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Delivering successful procurement

The progression of a proposed project from initial idea to final building usually involves activities which are unique to the building procurement process and vital to project success, but are infrequently encountered in the operations of the client’s business.

There are a range of options for procuring building projects available to meet the many and varied needs of clients.

The decision as to what procurement system to use should be made as early as possible in the project, and be underpinned by the client’s business case. The successful realisation of any new project is the project’s business case, which has considered how the project fits within the client’s overall business strategy. Once the decision to construct a new building has been made by the client, the project process of initiation and management must be commenced.

The definition of the project is a process that must be completed immediately.

This process will include identifying the project function and an outline of the time, cost and performance constraints established in the business plan. This sets the parameters within which the project must be managed, and influences the resources that must be obtained, monitored and controlled and the quality that must be assured if the client’s needs are to be satisfactorily met.

Deciding what method to use for a given project is a difficult and challenging task as a client’s objectives and priorities need to balance with the chosen procurement route so as to improve the prospect of the project being successful. The decision as to what procurement system to use should be made as early as possible in the project, and be underpinned by the client’s business case.

The subsequent management of project activities is a complex and demanding process involving a wide range of professionals and specialists. Few clients are sufficiently experienced to manage the construction process, which is where the construction project manager comes in to do so on the client’s behalf. The construction project manager is either employed within the client’s business or more typically appointed for the duration of the scheme.

Construction projects do not provide the luxury to the client of a trial run or physical glimpse of the end product – procurement is the starting point of bringing the project from conception to reality.

Your task

The appointment of the project manager is seen as major decision by the client. Have you seen a typical schedule of services undertaken on a project by a project manager? What did it contain?

If you have no idea at all, have a read of pages 20-21 of: Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ ‘Appointing a Project Manager’ (1st edition)’ and then share your thoughts as to whether it was what you expected.


RICS (2013) ‘Appointing a Project Manager’ [online]. available from https://www.rics.org/uk/upholding-professional-standards/sector-standards/construction/appointing-a-project-manager/ [18 February 2019]

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This article is from the free online course:

Construction Project Management: An Introduction

Coventry University