A REPORT ON CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGEMENT ISSUES
City and State
A Report on Construction Project Management Issues
The purpose of this report is to analyze the introduction of a project management information system to the construction project, the merits of the value engineering exercise, and methods of ensuring quality in the project. The project uses Structural Insulated Panels for the construction due to this system’s capacity to provide rapid and strong energy efficient buildings. The managing of resourcing in this project will be enhanced through the incorporation of the Microsoft Project system. Furthermore, value engineering is concerned with improving the value of project deliverables by using an assessment of function. Value can be increased through function improvement or cost reduction. The gains that can be realized with value engineering exercise include a decrease in life cycle costs, drop in environmental effects, and quality improvement. Finally, quality can be ensured in the project through ways such as continuous improvement, performing quality audits, designing quality plans, the use of quality control tools, and adopting the PDCA cycle.
Construction projects require appropriate project management information system to boost the projects’ efficiency and effectiveness in attaining its goals and deliverables. Various panel systems can be used in construction projects. This project selects Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) panel system due to its ability to deliver quick and strong energy efficient structures, that it allows for a quicker completion of houses than traditional construction methods, and that it can be engineered for load withstanding capacity, wind loading requirements, and racking resistance (Structuraltimber.co.uk. 2019, par. 1-4). Different project management information systems exist that can be applied for such purposes. Project teams should select the systems that suit their project nature and goals. Besides, other issues that construction projects should consider are the implementation of value engineering exercise and quality management and attainment. The focus of value engineering is to realize maximum value of the project deliverables. Additionally, the construction team can use several methods to ensure quality in the project. This report analyzes the introduction of a project management information system to the construction project, the merits of the value engineering exercise, and methods of ensuring quality in the project.
Introducing a Project Management Information System
For this project, the chosen panel system to be used in the construction is Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). These are a high-tech technique of construction, utilizing composite panel methods, giving outstanding thermal and structural features in one system. SIPs consist of two parallel sides, often Oriented Strand Board, sandwiching a fixed center of Polyurethane foam. The rationale for the selecting this system over other panel systems is because of its ability to deliver quick and strong energy efficient structures, with excellent insulation, airtightness, and structural power. The system can also be used for roofs, walls, and floors. Furthermore, SIPs system allows for a quicker completion of houses than traditional building techniques. Finally, the system is selected over others, such as steel and glulam systems, because of chance for being engineered for load withstanding capacity, wind loading requirements, and racking resistance.
Subsequently, the proposed project management information system (PMIS) for managing resourcing is Microsoft Project solution. This is a PMIS that enables project managers and construction team to attain project completion aims. The software or system has a centralized database structured and created for managing project resources, planning, monitoring, and implementation of the construction project (Caniëls and Bakens 2012, pp. 163). It is a standalone system for keeping and managing the project. Microsoft Project introduction into the construction project will enhance storage of project data, central resource management, individual expandability, and role-specific use. Moreover, Microsoft Project ensures transparency in work and decision making regarding project resourcing. With the project information being consistently and centrally kept on it, transparency is attained in the project management, allowing the project manager and the construction team to make sound and right project choices. The graphical depiction of data and reporting dashboards assist in identifying the weak and strong points of the project (Raymond and Bergeron 2015, pp. 1340). Additionally, the introduction of Microsoft Project system will guarantee centralized project management. The system is managed and handled by the project manager with the authorization and access rights to deter any unethical and unauthorized access or manipulation. The introduction of the system will also help realize strategized project resource planning. This system serves a key role in project resource planning as it outlines and keeps various project activities and tasks in line with the organization project planning standards which in budget estimation and analysis of the overall project costs (Lee and Yu 2012, pp. 84). The system will ensure that project resources and tasks are prioritized based on urgency and value. What is more, Microsoft Project software system enhances shared resources. The system has central resource pool that can allow for centralized resource control and management. Resource allocation cost is a crucial component of project management. A single resource can be allocated to numerous project activities. This further assists in detecting an idle resource. The resource pool guarantees the skill set and qualification compliance with the resources.
