Project Management - Q3 - Sep 2018

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Richard White Event Director, Project Challenge

Facing project challenges

Accountable project managers are needed for challenges in 2019 Rebuilding the Houses of Parliament is arguably one of the biggest and most complex projects ongoing in the UK today. If the Palace of Westminster were social housing, it would have been condemned long ago due to asbestos, crumbling infrastructure, subsidence and animal infestations, plus a hundred other issues. But, as a UNESCO world heritage site, central to the UK’s democracy and tourism industry, this enormous building must be renewed brick by brick – all while the operations of government continue, somehow, in the background. Added to this is renewed talk of creating a pedestrianised zone near the building to prevent terror attacks. David Hemming, Parliament’s Deputy Managing Director of Strategic Estates, is part of the team leading the painstaking and undoubtedly expensive renewal job. But while politicians, architects and advisors chew over this thorny issue, projects of all descriptions face their own sets of challenges. Across the UK, organisations are implementing IT updates, employee benefits packages, product launches and office relocations. Many projects have an international profile, extended timelines, or incorporate disparate teams that must work together seamlessly to hit their objectives. This can prove difficult at a time when the world is facing unprecedented political and socio-economic turbulence. Brexit, the Trump effect, new tariffs, currency fluctuations and freak weather events are all rocking the project management environment in 2018. Projects continue to be challenging and the expectations of board-level directors are as high as ever. Project management is at a crossroads in 2018. The task of fulfilling objectives has never been more complicated, yet transparency and reporting standards mean that project, programme and portfolio managers are accountable from launch to completion. Projects with a lack of preparation will find they are quickly exposed. Projects that are organised and methodical will hit deadlines and deliver on budget.

About Project Challenge David Hemming will reveal how he plans to rebuild the Houses of Parliament in a keynote presentation at Project Challenge, the UK’s biggest project management show, taking place at London Olympia on 9-10 October. Project Challenge, which is free to attend, offers 40 seminars on different aspects of the conundrum, ranging from change management to training, via agile, resource management, benefits and PMO development. In short, everything project managers need to deliver in a changeable world. There are also more than 50 exhibiting organisations on hand to introduce the latest developments in project management products and services, including software, training and literature. Project Challenge is the best place to discover how you can guide projects in 2018. For more info, visit:, or call: 01256 762460

Construction project management needs uniformity in international standards


onstruction workloads in the UK are continuing to rise. Project management in this area not only occupies a central role in development and driving successful completion of projects, but recent constructionrelated tragedies have also highlighted the need for better management of both new-build and maintenance schemes. While there are many other challenges in construction, adoption of consistent and global construction standards would allow better management of projects, and would also give the UK a boost in attracting investment into vitally needed infrastructure projects. Reducing risk At present, there is a lack of uniformity in how construction and infrastructure projects and costs are measured and reported around the world, which can provide risks. Ultimately, better management of schemes will depend on better decision-making regarding the complex tradeoffs between design, cost, quality and whole life considerations. In order for this to occur, these decisions depend upon better information and the need for standards to collect and compare data. Common, international standards make decisionmaking simpler The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) set standards for its professionals in the industry, and chartered quantity surveyors – experts in the financial management of construction – commit to working to the best practice through RICS standards. They are often responsible for managing construction projects, and they also ensure the economic optimisation of construction projects through a process of prediction, control and challenge. As construction becomes more global, both in terms of funding and implementation, international learning through common international standards becomes

organisations developing and implementing international standards for benchmarking, measuring and reporting construction project cost.

Alan Muse Global Director of the Built Environment, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

more important and ensures better information for investment decisions. Clear standards against which professionals can perform their duties, eliminate ambiguity and promote best practice. They also help to ensure clients receive objective advice, delivered in a professional manner, with a consistent approach, and they provide clients with benchmarks by which to gauge services when employing professionals. Standards in construction RICS chartered quantity surveyors adhere to the RICS ‘Black Book’. It promotes best practice and guarantees clients receive objective advice with a consistent approach. . Aside from the ‘Black Book’, professionals should also adopt and be aware of International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS). ICMS is a high-level international standard that aims to provide greater global consistency in the classification, definition, measurement, analysis and presentation of construction costs at a project, regional, state or national/ international level. The standard has already been adopted by many leading global construction consultancies including Arup, Arcadis and Turner & Townsend. The standard has been written by a group of independent industry experts, and the International Construction Measurement Standards Coalition (ICMSC) is a growing group of more than 40 global professional

Why adopt international standards? The sector’s growth means there is an increasing need for effective project management. That growth fuels the need for more trusted, skilled and regulated professionals and the accurate reporting of costs. This is critical not only in terms of attracting investors, but also for assessing the economic viability of projects and maximising their impact. Widespread adoption of ICMS in the construction market here could provide the UK with a real competitive advantage and also provides global consistency in reporting; the kind of consistency that inward investors increasingly demand, and government projects need. Equally, project managers in construction need a strong understanding that ethical behaviour leads to better business outcomes. Construction projects involve large financial transactions and a professional approach is required to objectively assess and decide the right course of action. International Ethics Standards (IES) provides best practice and is clear and very transparent about what professional ethics should be. To succeed in project management, these skills and behaviours need to be augmented with high-quality soft skills in communication, negotiation and motivation. Bringing all this together results in a chartered project management surveyor who can add value and allow more certainty and transparency in the construction process. This will bring further investment to an industry that needs to deliver a huge programme of work if societies are going to benefit from modern, reliable and sustainable housing and infrastructure. See more at

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