Describe the professional and managerial workforce who may be involved in the development of a built facility and describe how their roles may differ according to the procurement system that is used for the procurement of the design and construction of the facility.
The construction industry has different professional and managerial roles that work together to produce the design and construction of a built facility. This essay will aim to describe the different professional and managerial roles then outline and illustrate how these roles are applied to the procurement of the design and construction of a built facility.
The construction industry is one of the biggest industries in the UK. The department for business innovation and skills (BIS) illustrates that this sector covers building infrastructure, the building of public and private housing, the construction of public non-housing such as schools, industrial buildings, commercial buildings and the repair and maintenance of these built facilities. Research suggests that the industry is responsible for ‘81billion of outputs (£203 billion turnover) every year and up to 8% of the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP)’.Morton (2002) puts forward that an industry like construction is very ‘labour intensive in which the skills, commitment and effective organisation of the workforce’ are important in determining whether the industry can produce high quality built facilities at a reasonable price.
From architects to builders, the construction industry has different people working as professionals and managers. Each group has an important role in the process of construction in which a built facility is planned, designed, built, and maintained. To begin with, the planning and designing process is the task of an architect and engineers. Secondly the planning and financial aspect which is the task of a quantity surveyor, thirdly in the construction process, a contractor, project manager and construction manager all have similar but different roles, this depends on the procurement method used and the management agreement with the client.
The professional and managerial workforce in development.
The architect is the grand designer who designs the structure of a building. The architect does not just design; they make sure that the building complies with the regulatory and technical requirements. When designing a built facility, Architects have to focus on the materials that are going to be used, the functionality of the building, the aesthetics and the environmental impact.
The design team also consists of civil and structural engineers as well as mechanical and electrical engineers. Civil and structural engineers produce the scientific structural aspect of the design; their main aim is to create a practical and safe structure. Civil and structural engineers need to decide how to build a solid frame, and determine the location and size of every beam and column in the building; they also have to make efficient use of materials to construct the building in an environmentally sustainable manner.
On the other hand mechanical and electrical engineers are responsible for bringing the building into life, every modern building needs air conditioning, ventilation and lighting. Mechanical and electrical engineers also make sure that the efficient use of energy and water will cover the buildings needs.
The quantity surveyor is also part of the design team, they are seen as the accountants in the construction industry; they manage the cost from initial calculations to final costs. Quantity surveyors are skilled in analysing numbers and assessing risks. Part of their role is to also prepare tenders and contracts to enable the client to know what the costing of the construction will be and also give a detailed cost analysis to the contractors tendering for the project.
The contractor also known as the general contractor is the person that carries out the actual construction on the project. Health and safety executive (HSE) suggests that a contractor’s responsibility is to plan, manage and monitor their own work and that of their workers (subcontractors) and ensure that there are adequate welfare facilities for their workers. Contractors have to also supply materials, tools and equipment such as engineering vehicles, secure the property and make sure that the project is completed on time.
The project manager is responsible for the overall planning of a construction project; they look at the full picture of the projects current and future workload. The project manager also accesses the risks that may occur during the process of the construction project.
The Construction manager is the person that plans, direct and bring together the construction project. Their role includes overseeing the project, obtain permits, help in the acquisition of land and are responsible for handling complaints or problems along the way. Construction managers may in some cases supervise a section of a given project or the entire project depending on how large the project is.
Moreover, it may seem as if project managers and construction managers somewhat have the same duties as contractors but this is not the case because their roles may be similar but vary. In the past when a client wanted to construct a built facility the procurement method used was the traditional method in which a client was limited in choosing a designer and a contractor. Things have now changed; the methods and procedures of construction have expanded. There are two main construction procedures; these are project management and construction management.
In project management the client has contracts with both the project manager (consultant) and the contractor. The client has control of the project and has flexibility in decision making. Having said that in construction management the client has one direct contract with the construction manager and the contractor becomes the subcontractor to the construction manager (consultant).
Both project and construction management are similar in the sense that they both involve three parties, the client, consultant and contractor. The contractor together with many subcontractors will perform the construction work needed for the project whereas the consultant who is either the project manager or construction manager is responsible for developing and interpreting the construction documents and drawings giving to them by the design team, be the key overseer and ensure that the project is completed in time and within the budget.
