The role of the Project Management on a Construction Project | Job Insight

Updated: Jul 18

Construction Market Overview

Construction is an inherently high-risk, high-cost, long-term activity and low-margin business with countless opportunities for miscoordination, miscommunication and disconnected processes (Stella Xu, 2020). The construction industry in the UK contributes to a turnout of £110 billion per annum with a 7% contribution to GDP and accounts for approximately 3 million jobs, 10% of total employment in the UK (Wiki, 2021).

As boldly stated in the UK government publication “Construction 2025” in 2013 some ambitious goals were set for the future strategy of the construction industry. A 33% reduction in the initial cost of construction and the whole-life costs of built assets and a 50% reduction in the overall time, from inception to completion, for newbuild and refurbished assets were set to be achieved (Construction2025, 2013).

The Golden Triangle

Furthermore, the goals set completely align with the primal pillars of the project management practice also defined as the golden triangle, driven by objectives of cost, time and quality as seen in Figure 1 and 2 where different iterations of the principles are visualised. Project managers of civil engineering projects will play a vital role in achieving these set goals through improving the processes and systems used in delivering projects.

The Golden Triangle
Figure 1 - The Golden Triangle

Construction projects can vary from very small local magnitude to large national dimensions with inherent features that make them complicated enterprises to run (e.g.HS2) characterised by high levels of complexity, uniqueness of works, uncertainty and extensive planning. Hereafter comes the role of the project manager which is responsible for the development and delivery of a project to the client’s requirements and specifications. Since the 1950s and the origins of the cold war, the uses of the project management discipline in the construction industry have developed excessively.

Now, as an established discipline, management of whole projects from client’s idea to funding coordination, project managers (PM) have the responsibility of control and delivery of the procurement, production, administration, design, construction and personnel management of projects.

As defined by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) the primary purpose of project management is to add significant and specific value to the process of delivering construction projects (CIOB, 2014). This could be achieved by the systematic application of project management values focused on the core constraints of time, quality or cost with a whole life cycle perspective of the project also known as the triple constraints (CIOB, 2014).