Finally, the introduction of Microsoft Project system into the construction project will permit for project resource tracking and monitoring. The information and data kept on the centralized Microsoft Project enables tracking and monitoring of the individualized roles and the progress of the project at each phase. The activity status and reports of milestones can be recorded and kept transparently to prevent any disparity in the project (Lee and Yu 2012, pp. 89). The use of this system will, thus, encourage an effective and suitable mode of communication between the project manager and the construction project team.
Multiple steps should be followed when introducing or implementing Microsoft Project in the construction project. The first step is to know the information and technology requirements. Such requirements for defining and developing this system can be identified using various considerations. This initial step will help appraise the complexity of the data and information the construction project will hold and manage, especially regarding resourcing. The main considerations for determining technology and information needs include the requirements of information from different project stakeholders, the types of security, access, and controls to administer, adjust, and update the data and information, the types of graphical reports needed, and the techniques the construction project will use to gather and arrange all the data and information. Besides, the team will have to assess the existing Information Technology potential of the project that will meet the information requirements. The considerations include the available capital for IT resources committed to the project, the existing capability of the construction project team to manage technology, the number of project team members who will apply computers during the construction project, the IT literacy of the project team, the need for voice communication, Internet, email, and other online platforms, and the IT assistance needed by the construction project. After the project team has determined and defined information and technology requirements, it needs to initiate designing technology infrastructure that will offer the suitable software and hardware required for information management.
The next step is to provide relevant and appropriate training for the project team. This will give the team the knowledge needed to operate the system. This will be followed by implementing the system and integrating it into the project’s IT setting. The information regarding the implementation and installation of the system is transmitted to the pilot system (Raymond and Bergeron 2008, pp. 214). This procedure should be led by the technical specialists of the project. Next, the team will need to carry out the pilot system, which involves rigorous testing. The project manager and IT specialists should direct the pilot team and monitor the progress. The pilot team with selected key users will be trained on the tailored Microsoft Project system, testing the system in real-world situations using clearly outlined test protocols and scenarios (Karim 2011, pp. 4). The results will allow for any modifications needed to the system before final installation. Next, there will be a need for rollout of the system, followed by safe operation with competent assistance. The new system should adopted throughout the project, with particular focus on resource management. The manual or traditional resource management should be replaced by the new project management information system.
Merits of Value Engineering Exercise
Value engineering is a systematic approach to improving the value of project deliverables by using an assessment of function. Value can be increased through function improvement or cost reduction. Value construction entails taking into account the availability of construction techniques, materials, organization and planning, transportation matters, profit, and costs, among other project elements in construction. The benefits that can be attained are a decrease in life cycle costs, decline of environmental effects, and enhancement in quality, and others (Chen et al. 2010, pp. 515). Further, value engineering has to begin at the initiation of the project in which the gains can be greatest. This enables the construction team to make a considerable contribution provided the alterations needed in the project do not impact the finish dates, timescales, or lead to additional costs.
Projects must have a high value. The construction team tries to complete the construction with the lowest cost to realize high profit. Time, goal, quality, and cost of every project activity that will be realized in the course of the construction must be identified beforehand (Chen et al. 2010, pp. 519). Since construction process has several elements such as design, concept, and drawing information of the project, and it is a long-term production, the risk of completion of construction in time,founded on the estimated project costs by offering aspects such as durability, continuity, quality, image,compliance, feasibility, management convenience, and usefulness, increases.
Appropriate steps are initiated by predetermination of areas of concern through different project scheduling and planning methods. Nevertheless, none of these techniques encompasses an evaluation in terms of the value.Following the completion of the construction project or during the construction phase, contrasting the retail shops value to the costs that emerge during their construction is not considered (Tohidi 2011, pp. 918). In value engineering, rationalist assessment methods are applied taking into account the target aspects, and unnecessary costs are identified to be removed from the project, so that the shops’ value is enhanced and resources such as funds, workforce, and materials are not wasted.