A major difference with project management and construction management is the contractor selection, under a project management agreement; the client selects the contractor using competitive bidding or negotiates a price with a specific contractor. In this process the consultant can give advice to the client but has no responsibility for this decision. In a construction management agreement the consultant has greater responsibility for selecting the contractor this is because the client has delegated that responsibility to the consultant under a contract.
Procurement methods and the Professional and Managerial roles
In the construction industry, the arrangements for ordering and managing projects are known as procurement methods. Procurement methods are divided into categories, traditional systems and non-traditional systems. A traditional system separates the design and construction stages, these separate stages have the responsibility of independent parties these being the design team and the contractor. It is rather important to identify the main feature of the traditional system which is; in the design development the contractor has no involvement as this is the responsibility of the design team, this is the architect, engineers and quantity surveyor.
The benefits of using a traditional system are that it gives the design team enough time to develop designs fully. Another advantage of the traditional system is the tendering process, it provides a ‘common basis’ for competition which then makes unrealistic bids for example high or low less likely to happen. The documents provided (drawings), contracts and bills of quantities makes it clear to all the contractors what is being tendered for. This process avoids damaging effects such as low quality in the construction project. On the other hand, the tendering process is complex and costly, this is because too many contractors are allowed to bid which makes the total costs involved high.
The traditional system is limited because the contractor has no participation in the design or estimating process. According to Morton and Ross (2008) ‘the contractors knowledge of their methods of working and skills available and the current market conditions for materials’ places the contractor in a better position than the architect or engineer to judge some aspects of the build ability of the design, this knowledge cannot be applied unless the contractor is brought in at an early stage.
Furthermore, in a non-traditional system, the design and construction process is integrated enabling the design team and contractor to work together when the design has been fully developed by the design team. The main non-traditional methods of procurement strategies are management contracting, construction management and design and build. The relationship between the client, contractor and design team is different in contrast to the traditional approach. In management contracting and contract management a manager is appointed to look after the whole project, taking over the role of the architect as the managing contractor is also part of the design team. In this procurement route the contractor can be a manager but in a construction management agreement, the construction manager has a contract with the client and the contractor manages the work on site but is a subcontractor to the construction manager.
The difference between management contracting and contract management is that under management contracting the subcontractors contracts are with the manager who is the general contractor; this allows the project to be on site earlier than most other procurement methods. This is because work on the site can start even though the detailed design work is not completed. However, with contract management the contract is with the client and the manager, this gives the client total flexibility and gives them the chance to assess possible solutions for time, expenditure and quality.
In the Design and Build method, a contractor takes responsibility for both the design and management of the project. In this method the client goes out to tender on the basis of their requirements, at this point there are no designs. The contractors that are interested submit to the client their design, costs and information on the duration of the project. Following that, the client assesses this information and after the tendering process selects the contractor, unlike the traditional system the contractor is then entirely responsible for the completion of the work thus eliminating the role of the architects. It could be argued that the design and construction stage merging together in the non–traditional system, makes it possible for the contractors to bring in their expertise in at an early stage which then reduces construction time and cost.
There are benefits of to the design and build method are, the design and construction are connected leading to quicker construction and lower costs. There is also a direct contract with the client and the contractor; although this is an advantage it can be also seen as a disadvantage as the client does not have an alternative or another person to rely on if anything goes wrong during construction process. Another benefit from the design and build method is that problems during construction or over spending is less likely to occur as experienced design and build contractors will use standard systems that they will understand well.
In conclusion, the professional and managerial roles in the industry all contribute in different ways to the development of a built facility. Architects accredited by Royal institute of British architects (RIBA) had a lead role in projects, they were involved in planning, designing, obtaining planning permission and other duties. Having said that over the years procurement methods have changed making general contractors have a lead role in projects and bringing about the roles of project managers and construction managers. This has given clients more choice when it comes to selecting what system works best for them. Finally, all the professionals and managers skills and attributes do contribute immensely to the development stage of a building, if one of the parties is not present or is not doing their job properly there will be complications. This illustrates that each role is vital and enables a successful plan, design, cost analysis and management strategy.
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