Project Management for Construction

Fundamental Concepts for Owners, Engineers, Architects and Builders

  1. The_Owners'_Perspective
  2. Organizing_For_Project_Management
  3. The_Design_And_Construction_Process
  4. Labor,_Material,_And_Equipment_Utilization
  5. Cost_Estimation
  6. Economic_Evaluation_of_Facility_Investments
  7. Financing_of_Constructed_Facilities
  8. Construction_Pricing_and_Conctracting
  9. Construction_Planning
  10. Fundamental_Scheduling_Procedures
  11. Advanced_Scheduling_Techniques
  12. Cost_Control,_Monitoring,_and_Accounting
  13. Quality_Control_and_Safety_During_Construction
  14. Organization_and_Use_of_Project_Information

by Chris Hendrickson, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA l52l3 June 28, 1999 Copyright C. Hendrickson 1998

First Edition originally printed by Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-731266-0, 1989 with co-author Tung Au.

Second Edition prepared for world wide web publication in 2000.


This book is provided on the worldwide web as a service to the community of practitioners and students. Reproduction for educational purposes is permitted with appropriate citation. If you find this work helpful or have suggestions for additions or corrections, please email Chris Hendrickson: A hardcopy Instructor's Manual with problem solutions is available for a fee of $ 10 to cover reproduction, mailing and handling. Send a check made out to Carnegie Mellon University to Ms. Patty Langer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

This book develops a specific viewpoint in discussing the participants, the processes and the techniques of project management for construction. This viewpoint is that of owners who desire completion of projects in a timely, cost effective fashion. Some profound implications for the objectives and methods of project management result from this perspective:

  • The "life cycle" of costs and benefits from initial planning through operation and disposal of a facility are relevant to decision making. An owner is concerned with a project from the cradle to the grave. Construction costs represent only one portion of the overall life cycle costs.
  • Optimizing performance at one stage of the process may not be beneficial overall if additional costs or delays occur elsewhere. For example, saving money on the design process will be a false economy if the result is excess construction costs.
  • Fragmentation of project management among different specialists may be necessary, but good communication and coordination among the participants is essential to accomplish the overall goals of the project. New information technologies can be instrumental in this process, especially the Internet and specialized Extranets.
  • Productivity improvements are always of importance and value. As a result, introducing new materials and automated construction processes is always desirable as long as they are less expensive and are consistent with desired performance.
  • Quality of work and performance are critically important to the success of a project since it is the owner who will have to live with the results.

In essence, adopting the viewpoint of the owner focuses attention on the cost effectiveness of facility construction rather than competitive provision of services by the various participants.

While this book is devoted to a particular viewpoint with respect to project management for construction, it is not solely intended for owners and their direct representatives. By understanding the entire process, all participants can respond more effectively to the owner's needs in their own work, in marketing their services, and in communicating with other participants. In addition, the specific techniques and tools discussed in this book (such as economic evaluation, scheduling, management information systems, etc.) can be readily applied to any portion of the process.

As a result of the focus on the effective management of entire projects, a number of novel organizational approaches and techniques become of interest. First and foremost is the incentive to replace confrontation and adversarial relationships with a spirit of joint endeavor, partnership and accomplishment. For example, we discuss the appropriate means to evaluate risks and the appropriate participants to assume the unavoidable risks associated with constructed facilities. Scheduling, communication of data, and quality assurance have particular significance from the viewpoint of an owner, but not necessarily for individual participants. The use of computer-based technology and automation also provides opportunities for increased productivity in the process. Presenting such modern management options in a unified fashion is a major objective of this book.

The unified viewpoint of the entire process of project management in this book differs from nearly all other literature on the subject. Most textbooks in the area treat special problems, such as cost estimating, from the viewpoint of particular participants such as construction managers or contractors. This literature reflects the fragmentation of the construction process among different organizations and professionals. Even within a single profession such as civil engineering, there are quite distinct groups of specialists in planning, design, management, construction and other sub-specialties. Fragmentation of interest and attention also exists in nearly all educational programs. While specialty knowledge may be essential to accomplish particular tasks, participants in the process should also understand the context and role of their special tasks.

This book is intended primarily as a text for advanced undergraduates, beginning graduate students or professionals continuing their education in engineering, construction, architecture or facilities management. Examples and discussion are chosen to remind readers that project management is a challenging, dynamic and exciting enterprise and not just a record of past practices. It should also be useful to professionals who wish an up-to-date reference on project management.

Chapters 1 to 3 present an overview of the construction management and design process which should be of interest to anyone engaged in project management for construction. One need not have detailed knowledge about individual tasks or techniques for this part. Individuals can read these chapters and understand the basic philosophy and principles without further elaboration.

Chapters 4 through 14 describe specific functions and techniques useful in the process of project management. This part presents techniques and requirements during project planning, including risk assessment, cost estimation, forecasting and economic evaluation. It is during this planning and design phase in which major cost savings may be obtained during the eventual construction and operation phases. It also addresses programming and financing issues, such as contracting and bidding for services, financing, organizing communication and insuring effective use of information. It further discusses techniques for control of time, cost and quality during the construction phase. Beginning courses in engineering economics (including cash flow analysis and discounting), use of computers, probability and statistics would be useful. Furthermore, access to a personal computer with spreadsheet or equation solving software would be helpful for readers attempting some of the problems in Chapters 4 to 14. Numerous software programs could be used for this purpose, including both spreadsheet and equation solving programs. Problems in some chapters could also be done on any number of existing software packages for information management and project scheduling. However, the use of personal computers in this fashion is not required in following the text material. Each instructor may exercise discretion in omitting some of the material in these chapters if they are redundant with other classes or too advanced for students in his or her own class.

It is our hope that students beginning their career in project management for construction will be prepared to adopt the integrated approach emphasized in this book. Furthermore, experienced professionals in various fields may discover in this book some surprises that even they have not anticipated. High level decision makers in owner organizations who are not directly involved in the project management process may find the basic philosophy and principles of interest, especially in Chapters 1 through 3, as owners must invariably pay for constructed facilities, for better or worse. If the book can fulfill even a small part of its promises to influence the future of project management for construction, our efforts will have been amply rewarded.

Numerous individuals helped with the preparation of the first and second editions of this book. In particular, we with is to acknowledge William J. Hall, Paul Christiano, Steven Fenves, Daniel Rehak, Debbie Scappatura, and Shirley Knapp. Iavor Kostov, Tommy Hendrickson and Curt Yeske were instrumental in developing the web version of this book. This book also reflects the contributions of numerous students and colleagues in industry who have challenged us with problems and shared their own ideas and experience over many years. We are grateful to all of these individuals.

Some material in this book has been taken from several papers authored by us and published by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Materials taken from other sources are acknowledged in footnotes, tables or figures. We gratefully acknowledge the permissions given to us by these individuals, publishers and organizations.

A series of photographs depicting various stages of construction of the PPG building in Pittsburgh, PA is inserted in sequence between chapters. We wish to thank PPG Industries for its cooperation in providing these photographs.

Chris Hendrickson and Tung Au