Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Construction Management is Changing

Construction Management has evolved. It’s easy to see that the housing industry has changed and there are many new ideas and considerations. The driving forces of these changes include:
  • Green Certification
  • Building Science
  • Cloud-based Management
  • Increased Energy Costs
  • Declining Home Values
The slowdown in the economy has created an opportunity to shake out the deadwood and as the market returns, seek progressive new processes for managing our businesses. All industries will likely delay hiring additional staff until maximum productivity is achieved with current employees. Everyone will be looking for ways to access and share information in a flexible and convenient manner. The ability to adapt to new methods will separate successful businesses from those that are left behind.

I read an article recently about a large homebuilder that has provided computer tablets to their field supervisors. I’m sure I’d find the use of the device to be interesting but in reality a tablet is just a fancy tool for accessing information. No device can improve efficiency unless the structure and processes for managing the information are in place first. While the technology has advanced, some of the same procedures we developed back in the day of the 3-ring binder, still apply.

As designers and builders, it’s our job to, extract information from our customers; document the information on the plans; organize the information in specifications; distribute the information as scopes of work; and finally, coordinate everything correctly during the construction process. It’s all information management.

In another article I’ll describe how a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) can be used to coordinate information between the major components of a project:
  • Estimate
  • Proposal
  • Specifications
  • Scopes of Work
  • Cost Control
  • Schedule
  • 4-D Design (3-D plus a time component - the future...)

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