Project Management


The cost control  of  job  is  the  responsibility  of  the  project manager  but  he expects the construction manager to make sure his day to day expenditure on all items is controlled to Produce the most economical job to the specified standards.

The quantity surveyor is to keep him informed on the current cost situation for the major items.

Factors which add cost to a job and which must be tightly controlled are: –

•    Preliminary site operations (Setting out, haul roads etc)
•    Indirect site expenses (Telephone, electricity, water etc.)
•    Unproductive work items (Fire-breaks, damage to utility lines etc.)
•    Final clean-up.

Fixed  site  expenses,  consisting  mainly  of  costs  of  establishing  and  maintaining  site facilities and the clearing of temporary works and access roads, have all to be controlled tightly.

The initial stages of the job require special control to achieve the desired rate and method of construction. Tight cost control in this phase is essential to see that cost escalation does not set in.

Time  (man  hours  and  machine-hours)  is  the  measure  by  which  all  the  productive  and unproductive effort is controlled against that estimated. It is also used to assess progress against the job program. Time means money. Reduce the time that men and plant spend on an operation and you reduce the cost of the operation.

It is essential that the construction manager/project manager maintains full communication with his quantity surveyor and ensures he is provided promptly with all costing and production information.

Project Management

Project Management – Materials Control

The effective material control is essential to the efficient management of resources and overall job control. Hence the site engineer must ensure that he: –

• Orders the correct type and quantity of materials.

• Has them in the right place at the desired time. Ordering material well ahead of requirement is essential to the job and assists personnel in Stores and Supply to satisfy the requirements of ALL jobs.

• Checks that the materials are of the specified quality

• Complies  with  all  project specifications(project management) as  to  the  taking  of  natural  materials.  Refer always to material engineer.

Very well material control factors in a project will enhance quality and profit to the project.

Project Management – Plant Control

A similar approach applies to the control of construction plant and equipment and a good supervision ensures that :-

• The  construction company is not being used merely because it is available when other plant, perhaps hired, would be more efficient. The construction manager/project manager, with access to the overall projects in specific area which are closed to perticular project plant needs, should be consulted if an item of plant is not the most suitable for that activity.

• The construction company is such that all items of plant are kept working as efficiently as possible.

• Plant is being skillfully operated and properly maintained.

There  are  occasions  when  the  use  of  a  particular  machine  is  unwise,  as  adverse  site conditions result in a poor job requiring corrective work later. This is undesirable, uneconomical and bad for morale.

Plant requirements are usually included in the works program.

Project Management


The form of  project control methods  must be simple, easily understood and practical

Factors affecting the degree of project control are:-

• Size of Job.

• Ability of personnel employed on the work.

• The amount of direct supervision that can be given by the site supervisor.

• The rate of construction.

The success of labour control is dependent on regular inspections being carried out and discussions taking place with gangs and crews so that they know what they are expected to do and also the consequences of it not being done.

To supervise effectively, the site supervisor should have a detailed, intimate knowledge of all the construction operations and techniques relating to the work he is to carry out. This requires careful  study  of  the  plans  and  specification  to  understand  what  is  required  and  a  study  of the information  contained  in  the  relevant  project scope  on  how  to  achieve  the necessary results.

For effective project control methods, Other sources of information for the foreman are his site engineer, the construction manager, quantity surveyor, Engineering Laboratary staff, plant managers etc. -remember, when in doubt – ASK.

The  supervisor/foreman/site engineer  must  be  able  to  detect  quickly  any  deficiencies  before  they  become serious. The following rules should be observed :-

• Inspections  must  be  timely,  thorough  and  systematic.  Read the  relevant  clauses  of  the specification just before going out to inspect. Make a list of points which must be checked.  • Make close inspections at the start of operations, e. g. it is better to condemn 10 m3 of faulty material at the start of paving than l00 or 1000 m3 later.

• Observe each operation and think about how it can be simplified or improved.

• Plan  the  testing  and bill of quantites  procedures  of  the  job  to  yield  the  necessary  information promptly and efficiently.

• When deficiencies are observed, decide immediately what corrective action is required and make sure that it is carried out, e. g. when supervising earthmoving operations, do not stand by  and  watch  a  dozer working uphill when it should be working downhill -reconsider and reorganize the plant operations.

• Observe the resources (manpower, materials and plant) that are in use and make an honest assessment of actual need -act accordingly.