Value engineering includes some techniques to ensure that the construction value is increased. The first technique is the reduction of construction production costs. In constructions where project or production costs are high, the costs can be minimized without compromising construction’s quality or overlooking clients’ proposals, via different materials or methods. Besides, equipment, materials, and suggested production techniques in the projects and specification may be outdated. If the proposal of the contractor for adjusting some features is acknowledged by the project company, a much more efficient solution will be offered for both parties. Conducting production with higher quality by applying the proposed techniques.
Another technique of value engineering is finishing the project activities before the timeframe. Completing the project earlier offers economical gains in regards to decreasing overall costs. By contrasting the cost of activity acceleration and the decreased overall costs, the team can be choose to finish the project earlier. Such situations can only exist,some of the requirements are having the materials and other resources ready in the worksite and completing the project designing before the the timeframe.
In addition, value engineering also involves quality enhancement and revision. Quality and value are related to one another directly. Quality is possible with value engineering as the construction team will ensure measurement tolerance, production quality, identification of areas that require repairs or redesigning, and reconstruction of products that are damaged, as well as adhering to the client’s specification. Furthermore, value engineering exercise ensures that mistakes are reduced and deficiencies in project drawings and designing kept at minimum. Quality of the projects is a factor that impact construction’s quality. The impact of the project with mistakes which are not appropriate for use on the construction process is negative, while construction projects without mistakes or slight errors are appropriate for use have positive impact. Value engineering ensures that mistakes occurring in the carrying system or architecture are prevented from the project onset.
Thus, from the activities involved in value engineering exercise, the construction team will realize several benefits from exercising value engineering. Firstly, the exercise will help lower maintenance and operating costs. Value engineering does not simply reduce construction costs but also takes into account the functionality of the project, considering the cost of maintenance and operations after project conclusion (Rane and Attarde 2016, pp. 25 ). With this activity, quality, time, functionality, and cost are considered throughout the life cycle of the project. Secondly, value engineering helps enhance quality management. Any project team with insufficient focus on construction quality control can adversely affect that particular project. This results in a significant potential for quality enhancements in this construction project. Via value engineering, quality is enhanced by assessing alternative solutions for each key function and component of the project. Total quality is enhanced when the best alternative at the lowest cost is chosen. Besides, value engineering leads to improved resource efficiency, allowing for more to be attained with less effort, which enhances greater value to the project clients (Rane and Attarde 2016, pp. 26 ). Resource efficiency entails obtaining the maximum from each resource present for the project. This can be realized by looking for other alternative functions that can be derived from the available resources. Finally, value engineering helps derive value from capital outlay. Project teams usually demand value from their capital investment although large capital projects are usually not performed at the least possible cost. However, with use of value engineering, the exercise enables project members to obtain value from their capital projects by not sacrificing the quality while giving out lifetime cost savings for the project.
Ensuring Quality in the Construction Project
The construction team can ensure quality is achieved in the project by having a quality plan. Quality can be defined by developing a quality checklist and quality plan that will be applied during the project execution stage. The checklist will ensure that the construction project team and other players are delivering the project deliverables as per the quality requirements. Following the definition of the project quality features and standards, the team should develop a project quality plan that outlines all the quality descriptor and guidelines pertinent to the project, outline the standards that must be observed to adhere to regulatory specific established by the client, organization, and project sponsor (Mane and Jalindar 2015, pp. 10). Moreover, the quality plan will describe the conditions that materials and services must have to meet the expectations and needs of the project stakeholders. The plan further highlights the circumstances that make a project output fall below set standards of quality. This data is utilized to have a common understanding among the construction project team to assist them in identifying the items falling above and below the set quality standards.
