Study Abroad: Egypt
Construction Management Capstone
There is a long history of construction management throughout the world; its history is literally as old as mankind itself. Even the first rudimentary structure required a holistic vision for its successful completion. Those with a holistic vision have evolved into managers of increasinglycomplex construction. The complexity of modern construction is rooted in the innumerable variables in construction, which managers face on a constant basis. Present day construction can generally be divided into four main construction categories: residential; commercial; civil; and industrial. Further specialization has caused fragmentation in a sense, which has in some respects allowed previouslyunprecedented complexity, but also brings pitfalls and divisiveness among individual participants. This fragmentation is one obstacle that modern builders face that early man did not have to deal with. Now as construction becomes increasingly complex, society has met these new challenges with the development of professionally trained construction project managers to bridge the fragmentation andvariability among participants. Through a recent study abroad trip to Egypt, I can now bear witness to just how project managers handle variability in the business and management of construction throughout the world. In order to highlight the differences found in Egypt I would like to compare them to the western systems we are more accustomed to in the United States.
Successfully completion of aproject requires planning based on facts. Project managers must gather these facts through meticulous data collection of past projects, while striving to understand the owner’s needs. Ultimately, we use this understanding to meet owner objectives, as project managers; we must balance contractual obligation, local variability, and personal reputation.
Contractual obligation is at the heart ofall the work performed on a project. The contract is the written basis for delivering upon owner expectations. The project manager is ultimately responsible for the work done and the success or failure of a project. Success can be defined a couple different ways, for instance, in some cases the owner may be completely satisfied and view the project as successful, while the project could be anutter failure to the contractor, regarding profitability. Besides managing actual construction, the most important aspect of a project manager’s job is to control cost. Level-of-influence is a concept that quantifies how much influence a manager has over the ultimate project cost. Essentially the earlier a decision is needed the more influence it has on overall project cost. This concept ismost evident in the design phase, where as an example, choosing between cast concrete and wood framing can have a huge impact on project cost, but making decisions on labor resource management late in the project can only marginally affect total cost. In Egyptian construction in places like New Giza and El Ein Valley major infrastructure in the early phases of construction essentially, commits thedeveloper to huge costs in the future. These types of choices are not always in the hands of the project manager, but they have implications that carry through the whole project.
The owner bases the contract price on the accepted bid and the overarching key to profitability in the construction industry is shrewd cost estimation. In any construction firm, managers must carefully balance theneed for accuracy and exposure to loss. In order to be awarded a contract a firm must spend only the time and money necessary to prepare a successful bid, more than enough is more than enough. That is to say, that they should not cut corners or sacrifice accuracy just that they must mitigate loss in the chance the bid is not accepted. Some of the most effective tools an estimator uses to...