The Power Of Numbers: A new era in construction.

Numbers have life; they're not just symbols on paper.
-Shakuntala Devi

The current trend in industrial construction has been towards increased oversight and reporting. EPCM’s and their clients are requiring increased insight into the day to day progress of their building trades. Who can blame them?Owners want to ensure value for money.

Furthering this goal, more and more contracts are being awarded directly to trades without the typical General Contractor-Sub Trade relationship. Having daily quantity reporting and tracking allows project managers to have near real time data on the progress of a project, providing an opportunity to deal with potential construction bottlenecks.

Over the last few months there have been a lot of debates in LinkedIn posts and PM Groups about this trend. A lot focus on what an irritant and distraction scheduling and tracking are from "real work."

I appreciate that the more specialized trades such as electrical and mechanical have high reporting requirements, highly detailed scopes of work, and often a lack of experience working as direct hires. This can make for a rough transition to this new system of project management.

Civil contractors (Civils), who tend to have experience as a General,  are more likely to have skilled schedulers and project managers. Civils also have an advantage in reporting as their scope is usually made up of a small list of large items.

Time to look at the real cost. The flip side to reporting is that because Electrical and Mechanical trades can have such complicated scopes of work, the risk of completing out of scope, or missing in scope work is very real. As an Electrical contractor, how many meters of out of scope cable can you pull before the cost of daily tracking becomes a moot point? Without an accurate construction schedule how can you estimate the time and cost impacts of completing this extra work?

It's a new age, where advanced project management and quantity reporting software have changed the construction landscape. Contractors need to benefit from these amazing tools. Accurate tracking allows for efficient labour forecasting and capture of delays. 

Utilizing the power of project management techniques, the PMBOK guide, and project management software can save a the building trades millions of dollars over the course of a major project. Accurate quantity tracking ensures that all the work performed in the field is part of the scope or is captured as an extra before it is completed.

It is high time we get out of the dark ages and  take advantage of the skills EPCM’s are using to manage their projects better. It's time to make ourselves more profitable .

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