperatures. If the natural climate is too radical and the work environment is changed majorly such that working in those conditions is next to impossible for the workers, then in such cases the construction of the project has to be paused until such time a favourable environment is created. These kinds of factors cannot be totally avoided, they can although be predicted to a certain level but even then, avoiding them is not possible. This is in direct correlation with finance assignment, as on top of rendering the progress of the structure at a complete halt and delaying the delivery date, it also increases the overall cost of the project drastically as, the cost of maintenance of the equipment, and the protection of the construction materials from the climatic factors such as rain also adds to the cost.
Hence a project manager will have to constantly adapt to the changing circumstances and improvise his strategies so as to overcome those obstacles. This is an acquired skill which a project manager gains over time with experience which allows him to keep costs minimum and timely deliver the project once complete.
- Financial Management: It is the most important aspect of not only in Civil engineering but any other project of any industry. But the factor which differentiates construction project management from the rest is that the financial costs of different commodities are quite variable and depend of a lot of factors which can change the overall budget of the project drastically. So it is necessary to manage those costs in the best way possible so as to keep the cost of the overall project should be minimum, without compromising on the safety and quality of the building, once completed.
Tender procurement is an important phase which requires accurate calculation of all the various aspect of a construction project which will add up to the overall budget. This budget should be reasonable and fair, so that the chances of acquiring the tender an increased. This is will also enable the project manager to easily compare the changing cost ratios and keep track of the budget.
It is often observed in civil engineering projects that the final cost of a structure increases from the original budget because of numerous reasons; therefore a project manager is in charge of keeping this cost to a reasonable level and approach the superior for requesting more funds in order to keep the construction of the building going.
Usually it is found that the total cost of construction of a project is quite different from the initial calculated cost. Sometimes the cost of the project is exponentially larger, even after ensuring ample precautionary measures. Therefore it is the task of the project manager to continuously track and manage the budgeting and funds so that the construction of the project is not effected. This means tracking and making the raw materials, equipment, and manpower available at all times throughout the duration of the project, because each day the work is paused, the overall cost of the project will increase enormously.
Apart from these two factors, project management in civil engineering also involves abiding to the guidelines set by the authorities and maintaining a safe work environment for the workers to avoid any unfortunate incidents.
Following sustainable practices while undertaking a civil engineering project is equally important to protect the environment and safeguard the people in the neighbourhood of the construction site. Employing proper water management system and optimizing the energy usage so as to minimise any wastage is key.