The construction project team can also use quality audits to ensure quality. Quality audits are systematic assessments not the quality management tasks that help determine the lessons discovered that can enhance the performance on the the project activities. Audits are conducted by project team with knowledge of particular fields. Quality audits serve a purpose of reviewing how the project is utilizing its internal operations to generate the deliverables it will present to the clients (Mane and Jalindar 2015, pp. 11). Its aim is to enhance the processes, tools, and methods that produce the project deliverables. If issues are realized during the quality audits, corrective actions will be essential to the procedures and instruments applied to ensure quality is reestablished. Quality audits include activities such as an evaluation of the project team’s understanding of the quality metrics and a review of the skills and knowledge of the project team.
The most recognized device applied to find out quality assurance is Deming Cycle, which has four steps of Plan, Do, Check, and Act (PDCA). Plan implies establishing objectives and activities needed to deliver the expected outcomes. Do involves executing the process created. Check entails monitoring and assessing the performed process by experimenting the outcomes against the preset objectives. Act means applying actions required for enhancement if the outputs need alterations. The PDCA cycle is an effective technique for checking quality assurance since it assesses current situations and techniques applied to offer the project deliverables to clients (Mane and Jalindar 2015, pp. 10). The aim is to make sure that excellence is intrinsic in each element of the process. Quality assurance further helps identify if the procedures applied to offer the deliverables are suitable for the circumstances and time.
Use of Quality Control Tools
Some useful tools can also be used to control and ensure quality in the project.
Cause and effect diagram. This is an analysis technique that gives a systematic means of analyzing effects and causes that contribute to or create those effects. This tool is used by a problem-solving team as an instrument for gathering all resources related to the causes of the concern being addressed systematically and visually, where brainstorming gives rise to such inputs (Mane and Jalindar 2015, pp. 13). This activity allows the project team to concentrate on why the problem happens, and not on the symptoms or profile of the issue, or other subjects that digress from the goal of the brainstorming period. The diagram further shows a real-time picture of the mutual inputs of the project team as it is updated.
Pareto charts. The Pareto chart is based on Pareto’s rule that states that 80% of the concerns are usually because of 20% of the causes. The presumption is that most of the outcomes in any condition ate influenced by a small number of causes and help highlight the key few contributors that are responsible for most quality issues (Neyestani 2016, pp. 3). The tool can help the project team understand how many defects and errors were yielded by a particular group of determined cause.
Control charts. Control charts are a graphical depiction of data that shows the outcomes!es of a process over some period. It prevents defects, as opposed to detecting them. The chart helps determine whether an operation is in control or out of control over a particular time length. They are used by the project team to check the volume and rate or defects in documents, cost, scheduling, and other aspects of project quality management.
The main cause of quality concerns is an absence of leadership in the project. To establish and execute effective quality projects, project leaders must show the right path to be followed towards quality results. A big portion of quality problems are linked to management not technical aspects. Leadership is needed for developing, supporting, and encouraging quality initiatives in the project.
Quality is not a project activity that is performed at the conclusion of the a stage or project; it is a continuous process to make sure that quality is attained in all areas of the project. The aim is to continuously enhance founded on the insights learned and new perceptions offered by the project. Continuous improvement method often concentrates on improving stakeholder contentment via incremental and continuous enhancements to project activities, including eliminating any unnecessary tasks (Neyestani 2016, pp. 6). Better results regarding quality can be attained when the construction team applies a process that continuously enhances every aspect of the project than waiting until the conclusion of a stage to start adjusting and improving the activity. It is necessary to have an atmosphere of reflection that permits the project team to learn from errors and use the insights on the next stage to implement continuous enhancements.
Microsoft Project system is useful for managing resourcing in the construction project. Its introduction will provide many benefits to the project, including effective and efficient resource management and correct decision making. The project should follow the proposed steps for effective introduction of the system. Moreover, value engineering should done right from project planning to the conclusion phases. This exercise is important as it promotes satisfaction of project stakeholders and improved project quality. Finally, the construction team should apply quality management and insurance methods, such as use of quality control tools, continuous improvement, and quality audits, to ensure quality.