Plastic Surgeon offers advice regarding keeping to program as well as budget during major construction programmes.
MAXIMISING YOUR RESOURCES – five ways to improve your bottom line
Not only does construction remain at the mercy of the elements, consultants and contractors are currently having to contend with the after effects of the recession: principally a shortage of skilled labour and continuing delays on material deliveries.
These could be counted under the heading of socio-political causes for delays, with one theory of construction management also citing technical or psychological problems as the key areas to be addressed.
Technical issues can arise from myriad sources, but adopting offsite fabricated systems (Modern Methods of Construction) is one way proven to improve predictability and reduce errors.
The efficient sharing of information is another valuable discipline, and one that will seemingly be fully addressed by Building Information Management. As yet only a small number of schemes are utilising BIM, and there are big financial implications to its adoption; meaning contractors should meanwhile make best use of freely available information technology, such as manufacturers’ and distributors’ electronic ordering and tracking systems, or Plastic Surgeon’s VisibilITy software.
It is also acknowledged that passing on the full extent of liquidated damages to sub-contractors is difficult contractually; and predicting the extent to which overruns by one subbie’ will affect the progress of others is even tougher.
A large proportion of projects nowadays see the main contractor employing no direct labour, but instead managing a series of sub-contract packages. As has been demonstrated when working towards excellent airtightness and PassivHaus standards, educating the workforce – say using toolbox talks – promotes understanding of goals, as well as improved standards of workmanship and care.
To borrow a term from the military, mission creep can be a major challenge in construction, where the scope of the work changes or worse, management sometimes perseveres with a poor strategy. This can eat away time as deadlines approach, so it pays dividends to bring in fresh expertise where problems persist.
Overall, we can hope project teams have learned the folly of lowest price and will in future adhere to best value – in particular recognising that partners who keep their promises on price and quality are cheaper in the final analysis.