Project Management


When a contract for road works is let, the contractor undertakes to carry out the work to the job plans and specifications, at a given price, in a specific time.
The aim of contract inspection is to ensure that the Employer’s requirements, as detailed in the contract documents, and as agreed between the principal and the contractor , are fulfilled by the due date for completion .
There are three important elements in the above statement.
·  The Employer’s requirements are specified and agreed.
·  The inspector must ensure that these requirements are fulfilled.
·  There is a time specified


Before proceeding, it is important to define the terms to be used. The following definitions are in accordance with the meaning assigned to the terms in the Road Development Authority’s General Conditions of Contract

·  A Contract is an agreement between two parties – the “Employer” and “the contractor” – that for some consideration and under certain conditions, the contractor will do certain work as specified and agreed , for the Employer.

·  The Employer usually the Road Development Authority of Main Roads is the party to the contract who stipulates the work and the standard of workmanship required , and who in the first instance nominates the conditions under which a contract will be entered into.

·  The contractor is the person or company who offers to execute the works for the Employer for a certain consideration and whose offer is accepted by the Employer.

·  The Engineer is the person nominated in the contract, usually the Consultant Engineer, whom both parties agree should impartially ensure that both the Employer and the contractor properly perform their respective obligations under the contract

The engineer’s Representative is the person to whom the engineer has delegated all or some of his powers under the contract. On Highway/Expressway contracts he is normally called the Team Leader(Foreign Funded JBIC)/Resident Engineer(ADB). The Assistant Resident Engineer or Chief Engineer/project Engineer is responsible for the detailed supervision and administration necessary to achieve the completion of the project within the terms of the contract.

He must also make certain , by way of site inspection and control, that the design adopted is adequate to meet the physical and geological conditions encountered on site once work has commenced.

It is important that the all the  definitions are read carefully in contract, even though they may seem complex. Understanding of definitions is most important to a proper understanding of the principles of contract inspection.

Project Management

Engineer’s Responsibility in Industrial Matters

Industrial  Relations

In the field of industrial relations the engineer’s responsibilities are both to the  road construction company  and to the employees.
To adequately meet this responsibilities he must appreciate fully the importance of his personal conduct and his responsibility to others.

The Construction Engineer’s Personnel Conduct

Unless the Engineer, at all times, displays in his manners, address, way of living etc. that he is worthy of respect from his subordinates it is certain that he will not be able to assert the authority necessary to achieve the most efficient performance from those under his direction.  Sub-ordinates  look towards their boss for clear leads and directions, so he must apply himself to his duties in the most efficient way in order to set a good example.

It is human nature for us to set ourselves up as judges of all things done by our superiors and we are quick to be critical when there is any indication of indecision, slovenliness, carelessness etc.
It behaves the Construction Engineer therefore, if he expects efficiency and good work from his subordinates, to be sure that he shows himself to be careful, positive and efficient.

Engineer’s Responsibility to Others

A   Engineer’s responsibility is to be conscious at all times of his obligations, since he has the responsibility of seeing that both the interests of the  Construction Company  and the welfare of the employees under his control are adequately safeguarded.

This is generally regarded as the most important aspect of industrial relations as it is the area most susceptible to complications.

In managing people on the job a  Construction Engineer  must work within Construction Company directions and policies as well as an Award requirements.

Project Management

Project Controlling of Project Management

The next step of project management principles is  Project Controlling . Effective  project controlling  involves  seeing  that  the  job  is  being  carried  out  as  planned.  It  is,  in effect,  checking  regularly  to  find  out  what  has  been  achieved  and  comparing  that  with  what should have been achieved and taking action to correct any deficiencies.


The purpose of project control is to ensure that: –

• The work is carried out as specified. The plans and specifications should not be regarded as being completely inflexible and the site engineer is expected to bring to the attention of the consultant engineer any aspect of the job he feels may need change (e. g. raising a grade- line for economy when unrippable rock is encountered). However he must not make changes without the necessary approvals.

•  Construction  plant is properly used and maintained.

• The  programmed  rate of construction and expenditure is maintained or bettered.

• Treatment of job personnel and sub-contractors is just and fair.

• Conditions set down in the various Industrial Awards are implemented and maintained.

• Proper records of the work carried out are maintained.

• All safety requirements are observed.

