Civil Engineering has many facets, including but not limited to the design, construction, and maintenance of structures and infrastructures. Working in the industry is often a dangerous but worthwhile endeavor and requires a keen aptitude for project management. While production in most industries is a routine matter, civil engineers must consider each project they take on in its own particular light. This essentially means that where most disciplines allow one design for any number of products, the field of civil engineering must make a specific design for a specific project. This creates an ever changing role for project managers in the field of civil engineering.
Since projects are fit to address a specific need, certain management techniques are required in order to ensure their success. Overall, their components can be broken down into three categories.
Decisions pertain to overall management decisions about the progression of the project and its components. Tasks involve the actual work to be done to complete the project. Finally, resources relates itself with the management of resources required to effect completion.
Dealing with Clients
In setting out to accomplish a project, a professional rapport between the client and project manager should be prioritized. It is necessary to maintain proper communication to ensure that the project is going accordingly. A project manager should take measures to ensure that they understand what their client expects and keep them informed on what they can deliver in accordance with this. As many clients are not savvy in what industrial civil engineering comprises, it is vital that project managers educate them on the important processes that will be undertaken so that everyone is on the same page.
Another important management decision is how the project will actually progress, often referred to as the “phasing” of the project. This is important to allow the project manager enough independence to make decisions when need be, while still ensuring the client’s needs are met.
Generally, there are three basic ways a project can be phased.
Linear phasing is best used when uncertainty is at a minimum and involves a very straightforward approach to phasing. Cyclical phasing is best used with research and development projects and involves a guess and check sort of approach to phasing. Parallel phasing involves the sectioning out of the project into multiple parts, being handled simultaneously. Each of these has its own benefits and are generally used for specific purposes.
Finally, once a project is given its phases, a plan of attack is developed to tackle the project. The preliminary work plan is often the most important and most fleshed out, with preceding work plans more so building upon this initial one. This plan essentially details the tasks themselves, the personnel in charge of handling them, and the location and time when they will be taken on. There are a great variety of ways work plans can be devised, from customized diagrams, to flow charts, and even graphs, but much of this is left to personal taste.
Project Management is essential in the field of civil engineering, where the slightest mishap can cause far reaching consequences. Taking these principles and applying them accordingly, you can be sure to achieve success in the industry.
This is a guest post submitted by Ally Silva. Ally works with AMG, Inc., a full-service engineering consulting firm that supports clients in the agricultural commodities, food/beverage, and biotechnology industries. AMG supports clients with everything from piping engineering design to foundation design, utilizing a talented staff that includes industry-tested structural engineers. Ally prides herself on sharing valuable insight regarding the engineering services industry and is happy to contribute!