Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

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Executive Summary


Large construction project such as building of airports, rails, road, schools, hospitals, bridges, hotels are being executed around the world each year. The success or otherwise of these projects rest majorly on how the project is been done in terms of scheduling, estimating and construction project management at large. Better project management and technological innovation can improve the chances of the project. Over the past 20 years, productivity has had an annual growth of just 1, which is only around one-third the rate of the world economy and only around one-quarter of the rate in manufacturing.

If things were to continue the way it is without any major changes, the construction industry will fail to deliver housing and infrastructural needs that the world need. In G-20 economies, the gap between what needs to be spent on infrastructure and what is being spent is equivalent to 0.4% of GDP; in the United States, this gap is 0.8%.

Poor productivity in the construction industry today is as a result of a whole bunch of factors which includes but are not limited to; complex regulations in many countries, under investment in technology, lack of qualified personnel, tools and equipment shortage, and government policies amongst others. Exacerbating low productivity in developed countries is the fact that the share of renovation and repairs rather than new builds is rising. This means having to negotiate complex building sites: consider the headaches (and delays) when a public-transit system shuts down for repairs. All the aforementioned makes it top priority to address the topic of managing construction performance and productivity.

Innovations and new technologies can actually make an important contribution to turning this situation around. Gaining recognition in the construction industries are digital technology and smart construction equipment, new lightweight materials, advanced automation, building information modelling, lean technology, sustainable and eco-efficient construction, etc. This advancement in technology and innovations has also resulted in saver ways of doing things.


















Table of Contents

I     Executive Summary

1.0   Class Review

1.1      Class Happenings

1.2      Expectation from the class

2.0   Personal discussion

2.1        Reflections about the importance of new principles and methods

2.2        Relation of the material to past knowledge

2.3        Real World Problems that can be solved

2.4        Best approach that enhanced my understanding

3.0   Special Internet Research

4.0   Key terms and concepts

4.1              The meaning of 10 key terms or concepts related to the lesson

5.0   Favorite Sketch/ Picture

6.0   Supplementary Materials/Observations

List of Figure

Figure 1: Favorite Picture: Continuous Improvement




1.0              Weekly Review

1.1       Class Happenings

General introduction to the course work was done with the requirement for participation through group discussion and journal discussed. Each of the two chapters of the required textbook was discussed. Key learning from group discussion on the assigned textbook question gave more insight on each of the topics through the impacts to the construction industry resulting from the wide spread adoption of BIM, the impacts to the construction industry resulting from the drive toward sustainable and eco-efficient construction, the ways productivity is measured in the construction industry, using scientific methods to measure how well construction is progressing and  Identifying factors leading to high as well as low productivity

1.2              Expectation from the class

Required to research and discuss the open ended question in the textbook which entails building information modeling, smart construction equipment, sustainable and eco-efficient construction, and managerial soft skills in demand. Also, to research on the many ways productivity is measured, describe the types of waste, define and develop a process and measure and improve the process. The other expectation is for writing journal on the first two chapters that was covered.

2.0              Personal discussion

2.1              Reflection on building information modeling (BIM)

This first lecture as opened me up to the BIM and its usefulness in the construction industry. BIM can be described as a tool that enables storage and reuse of information and domain knowledge throughout the lifecycle of the project (Vanlande and Nicolle 2008). Therefore, BIM has a main role of coordinating and integrating the exchange of information and knowledge between different disciplines and phases within the project. The use of BIM in a construction project both has the potential benefit of improving product quality, and enabling more sustainable designs of buildings (Eastman et al. 2011). I think BIM will become a new virtual Research and Development platform, with construction project-teams advanced building models using different data from existing buildings.

2.2              Relation of the material to past knowledge

The course material as shown me that the advancement in innovation and technology has also had a positive effect on the construction industry. I know that technology has advanced a lot where smart phones can now almost do everything you need a laptop to do but I never related this to construction management. Now with the development of smart construction equipment, a construction manager can now view files such as work in progress report, building plans, estimates, schedules and all other data right from his palm on either his mobile device or iPad or tablets at any point in time. A lot of construction management applications can no be accessed remotely from anywhere just by logging into the server and accessing the files. However, a lot of construction managers still prefer the traditional way of doing things.

2.3              Real World Problems that can be solved

Energy wasting, and indiscriminate generation of waste is a major problem which can be solved with eco-efficient or sustainable construction. In green buildings, good thermal insulation of exterior components like the walls, windows, roof helps eliminate thermal bridges and all other energy leaks.

2.4              Best approach that enhanced my understanding

Writing this Journal gave me more opportunity to revise the textbook and reflect on the discussion postings and the class presentation enhanced my understanding of the material.

