Friday, July 25, 2014

Construction project stages

Construction is not about physically constructing a structure only but lot of other things involve. Construction in-whole are involving a few stages. Those stages start with setting goal by the owner (consultant/contractor's client) then followed by designing stage. Once the designers completed their design, they must first get approval from the client prior to the call for tender. Designer have to get their design as closed as they can as what had been describe by their client. This is important as to minimised any interruption during construction period due to design change. It is also important for the client in order not to burst their allocated budget for the whole project.

Upon approval of their design then consultants can proceed with the tender stage. This can be done via open tender such as through media advertisement. However some might one to call for invited tender. Invited tender is a bidding process where consultant will look for list of trusted, well reputable and competent contractor to submit their tender price for the purposed construction work.

After submission tender price, together with the client consultant, have to evaluate and come to a conclusion to whom must they award the contract. Another important part of this process is to counter check if client budget is enough. If the price they get burst their budget, the client might want to reduce the scope of work or call for another round of tender. Usually this is termed as re-tender process.


Next before the construction can really start, upon deciding who is the contractor that can do the construction work, client will send an official "Letter of Intent" or most of the time, Client will  issue "Letter of Acceptance" or "Letter of Award". Once the official letter was sent out to the winner of the tender, consultant then need to prepare the contract document for both parties to sign.

Right after the signing process, by procedure wise, only then the awarded contractor can proceed with their physical construction work. While dealing with the construction of the structure, it is vital for every parties to keep their record of everything or important event as accurate, complete and safe as they can. This is because  those entire documents might have legal value in it. Among the records are letter of Award, Construction site diary, construction test and inspection approval, design change record, instruction from the client, records of construction meetings (site meeting, technical meeting and others important meeting or discussion) and may more.

Another important document that have to be kept properly and can be access by all parties involve is the "Master Work Program". This will show, when contractor going to start a certain work and when will they finished. Other than that, by having this master work program, client, consultant and contractor can monitor their construction health. Construction health is whether the construction work is ahead of schedule, on time or delayed. If the progress of the construction work shows delay, this is where all parties need to know why, and how to speed-up the progress or client might need to revised the construction completion date by granting Extension of Time base on valid reason as mentioned in the contract to the contractor. However if the records shows that reasons behind the delay is due to contractor negligence, client can by virtue of the signed contract and by any applicable law, penalised the contractor. Commonly happened is contractor being slap with the "Liquidated and Ascertained Damages (L&AD)" as allow in the contract.


Upon completion of all of the construction scope of work and if the client satisfied with the end product, Client then will issue a letter of completion to contractor. This letter normally termed as "Certificate of Practical completion (CPC)". As mentioned earlier, "construction in whole involving a few stages", then bare in-mind, the issuance of CPC does not meant that the whole construction is over. Upon issuance of the CPC, another stage that will follow is the "post-construction" stage. This is a stage where all constructed structure being put into real test. The in-operation of the structure and all other components reassemble a complete structure will reveal all defects to the structure have. Defects in construction simply mean works that is done but does not functioning well. When this happened, client together with their consultant need to identify if is a defect due to contractor works or not. If it the answer is "yes", then client can request the contractor to rectify the defects as long as the defect occurred within the defect liability period. Inspection on the defect must be performed in the present of client, consultant and contractor and list of defects must be served officially to the contractor.

When the defect liability period is over, client has to close the construction account which normally termed as "closing of project account". In this stage client will released whatever money due to their contractor and consultants or recouped back whatever amount due to them from the contractor or consultants.

The next and final stage of the whole construction project is the post mortem by client them self. By performing this stage, client can evaluate, in overall, the cost, the construction period, functionality of the project and whether or not the project achieved their earlier goal. The result of the post-mortem will provide a better understanding and can be incorporated into the new project that they wish or planned to do.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Construction and global warming

Construction is one of the industries that contribute to global warming. Why is so? . Let we take a look into what is global warming.

Global warming in actual fact is due to green house effect. Green house effect happened because there increased in greenhouse gases(GHG) concentration in our atmosphere. Some of the green house gases are Carbon dioxide (CO2), Nitrous oxide or Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), Ozone(O3), Methane(CH4) and other harmful gases which have a capability to trap heat from being radiated out from our atmosphere. Some of this green house gases have the ability to exist in our atmosphere more that 100 years.

So how does our construction industries become one of the contributor to this global issue? Before we answer this question, it is best to know activities that produce these greenhouse gases(GHG). CO2 usually being produce as one of the end product from the burning of fossil fuel, where as CFC or to be more accurate Tetrachloroethene is widely used as dry cleaning agent. May be some of the cleaning agent that we used contained CFC and we applied it in our construction method.

Another cause for the increase of CO2 in our atmosphere is deforestation. As we know,  plant need CO2 to enable them to generate their food. Hence by reducing the number of plants through deforestation activities will reduce the process of carbon sink. Construction industries especially the development of area for habitation involved land clearing(Deforestation) in a big scale.

Know, how do we relate this global warming issue with our construction industries? First what are some of the activities that contribute to the GHG? As mention earlier, Burning of fossil fuels and deforestation playing a significant role in increasing the CO2 concentration in our atmosphere. Years ago,  before laws and regulation was implemented due to the alarming issue of this global warming, Construction industries tend to cleared their debris by method of open burning. It might be the cheapest solution to cleared up all the debris compare to utilised the service from any waste treatment agency which having expertise in dealing with the controlled burning technology. However method of uncontrolled open burning can cause even more CO2 being released into our atmosphere. Therefore in construction industries this method must not being used as a way of debris disposal. Further to this, the other impact to the owner of the construction project is being at risk of being penalised for the breach of laws and regulation.

Related act.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Construction project manager roles and responsibility

Construction work, regardless any type of construction, a contractor will always need a competent Project manager. A person  that had been engaged to become a project manager must be able to handle these scope of work.

  1. Dealing with, client, consultants, local authority, supplier, sub contractor and local residence.
  2. Preparing a master work program
  3. keep and maintained all of important activities through the project.
  4. Attend any meetings that required his input. eg. Site meeting, Claim meeting, coordination meeting.
  5. Monitoring the overall progress to ensure timely completion of a project.
  6. Prepare weekly and monthly report.
  7. Monitoring and ensure that the construction work meet all the Quality requirement.
  8. Ensure that the end product is as per construction drawing.
  9. Dealt with any design change.
  10. Ensure that accommodation, transport and site office for client and consultant is always well equipped and maintained
  11. Assessing the value of the work done and submit the progress claim.
  12. Preparing application of Extension of time if any is required.
  13. Dealt with any matter arise with regards to the construction work.
  14. Dealt with any requirement and  documentation for the purpose of closing the project upon completion. 

In the event that there is any dispute, A Project Manager need to know what is in the contract, what can and what are allowed. Some of the construction work ended up in arbitration or in court, then the knowledge of contract act and tort law might be helpful.