NEWS

Construction Management Insight
BUILD FOR SUCCESS

Modern construction techniques require better planning, scheduling, coordination between trades and successful information exchange. The challenges of large construction projects grow greater every year and responsibility rests more and more on the shoulders of project management teams. Time-intensive and complex buildings require a complete understanding of the industry's best-practices and proven standards. Construction Management Insight is your resource to share knowledge with the best in the business. Every new project brings together a multitude of different disciplines and trades under one roof. To get the best result for this intersection requires knowledge, understanding and communication skills.

Construction Management Insight shows you the way to create a robust and dynamic construction management team. With insight, solutions and old-fashioned common sense, we show you how it's done by the best in the business.

In the News:
California Water Infrastructure

California Governor Jerry Brown has gotten initial approval to create one of the largest water infrastructure projects in recent memory. The California WaterFix, as proposed, will be a $17.1 billion project to dig two 40-foot high tunnels from the Sacramento River 35 miles south underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The project will help transport water from the wet areas of Northern California to the arid areas of Southern California while eliminating the current pumping and electrical stations that currently place a difficult environmental toll on wildlife and plant life the delta area.

The project will employ tunnel boring equipment as well as projects to restore and revitalize natural resources in the area.

The proposed tunnel projects would be larger than the English Channel Tunnel and Boston's Big Dig.

Software Profile: Viewpoint


The first in our series examining the software that facilitates much of the planning, operations and documentation in the construction management business.

Viewpoint offers a complete suite of software applications in support of construction projects of all sizes. The recent addition of Dexter & Chaney's Spectrum suite as a component of Viewpoint helps expand Viewpoints functionality into management of payroll, internal accounting and other human capital activities.

  • Location and size: Viewpoint is an international company based in Portland, Oregon. It has 700 employees located around the world.
  • Customer base: Viewpoint offers different products to serve General Contractors (for large and small projects), Heavy or Civil Projects, Specialty Subcontractors as well as independent owner-operator firms.
  • Summary of Capabilities: Viewpoint's software offerings include the ability to independently manage or integrate the management of the several functions. These functions include project management, job costing, data management, risk management, field reporting and productivity analysis.
  • A fully integrated application include a system designed to allow stakeholders in Project Management, Accounting, Operations, Human Capital and in the field to see and share the same information through simplified workflow and greater transparency. This process also carries over to on-demand customer reporting and progress updates, along with billing and proper costing. Each installation of Viewpoint is tailored to a specific customer's existing operational flow and is intended to offer flexibility as a company grows.

Flagship products:

  • Vista: The full-featured end-to-end suite of all software components and activities. Largely installed as a SQL Server database application, it offers assistance and organization with everything from pre-bid estimation to commissioning and testing.
  • ProContractor: An all-in-one cloud solution for estimation, project management and project-based accounting.
  • Viewpoint for Projects: A collaborative project management solution that streamlines processes and communications by facilitating document and schedule sharing.
  • Viewpoint for Field View: A tool properly capture information on the job site and integrate safety, quality and defects checking and management.
  • Viewpoint for Estimating: Customizable functionality to estimate initial job costs, potential overruns and overhead.
  • Viewpoint Team: A new offering with superior cost and scheduling management, including integration with Viewpoint's other products.

MANAGEMENT PROCESS

As part of our mission at Construction Management Insight, we want to educate newcomers to the field. This will take the form of an ongoing series of articles describing the process and the industry's best practices. We will also interview subject matter experts and provide multimedia content from time to time.

Part 1: Intro to Construction Management

For those who are new to Construction Project Management, here's a rundown of some of the basics. The Project Management Institute defines, in general terms, the business processes and activities that go into management of large projects. These general principles apply to all types of projects across the entire breadth of different business activities. While many stakeholders will help define project goals, budgets and other initial planning factors, the Construction Project Manager is the person responsible for executing those plans according to a predefined project plan. This includes managing input and production from principle contractors across several different trades as well as the stakeholders and customers who are paying the bills and waiting to see a completed project. With all these moving pieces, it is always helpful to schedule and plan everything down to the small details. The Construction Project Manager must work with several variables and dependencies for each stage – and one of which may affect the overall schedule. Successfully managing cost, time, quality, contracts, safety and communication are the key areas of focus for the Construction Project Manager.

Planning and Design Stage

Defining goals, scope, budgets, initial site conditions and selecting key personnel such as the architect and general contractor will be the first steps of the planning stage. Most often, the Construction Project Manager will have input but not necessarily fully authority to make these decisions. But communication between the decision makers is vital, and a good Construction Project Manager will be able to support and facilitate that communication. The results of the Planning & Design Stage will be a scope of work statement to be issued with request for proposals, a work-breakdown structure (usually a visual chart), a communication plan, a budget and a risk-management plan. With these documents, an RFQ can be issued and bids taken from general contractors as well as subcontractors. The Construction Project Manager may need to be on hand to facilitate the logistics of site visits or transmission of necessary documentation and contracts throughout this process. Stakeholders will select winning bids and the Construction Project Manager can move forward with initial scheduling by requesting estimates from the general contractor (GC) and any subcontractors.

Kickoff Meeting

Running a kickoff meeting successfully helps set the tone for the entire project. Attaining buy-in for the project schedule and budget helps make sure all parties are on the same page. Principle individuals for every GC and subcontractor should be present and all trades should be permitted to examine the proposed schedule.

