What is Project Management?

The co-ordination of construction projects requires knowledge of modern management as well as an understanding of the design and construction process. Construction projects have a specific set of objectives and constraints such as a required time frame for completion. Project management is the art of directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout a project by using modern management techniques to achieve predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time, quality and participation satisfaction.

Specifically, project management in construction encompasses a set of objectives which may be accomplished by implementing a series of operations subject to resource constraints. There are potential conflicts between the stated objectives with regard to scope, cost, time and quality, and the constraints imposed on human material and financial resources. These conflicts should be resolved at the onset of a project by making the necessary tradeoffs or creating new alternatives.


Subsequently, the functions of project management for construction generally include the following:

1. Specification of project objectives and plans including delineation of scope, budgeting, scheduling, setting performance requirements, and selecting project participants.

2. Maximization of efficient resource utilization through procurement of labor, materials and equipment according to the prescribed schedule and plan.

3. Implementation of various operations through proper coordination and control of planning, design, estimating, contracting and construction in the entire process.

4. Development of effective communications and mechanisms for resolving conflicts among the various participants.

In order to gain time, some homeowners are willing to forego a thorough planning and feasibility study so as to proceed on a project with inadequate definition of the project scope. Invariably, subsequent changes in project scope will increase construction costs; however, enjoyment derived from early site construction often justifies the increase in construction costs. Generally, if the homeowner can derive reasonable enjoyment from the early completion of a project, the project is considered a success even if construction costs far exceed the estimate based on an inadequate scope definition. This attitude may be attributed in large part to the uncertainties inherent in construction projects. It is difficult to argue that enjoyment might be even higher if construction costs could be reduced without increasing the project duration.


Nine distinct areas requiring project manager knowledge and attention:

1. Project integration management to ensure that the various project elements are effectively coordinated.

2. Project scope management to ensure that all the work required (and only the required work) is included.

3. Project time management to provide an effective project schedule.

4. Project cost management to identify needed resources and maintain budget control.

5. Project quality management to ensure functional requirements are met.

6. Project human resource management to development and effectively employ project personnel.

7. Project communications management to ensure effective internal and external communications.

8. Project risk management to analyze and mitigate potential risks.

9. Project procurement management to obtain necessary resources from external sources. These nine areas form the basis of the Project Management Institute's certification program for project managers in any industry.

In conclusion, the homeowner holds the key to influence the construction costs of a project because any decision made at the beginning stage of a project life cycle has far greater influence than those made at later stages. Moreover, the design and construction decisions will influence the costs and, in many cases, the enjoyment over the lifetime of use. Therefore, a homeowner should obtain the expertise of professionals to provide adequate planning and feasibility studies.

Many homeowners do not have construction management capability, and they should consider the establishment of a relationship with an outside consultant in order to respond quickly to requests.


What is a landscape design manager?

Landscape design is an independent profession and a design and art tradition, combining nature and architecture. In contemporary practice landscape design bridges the gap between landscape architecture and garden design.

Landscape designers draw plans using LandCAD or by hand drawing. They contract installation staff to put in garden beds and build structures. Landscape designers may meet clients on-site to discuss the requirements of the space. To keep the business profitable, they must create project estimates and maintain budgets.

Landscape designers use the environment as their canvas, typically beginning with a blank slate and ending with a functional and beautiful outdoor space for people to enjoy.

Service is also important, as landscape designers work closely with clients to develope a design plan specific to that person's wants and needs. Once specific landscape elements are selected, drawing up a plan can be a snap using CAD (computer-aided design) software (although the traditional method of sketching designs with pencil and paper works just as well).


Typical work activities

The role of a landscape designer commonly includes some or all of the following:

• overseeing the design of a variety of projects, including urban regeneration schemes, pedestrian schemes, road or retail schemes, and maintaining the character of sites of natural beauty

• establishing general landscape requirements with clients

• conducting preliminary studies of the site (including contours, soil, ecology, buildings, roads)

• assessing a site's potential to meet the client's specifications

• carrying out environmental impact assessments

• seeking and taking into account the views of local residents, potential users, and parties with a vested interest in the project

• accurately preparing and presenting detailed plans and working drawings, including applications, construction details and specifications for the project using computer-aided design (CAD) packages or similar design software

• presenting proposals to clients, dealing with enquiries and negotiating any amendments to the final design

• matching the client's wishes with your knowledge of what will work best;

• contacting and coordinating manufacturers and suppliers

• putting work out to tender, selecting a contractor and manager (mainly for larger projects), and leading cross-functional teams