The required standards and controlling factors are set out in the following documents: –

(a)  Working drawings

(b)  Specifications

(c)  Standards

(d)  Estimates

(e)  Job Program

(f)  Materials Schedule

(g) Safety Codes , Acts and Regulations


Project Management

Project Directing – Site Engineer’s Job

The next step of project management principles is  project directing . The  site engineer deals  with  people  and  he  is  required  to   organize ,  motivate  and  co-ordinate people’s actions so that they do their work properly.

The  effectiveness  with  which  they  carry  out  his  instructions  depends  largely  on  his ability to speak and write in a manner which can be under stood by the particular group to whom it is directed.

The  main  flow  of  information  to  the  job  site engineer  is  generally  in  written  form.  The site engineer  is  given  the  particular  job  requirements  on   plans  and  in  specifications  and it is his duty  to  correctly  interpret  this  information  and  then  to  condense  it  into  a  form  which  can  be readily explained to his subordinates and be understood by them.

Also  the  site engineer  will  often  need  to  obtain additional information from the engineer’s staff and others  to be able to properly direct his men.

He must decide what specific information should be given to his subordinate and to what degree this information should be expanded so that they can understand it.

Consideration should also be given as to whether this information can be given verbally or in writing.

The  site engineer must  issue  sufficient  information  to  his  subordinates  to  enable them to control their section of the job in relation to the overall job program.

The timing of the issue of such information is also important. To be early with certain kinds of information is as serious as being late.

In relating information it is essential that, if it cannot be given in written form, then it should be given in an explicit manner such that it cannot be misunderstood by the receiver.

An instruction which is not specific can lead to misunderstandings on the job site, as the following example illustrates.

A  truck  driver  directed  to  unload   drainage   pipes  “opposite  the  gum  tree  beyond  the bridge” did just that. However he choose the wrong tree because he went to the wrong bridge.

Effective communication is vital in  organizations  because: –

•    It leads to high job morale.  

•    Only by this are attitudes and situations changed.  

•    It encourages full communication and hence it increases understanding and trust.

The   site engineer   should  consolidate  his  communicating  skills  by  utilizing  the information that the segments on Human Relations.

Project Management

Project Management – Staffing

The next step of  project management  steps is staffing as the required. Organizing  is  concerned  with  the  division  of  work  and  setting  up  the  structure  of  the workforce,  whilst  project management staffing  provides  people  to  carry  out  and  supervise  the  work  within  that  organizing structure .

The allocation of supervisory staff is controlled by the Site Engineer, but otherwise the engagement of labor for the job is the duty of the job supervisor. Since the efficiency of the job  depends  to  a  large  extent  on  the  quality  of  the  men  employed,  the  supervisor  owes  it  to himself to be careful and critical in his selection.

Points to be remembered in engaging and transferring labor include:-

•    Preference clauses of the relevant awards must always must be observed when engaging men or transferring them from one class of work to another.

•    Labor is to be engaged through the Commonwealth Employment Service nearest the job.

•    Preference should be given to the men with the longest registration who are suitable.

•    Suitable men offering for employment, other than through an Employment Service may be engaged,  but  the  job  supervisor  should  keep  himself  informed  of  labor  available  by maintaining  contact  with  the  Employment  Service  to  ensure  that  wherever  practical  {and consistent with efficiency) local men are employed.

•   Next important factor of project management staffing is   Transferring men from job to job enables the project to retain capable employees and provides continuity of employment for the men. However consideration should be given to the costs involved and the availability of suitable labor in the vicinity of the new job. Plant operators are often transferred with their machines. Co-operation between foreman and co-ordination by the overseer or Engineer is necessary to effect transfers with the minimum of inconvenience to the jobs.

•    Newspaper advertisement stating the type of work, location of work and the relevant Award is useful for obtaining skilled personnel.

•    The  job  supervisor  is  responsible  for  ensuring  that  the  methods  of  engaging  labor  are honest and free from favoritism and bias.

•    Special attention must be given to owner-drivers and only bonafide owner-drivers shall be engaged. No truck owned by the foreman or ganger, or in which the foreman or ganger has a direct  or  indirect  financial  interest  is  to  be  hired.  Sub-contract  loading  and  carting  should always be considered as an economic alternative.

•    The engagement of labor for Main Roads works is subject to close scrutiny by interested people and it is therefore essential not only that sound and just methods are followed but that sufficient records of engagements are maintained to enable criticisms and complaints to be fully  investigated .