Execution and Performance Monitoring

The next stage is to set up and configure the communication and tracking systems the project will use.
The project begins and the responsibilities of the Construction Project Manager shift to tracking, analysis and communication between all parties. Daily stand-ups or conference calls can help key people anticipate and mitigate potential problems quickly.
Tracking progress as well as expenses and comparing that to the initial schedule and budget will allow for on-the-fly adjustment according to existing conditions. When a component is delayed or comes in ahead of schedule, other dependencies must be shifted to allow for the change to the schedule.
A large construction project is broken up into stages and the Construction Project Manager will monitor each stage and report back on activities as they begin, progress and conclude.

Project Closure, Analysis and Commissioning

As a project reaches its end there is inevitably a “punch list” of last-minute items to complete and problems to solve. Construction Project Managers will also analyze the project and determine where the project went well and how the process could be improved for future projects.

LEARN MORE

Here are some of our favorite sources for information on the Construction Management Industry.



Education

The top Construction Management in the Open National Program competition, run by the Associated Schools of Construction. Program descriptions are quoted from the website of each school.

McWhorter School of Building Science, Auburn University

The McWhorter School of Building Science at Auburn University (BSCI) established in 1947, is the second oldest construction education program in the United States. Students in the Building Construction Program learn the basic principles of science, architecture, engineering, business and construction. The four-year curriculum leads to the Bachelor of Science in Building Construction, accredited by the American Council for Construction Education. Graduates qualify for positions in all areas of the construction industry. The Cooperative Education Program is offered after completion of two semesters of study at Auburn. Non-majors will be accepted in building science classes on a space-available basis.

Boise State

Our program has been developing individuals to actively and successfully move into the field of Construction Management for over 30 years. Over this time we have gained many lasting and deep friendships in the field as well as a large number of alumni working in many different locations. As you take a look around this site you may want to pay special attention to the Student Activities and the Student Success links. Our student body is actively engaged in many outside activities ranging from helping those in the community to competing against other programs from across the west as well as nationally. It is activities like these that both allow our students to shine as well as contribute back to those who support us. The Construction Management Department at Boise State University is nationally recognized and is accredited by the American Council for Construction Education.

Construction & Facilities Management Program, Brigham Young University

The Construction Management program is four years in length, leading to a Bachelor of Science degree. It is designed to give men and women abilities in construction management by providing a broad background in construction technology, business, architecture, and engineering, with specific emphasis on management within the construction industry. Graduates fill middle-management positions such as superintendents, estimators, schedulers, field engineers, inspectors, general contractors, sales representatives, and construction insurance or bonding personnel. Many go on to graduate studies in architecture, law or business administration.

College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Cal Poly

Building on a solid foundation in architecture, engineering, and business, the curriculum introduces students to construction methods and materials; to the techniques used to manage budgets, schedules, quality, and safety; to the varied contracting approaches used to deliver today’s complex construction projects; and to the leadership and teamwork skills demanded by this profession. This curricular content is delivered in a unique, project-based environment that explores how these management principles are applied in each of the construction sectors, such as, commercial building, residential, heavy/civil, industrial, and specialty. The mission of the department is to “provide innovative educational challenges focused on preparing construction professionals committed to excellence.”

College of Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering Management, Cal State Long Beach

Accredited by the American Council for Construction Education, this program gives you comprehensive professional knowledge of the techniques, materials, equipment, job planning, and cost controls needed to work in the construction planning and design professions. The BSCM is built around a core of mathematics, basic and engineering sciences, engineering planning and design, and humanities and social sciences. Junior-level curriculum emphasizes engineering science and laboratory and computer techniques. Senior-level courses emphasize engineering planning, design, economics, and professionalism. Seniors can conduct in-depth study on water resources or structural, environmental, geotechnical, or transportation engineering.

Northern Arizona University

Do you want to join one of the fastest-growing industries in the world? Would you like to build the homes, office buildings, highways, and bridges of the future? Draw your blueprint for a great career by studying construction management at Northern Arizona University. Build your foundation with studies in general science, business management, construction theory, and practical building applications.

College of Engineering, Oregon State University

The entire environment of homes, buildings, roads, freeways, bridges, and much more result from the delivery of construction projects. It is the responsibility of the construction engineer and construction manager to deliver these projects in a manner that maximizes value – a quality product at a fair price, safely constructed in a timely fashion. This final step in the development of our infrastructure – construction – is one of the most visible products in all of engineering. Our Construction Engineering Management undergraduate program prepares students with the tools they need to become construction engineers and managers in all areas of the construction industry.

Purdue University

From the world’s tallest building to the custom home being constructed down the block, all construction projects need leadership and management expertise. In Purdue’s construction management program, you'll gain skills to be a leader in the growing global construction industry. You’ll learn what it takes to successfully manage construction projects, from the conceptual budgets to day-to-day operations to project turn over and completion. The curriculum will prepare you to be a future executive in this increasingly fast-paced and high-tech industry.

Sacramento State

Construction Management is the management of the fascinating and complex process that results in the built environment – the roads, bridges, buildings and industrial facilities upon which we all depend. Managing construction involves organizing a wide variety of skilled workers and specialists and leading them in the implementation of the plan, monitoring progress against baseline objectives, and making adjustments to ensure that the goals originally set forth are achieved. Communication skills, business acuity, engineering knowledge, and an understanding of the changing society that the industry serves are essential to success in the profession.

Virginia Tech

The entire environment of homes, buildings, roads, freeways, bridges, and much more result from the delivery of construction projects. It is the responsibility of the construction engineer and construction manager to deliver these projects in a manner that maximizes value – a quality product at a fair price, safely constructed in a timely fashion. This final step in the development of our infrastructure – construction – is one of the most visible products in all of engineering. Our Construction Engineering Management undergraduate program prepares students with the tools they need to become construction engineers and managers in all areas of the construction industry.