In simple terms, Construction Project Management (CPM) is the art of directing, regulating and supervising human, equipment and material resources throughout the life of a construction project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time, quality and participating objectives. The various processes included in CPM that need to be performed by the CPM manager include:

1. Defining the project goals and plans which include outlining the scope of the project, scheduling, budgeting, deciding upon the requisites and choosing project participants.

2. Managing and employing the resources by the acquisition of workforce and necessary equipment.

3. In the execution stage, conducting numerous operations through coordinating and managing contracts, planning, estimations, designing and overlooking the whole procedure till the end.

4. Overlooking the performances and progress.

5. Efficiently communicating with everyone involved in the construction process and resolving any conflicts that may arise.

6. Taking the project to the closure.

The various stages of CPM

Below are the various stages in a construction project:

1. Design: Four things are considered in this stage. The first is the concept i.e., defining the goals and objectives of the project. This decision is taken on the basis of the size of the project, site etc. The next step involves identifying various parts, materials, colours, floorplan etc. Next is researching on the material and equipment to be used etc. Last is putting the contract document together.

2. Pre-construction: This stage involves identifying the contractor or contract administrator, project manager and field manager. The next thing in line is conducting the site examination, testing the soil and identifying any possible unexpected situation like any environmental challenge etc.

3. Procurement: Now that the people are in place, it is necessary to have the material and equipment in place. Depending on the size of the project, construction equipment can be either purchased or rented. For large projects, generally the equipment are purchased but if the project is small, then generally construction equipment are taken on rent.

4. Construction: In this stage, the team starts the construction project completing activities like setting up temporary storage facilities, securing the site, developing a materials and handling plan, establishing safety programs and more.

5. Project closeout: This is the final stage where all the pending tasks are completed and the project is officially declared to be closed.

Thus, overall, managing a construction project involves many complex tasks including managing people, equipment, schedules and finances. Of all the tasks, managing and procuring the right equipment for the construction task assumes much more importance. This is because the completion of construction projects highly depend on the equipment which is used. If the equipment is old and with obsolete technology, then you may not get the desired construction quality and there can be even delays in project completion.

Importance of equipment procurement in CPM

The selection of the appropriate type and size of construction equipment often affects the required amount of time and effort to complete the construction project. Hence, in CPM, equipment procurement process assumes very much importance.

For equipment procuring, the things that the CPM manager should keep in mind include...

1. Size of the job: Large jobsites with heavy load of work will require large equipment and that too in large numbers. In case, if the size of the job is small, few equipment can do the task easily.

2. Activity time constraints: In cases when the construction projects need to be completed in the shortest possible time, there would be need for more equipment. If there is good time at hand, then work can be completed with few equipment only.

3. Productivity of the equipment: If the equipment is old and not technologically-updated, then it may not give good results.

4. Cost of transporting the equipment: If the equipment has to be transported from a distant location, then it can add up to the overall cost.

5. Soil characteristics, terrain and environment: Depending on the three mentioned factors, the equipment will have to be chosen. Not all equipment are meant for all types of soil, terrain and environment and they can give different results than what is expected.

Apart from the above, the CPM managers also need to consider the point that whether they should buy or rent the equipment. There are pros and cons to each of the approach and the CPM managers are required to make their choice on a case-to-case basis. Making the right choice between renting and buying Construction Equipment can save good deal of money over time. Majorly, purchasing construction equipment can be a good decision:

1. When the project is very large and will take some good number of years to complete. In such a case, if the equipment is purchased, then it can give good ROI in the long run.

2. When the CPM managers don’t want to make huge initial investment at the beginning of the project.

On the hand, renting can be a good option when it is a short-term project and arranging capital for purchasing a new equipment and its maintenance and equipment storage is a major challenge.

Overall, CPM managers need to weigh all the pros and cons of both the approaches carefully as this decision can highly affect the overall cost of the construction project.

In a nutshell

Putting a construction project together is a really challenging task. There are various different parameters and elements that should be exhaustively analysed. Particularly, in CPM processes, equipment and material procurement process is a daunting task and CPM managers have to exercise all their caution in making the right decision.