The special nature of construction stems from a number of specific aspects of the business. This is neatly summed up by the description that construction is characterised by its “complexity, uniqueness and uncertainty”.
But what is to special about construction? Depending the role we suppose the answer you receive will vary greatly. For the general contractor, it may not be seen as that special since they are immersed in it daily and see it as something blasé. If you were to ask the architect maybe they see each project as a unique challenge and if you ask the Client then this might be a life changing project.
How does this manifest itself on a project?
Well, firstly in modern contracting and construction, there is so much financial pressure impacting on all decisions, from variable and hard to plan tender opportunities through to the tight margins, cash flow needs, damages and claims that are prevalent in the industry. This pressure also means that there is a push to try to ensure all happens QUICKLY AND NOW!
The next thing is that construction is very technical, which is one of the main reasons we have so many specialist professions in the industry. Sure, some of us can dabble at a bit of basic architectural stuff, or QS-ing, or Building Inspection, etc., etc., but we know that we can easily get out of our depth and may quickly have to hand it over to the specialists.
On top of that hoards of people, who have often never even met before, suddenly come together and form the project team! They get the job done and then disburse, often to never meet again.
When someone comes up with an idea for a project nobody has a clue about who is going to do what yet, even thinking about who will produce the architectural design is too far in the future, never mind thinking about building it and making it fit for purpose!
We can’t predict ground conditions or the weather! Many times when construction does start on site, sometimes the strategy adopted is to suck it and see, and then make things up as you go along!
We are all Change Managers
In construction, these unique characteristics mean that we encounter a lot of change and must all try to effectively manage these changes – we are all project managers! This philosophy requires its own mind-set and of course a special tool belt to help you along the way.
We have only scratched the surface here. What do you think is so special about construction?
Blog post written by Stuart Howie (built something like 2,500 houses, refurbished 1,500 homes and 150 contracts of which a 100 were project turnaround roles!)
Image Credit: DCZwick