Organisation of the Construction Process
- 1.1 Overview of the size of the companies included in the case studies
- 1.2 Approach to the management of projects included in the case studies
- 1.3 Organisation principles applied to construction firms
- 1.4 Functional relationships and line management
- 1.5 Roles and responsibilities of site management personnel
- 1.6 Background experience and qualifications forconstruction personnel
- 1.7 The project manager
- 1.8 The site manager
- 1.9 The planning engineer
- 1.10 The project surveyor
- 1.11 The procurement manager
- 1.12 The site engineer
- 1.13 The clerk of works
1.1 Overview of the size of the companies included in the case studies
The range of construction firms related to the case studies have been categorised as follows, with respect to organisation size.
- Small firm: 149 direct employed staff and operatives
- Medium firm: 50299
- Large firm: 3001199
- Big firm: over 1200
Project 1: Hotel and office Galliford Try
Project 2: Industrial factory Pochin Construction
Project 3: Co-operative office BAM Projects
Project 4: School project Mansell (Balfour Group)
Project 5: Retail unit / Car Park Morgan Sindall
Project 6: University refurbishment Wates Construction
Project 7: Housing project G. Construction
|Company ||Direct employees ||Project value M ||Size/category |
|Galliford Try ||2500 ||12.0 ||Big |
|Pochin ||250 ||14.0
d> ||Medium |
|Morgan Sindall ||4000 ||11.0 ||Big |
|Wates Construction ||3500 ||12.0 ||Big |
|G. Construction ||10 ||1.0 ||Small |
1.2 Approach to the management of projects included in the case studies
The majority of organisations in the project case studies undertook a functional approach to the management of their projects. BAM, however, indicated in their company data that they have adopted a matrix organisational structure for the management of projects (see later notes on matrix management).
On contracts up to 5?M in value the project manager / site manager was responsible for direct control of the project. They were supported by visiting personnel undertaking the functions of quantity surveying / planning / design team co-ordination and safety management.
On the larger projects, over 10?M in value, all these functions were site based.
A site organisational structure is indicated for each of the projects in the case studies.
The number of permanent site staff is shown, together with the number of visiting personnel.
It is common practice to place a planning engineer and design team co-ordinator on a major project and allow them to service additional smaller projects from the same contract base.
The site planning engineer had often been involved in the project from the tendering stage. Planning responsibilities often include preparation of:
- pre-tender programme
- contract programme
- procurement programme
- programme progress updates during construction
- programming to completion.
l the programming stages of a contact Power Project or Team Plan was the commercial software package used. Separate notes are included on using linked bar chart software in practice.
In all the case studies, the site based quantity surveyors were under the direct control of a commercial manager based at head office.
On the larger projects, over 10?M, a senior project surveyor and up to two assistant surveyors were engaged on site. The surveying functions undertaken by the team included:
- liaison with the design team co-ordinator
- preparing monthly payment applications
- dealing with variations to contract
- payment to work package contractors
- preparing cost/value reports for senior management (which took at least 10 days per month to report and finalise).
It was noted that project managers were directly involved in the cost/value reconciliation process at each month end. They considered that cost/value analysis was simply a paper exercise to warrant the surveyors existence. The managers were fully aware that the surveying team would produce the white rabbit out of the hat at the appropriate time to save the contract situation. How true this is, from an observers position!
Headings included on the organisation of the construction process include:
- organisation principles applied to construction firms
- functional relationships and line management
- roles and responsibilities of site management personnel including:
- project manager
- site manager
- planning engineer
- project surveyor
- design team co-ordinator
- site engineer
- clerk of works
In assessing their roles, consideration has been given to the knowledge requirements and management skills necessary to perform their job successfully.
1.3 Organisation principles applied to construction firms
Management Theory and Practice summarises common forms of organisation structure as being:
- functional organisations
- product based organisations
- geographical/or regional based
- divisional organisations based on product or regional and having key functions reserved for head office
- matrix organisational structures see separate example in Section 2.2.
Construction firms often fall into a combination of divisional/regional organisations (with one central head office co-ordinating the regional organisations).
Companies generally operate on a functional basis.
The head office undertakes the following functions, which give support to the various projects:
- estimating (estimating and tendering)
- surveying functions
- administration services
- health and safety function
- human resources services
- contracts (including the planning function)
Construction firms fall into four categories according to the number of direct employees. Government statistics indicate that ninety per cent of firms in the UK fall into the small category (149).
An interesting question to pose is to attempt to identify the number of big construction firms in your region of the country. Try to identify ten construction firms.
For example, large companies in the North West include:
Laing ORouke, Taylor Wimpey, Wates Construction, Bovis, Balfour Beattie, Carillion, Morgan Sindall, Robert MacAlpine.
1.4 Functional relationships and line management
The organisation of a major project is based on functional relationships. Line management allows direct authority over others, which is the essence of a chain of command during a construction project. Illustrations and information are passed down the chain and responses communicated back up the chain. Line management provides a two-way communication system.<
Examples of line management are illustrated for the site management and surveying functions.
A construction project is based on controlling site functions such as:
- construction function
- surveying function
- design team function
- planning function.
It is the project managers role to pull these functions together and develop a competent project team. The development of a united team spirit will often lead to a successful project. Team building within a construction company is essential for the continued success of the business.
Wates Construction aims to develop a team approach to serve specific types of projects and clients.
1.5 Roles and responsibilities of site management personnel
The organisation structure for a 12?M building refurbishment project is shown here. The roles and responsibilities of various site personnel are outlined separately in this section. This will also include the role of the clerk of works. The three main functions illustrated are design team, site management and surveying. Other functions, such as planning and safety, are provided by visiting site personnel.
The roles and responsibilities of a range of site management personnel are now outlined.
Organisation structure of a regional contracting organisation
This large organisation is a family-owned business with direct involvement at senior management level. The group incorporates nine regional offices in the UK, including the Midlands,...