Project Management Module

1. The presentation given during the Construction Expertise 101 workshop was intended to provide an understanding of the following topics:

a. Project Management vis-a-vis other disciplines.

b. Types & Roles of Project Managers.

c. Scope of Project Management service.

d. Art and Science of Project Management.

e. Project Management and legal advisory.

2. Project Management as a discipline is applicable in many fields and industries, like construction, information technology, banking, transportation, telecommunication, manufacturing, or security.

3. For the construction industry, it is about development of the built environment, specifically the management of the value creation process and value management. This is different from facilities management, which is about the management of the created real estate – land, building infrastructure, equipment and fixtures – and how these are being used for the enjoyment of the users and occupants.

4. Traditionally, in the early years of the Singapore construction industry the role of the project manager was played by the lead consultant of the project – the Architect if the project was a building project, or the Engineer if the project is a civil engineering project. However, as projects began to get larger in scale and variety with a corresponding increase in complexity, it became necessary for role and function of project management to be a dedicated discipline in its own right.

5. Project Management services include integration and project scope management, the management of time, cost, quality and resources of the project, project procurement, risk and communication management and the management of project stakeholders (reference PMBOK Guide).

6. In the Singapore construction industry, there are generally three types of Project Managers (“PM”): PM for Developers, PM for Consultants and PM for Contractors. While the role of Project Managers may be similar, they represent different entities with different interests and therefore their scope of Project Management differs. All three types of PM can exist in one same project. Understanding the relationship and role difference and interest between them is important. Among themselves, there is need for collaboration.

7. There are many players from various disciplines involved in the delivery of a project. The architect is the designer of the building structure, providing the creative and aesthetic inputs while the civil and structural (and sometimes geotechnical) engineers and the mechanical and electrical (‘M&E’) engineers provide the design solution to the structural frame and stability and the M&E systems to enable the building facilities to function for comfort and safety. The quantity surveyor will hand the cost and contract aspects. In addition, there are stakeholders representing the owner and user whose requirements and expectations also need to be fulfilled. All the work of these varied disciplines need to be coordinated and the needs and expectations of stakeholders aligned. The role of the project manager is to engender not just coordination. He needs to achieve integration through collaboration, cooperation and coordination. Leadership and teamwork is key.

8. In Singapore, the Society of Project Managers (SPM) was formed in 1995 and is an association of about 450 professionals, with the aim of promoting and developing the science and art of project management. The SPM promotes sound managerial, technical and commercial practices relating to the project management profession with the view of raising the quality of professional practice, and does so by running an accreditation scheme for professional project managers.

9. As the audience was mostly from the legal profession, I shared with them some areas where Project Managers might require legal advice to fulfil their role. These include:

a. Project Risk Management

b. Instruments – contracts, insurances,

c. Strategic planning – legal landscape/condition

d. Organising people & works

e. Procurement – contract forms, provisions for protection & mitigation

f. Contract administrator

g. Defence – legal advice

10. I believe the participants found the sharing beneficial. I was heartened by the wide-ranging questions raised and the discussion that was generated.

11. The Construction Expertise 101 is a good and beneficial series to apprise SCL(S)’s members of the various and varied professional disciplines involved in the construction industry and in project delivery. Each one has his challenges and interests to represent. However, developing a thorough understanding of other professional roles which is important for collaboration in project delivery and for the legal professionals to make good provisions in contract structuring to minimize, if not avoid, conflicts and to engender more collaboration effective and productive project delivery.


Contributed by: Yip Kim Seng, 2nd Vice President, Society of Project Managers


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