Construction Project Management (CPM) is a buzz word these days. And why not? With the unprecedented growth of the construction industry, CPM has become the need of the hour as it involves overall planning, coordination and control of the construction projects from beginning to completion.

Simply put, Project Management for construction is the art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the life of a project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time, quality and participating objective.

What does CPM encompasses

CPM encompasses a set of defined objectives which may be accomplished by implementing a series of operations. The functions of CPM generally include:

1. Specifying the project objectives and plans including delineation of the scope, budgeting, scheduling, setting performance requirements and selecting project participants.

2. Maximising efficient resource utilisation through procurement of labour, materials and equipment according to the prescribed schedule and plan.

3. Implementing various operations through proper coordination and control of planning, design, estimating, contracting and construction in the entire process.

4. Developing effective communications and mechanisms for resolving conflicts among the various participants.

Particularly, good Project Management in construction rigorously pursues the effective utilisation of labour, material and equipment. This is because the three factors highly impact the construction project. In fact, improvement of labour productivity is a major and continual concern of those who are responsible for cost control of constructed facilities. Material handling (which includes procurement, inventory, shop fabrication and field servicing) requires special attention too for cost reduction. The effective utilisation of equipment is equally important for the construction project. Organisations which do not have good CPM in place are often forced out of the mainstream construction activities.

Importance of effective labour utilisation

Often, productivity in the construction industry is broadly defined as output per labour hour. Further, labour constitutes a large part of the construction cost. Hence, as a part of good CPM, it is very important to utilise the labour effectively.

Importance of effective material utilisation

Material management is also an important element in CPM and control. It is because materials represent a major expense in construction, so minimising procurement or purchase costs also assume major importance in CPM. In fact, poor materials management can result in large and unavoidable costs during construction.

Importance of effective construction equipment utilisation

Construction equipment also often affect the required amount of time and effort needed to complete a task and in turn, the job-site productivity of a project. It is therefore important for Construction Project Managers to be adequately familiar with the characteristics of the major types of equipment most commonly used in construction. The construction equipment also have a profound effect on the cost and productivity of construction activities as well as the methods used for construction itself. Thus, in order to increase job-site productivity, it is always beneficial to select equipment with proper characteristics and a size most suitable for the work conditions at a construction site. CPM focusses on this aspect too.

In a nutshell

The above mentioned three factors should be effectively coordinated by the Construction Project Managers to achieve an efficient construction process. This coordination may require involvement of both strategic decisions and tactical management in the field. Without coordination among these necessary inputs, the construction process will become inefficient or stop altogether. Hence, it can be easily concluded that effective CPM necessarily involves effective utilisation of labour, material and equipment as all of the three are responsible in making a construction project successful. As responsible organisation, you also need to employ CPM to get effective results.