3.0                Special Internet Research

Successful Construction Project Requires a Team Effort

The construction industry differs from other industries in many ways. To successfully complete major construction projects like bridges, skyscrapers, airports, and schools, it takes many different professionals, government agencies, specialize contractors, citizens interest groups, and businesses. Professionals include architects, engineers, project managers, surveyors, and material & testing agencies. Government agencies include federal highway administration, department of transportation, department of environmental protection, and building department. Specialist contractors are plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, concrete, masonry, welding, and carpentry. Citizen interest group may come from the conservation law foundation, and the historic review commission. Businesses include capital financiers, investors, and material suppliers.

The construction industry is categorized as a service industry and not a manufacturing or product base industry, even though large products are made. To successfully complete construction projects on time, the project leaders must be good communicators, be able to motivate, unite, plan, coordinate, and be proactive in their different roles. Modern construction owners in both the private and public sector, are all focused on team building and partnering on projects, as the benefits of partnering far exceeds the typical confrontational construction approach when doing business.

Because of the way projects are funded; the way technology is integrated into the process; and the way owners, designers, and contractors usually interact with each other; construction projects are categorize into four main categories. These include: residential housing construction, institutional and commercial buildings, specialized industrial construction, infrastructure and heavy construction.  

Single-family house, multi-family dwelling, high-rise apartments, and small condominiums are all considered as residential construction. Financing of these projects is usually done by individual owners, for their personal use, and by developers who are knowledgeable of the construction industry primarily for profit. The designs of residential housing are mostly done by architects and engineers, while the actual construction is achieved by builders and specialist subcontractors for structural, electrical, mechanical, carpentry, masonry, and other necessary trades. In some situations, single homes are designed by the individual homeowner or builder. General economic conditions in the market, tax laws, and financial policies of the government, all significantly affect the residential housing industry. 

Schools, universities, medical clinics, hospitals, courthouse, recreational facilities, sports stadiums, retail chain stores, large shopping centers, warehouses, light manufacturing plants, skyscrapers for offices and hotels, are all considered as institutional and commercial building construction.  These projects are designed by specialty architects and engineers, and are generally built by general contractors. These projects are usually privately funded, but some like schools, court houses and city offices are publicly funded. Institutional and commercial building construction cost and complexity, are much greater than residential housing. There is also less competitors in this market segment. Industrial construction consist of very large projects, which demand a high degree of technological input. These include steel mills, oil refineries, chemical processing plants, automobile production facilities, and nuclear power plants. These facilities are privately funded in the United States, but in developing countries they may be funded through public finances. On these projects designers and builders must work together since the process technology is critical. Most times the facility designer and constructor is the same company.

Bridges, highways, mass transit systems, tunnels, pipelines, drainage systems, dams, and sewage treatment plants are all considered as infrastructure and heavy construction. These projects are publicly owned and they are funded through bonds or taxes. Civil engineers are the principal designers of these project. They are built by heavy construction contractors who has high degree of engineering background and support. These projects usually take a long time to complete, and they utilized many heavy equipment.

4.0              Key Terms and Concepts

4.1       The Meaning of 10 Key Terms or Concepts Related to the Lesson

            The following are the list of terms;

1.      People: Anyone involved with the process.

2.      Methods: How the process is performed and specific requirements for doing it, such as policies, procedures, rules, regulations and laws.

3.      Machines: Any equipment, computers, tools, etc. required to accomplish the job.

4.      Materials: Raw materials, parts, pens, paper, etc. used to produce the final product.

5.      Measurements: Data generated from the process that are used to evaluate its quality.

6.      Environment: The conditions, such as location, time, temperature and culture in which the process operates.

7.      BIM: It is a tool that enables storage and reuse of information and domain knowledge throughout the lifecycle of the project.

8.      Sustainable Construction: refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

9.      Productivity: The quality or state of being able to generate, enhance or bring forth goods and services.

10.  Management: The organization and coordination of the activity of a business in order to achieve defined objectives and goals.

5.0              Favorite Sketch/ Picture

The figure below is my favorite picture. It shows the four fundamental things (A: Act, P: Plan, C: Check and D: Do) to do in order to make progress and improve. It also shows that we need to improve with time.

Act: Standardize or stabilize what worked or go through the process again.

Plan: What is the goal? What is preventing us from achieving the goal? How do we achieve the goal?

Check: Did it work? If yes do it again and if no, do another thing.

Do: What is the 1 step you can take towards the goal now?

Figure 1: Favorite Picture: continuous improvement


6.0              Supplementary Materials/Observation

The textbook discusses a variety of subject matter than can lead to an enhanced productivity.




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