•    The  help  of  the  Driver  Instructor  should  be  sought  when  engaging  or  transferring  plant operators.

There may be occasions when he is not available and so it is then the job supervisor’s duty to discuss  the  matter  with  the  plant  inspector  and  to  ensure  that  the  operator  holds  a current endorsed license and certificate of competency for the particular machine to be operated.

•    All  new  employees  must  be  told  when  they  are  engaged  that  it  is  a  condition  of  their employment that they comply with all safety regulations, in particular those concerned with wearing of safety clothing.

Any  other  conditions  of  employment  should  also  be  brought  to  the  attention  of  job applicants.

Project Management

Road Construction Organizational Structures

We already discussed about organizing a road construction project and it is next step of the project management under project planing. These steps needed to carry out make project success. The  three  common   organizational structures   used  in   road  construction  projects   to accomplish effective project management are: –

(1)  Where employees are directly responsible to site engineer.

(2)  Where  each  road work gang  is  responsible  to  a  sectional  foreman  (who  is  responsible  to  the  site engineer).

(3)  Where several road work gangs are responsible to one sectional foreman (who is responsible to the site engineer).

A  good  organizational  structures are  essential  in  any  enterprise.  Any  organization  which cannot be charted is likely to be illogical and confusing.

These relationships are depicted below in simple chart forms.

(1)  All employees responsible to Site Engineer.


This organizational structure is suitable for small projects since there is a practical limit to the number of men one foreman can direct and, in the case of unskilled labor, instruct.

This  type  of  organization  is  simple  and  has  the  advantage  of  a  single  line  of  authority understood by all.

(2)  Each gang responsible to a sectional foreman

Here a sectional foreman controls all employees working in his particular field and he is himself responsible to the Site Engineer.
This  organization  is  suitable  for  larger  jobs  where  the  amount  of  work  warrants  a separate  foreman  to  control  each  type  of  work  or  where  the  nature  of  an  activity  requires
specialist skills {e.g. Bitumen gang –  Bitumen  foreman).

(3)  Several gangs responsible to one Site Engineer


This type of organization is used where the work load of the site engineer is such that he needs assistance.

Whether a sectional foreman or a ganger is needed depends on: –

• The time required to adequately supervise the operation.

• The difficulty of controlling the operation.
(e. g. It is very easy for a dozer stockpiling gravel in a pit to dig too deep and include in the stockpile undesirable material from the pit floor. Therefore close and continuous supervision of this operation is required -probably by an experienced pit ganger. )

• The cost of the operation.
(e. g. An earthworks gang would cost far more per day than a stone pitching gang. Therefore the  earthworks  gang should be given greater supervision. )

• Distance between operations. Spread-out operations may require additional gangers foremen.

Good organization is essential for efficient  project management  for it :-

(1)  Encourages  employees  and  staff  to  co-operate  so  as  to  achieve  high  productivity  and quality.

(2)  Gives the highest possible degree of job satisfaction to individual employee groups.

Irrespective  of  the  type  of  structure used, each man must know what he has to do and who his boss is.
Next step of the project planning of project management   in road construction project is, how to allocate peoples for particular job function and how to maximize effectiveness towards project progress.

Project Management

Organizing Construction Project

When all planning of project program is completed, the next step is to organizing construction project . Organizing  involves dividing up the work into various tasks, establishing their relationships and setting up an orderly means of carrying them out. Factors such as emergencies, absenteeism and resignations must all be allowed for it.

The following rules of  Organizing Construction Project should be observed:-

Split the job into various operations. Wherever possible one man or one gang should be given one operation to carry out.

Define the amount and extent of work in each operation to avoid over- lapping of duties.

Allocate duties so that the skills of the employee are best used.

Set out the way in which each operation is to be carried out.

Tasks which are similar should be allocated to the one person so that the job becomes specialized.

Set deadlines for the completion of tasks

Where a fast rate of  road construction work  is required, delegation of much of the detailed supervision of tasks becomes a necessity to allow the job supervisor to concentrate on overall management

Define the amount and extent of authority delegated for each task. This must be made known to all concerned. Note that when authority is delegated, responsibility is not relinquished.

Organize the supervision and quality control of the work so that each operation is controlled in proportion to its importance and cost.

The size and nature of the  road construction project  will determine the actual number and type of personnel needed to manage and control of the project and also will determine the organizational structure to be adopted.