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What Project Management can do for small buisness and individual Projects

What Project Management Can Do For Small Business and Individual Projects

 

There's been a lot of discussion about the importance of project managers. Not necessarily excellent project managers; only project managers as a whole. Some organizations, big or small, really need them. However, medium-size businesses or one-person-shows might need a project manager for single projects, and it's always ideal for business owners to know which skill-sets help synchronize project tasks and how to keep staff members updated and motivated. Individual projects also benefit from effective Project Management, especially when there are multiple activities or personnel involved.

 

 

How Expert PM's Approach New Activities

 

Projects typically flop without excellent communications strategies. In fact it can be said that all successful projects are based on strong and clear communications. Status reports and managing resources can be invaluable because they monitor fast-approaching processes, foresee activity elements and assess task risks. A good project manager records everything, and that means every single thing.

 

A project's assumption must also be clearly laid down in a well-written plan that precisely details the scope of work. A detailed Scope of Works is the foundation on which all projects are built and the clearer the Scope of Works is, the more accurate the cost and timescale forecasts will be. These plans schedule timescales for each task within the project, and can thus identify missing or underestimated tasks. Scope of work even supplies a record of how long identical work tasks take to execute, which is fantastic information when it comes to planning work for new projects.

 

Likewise, it’s the project manager's job to gaze ahead at possible risks that will make the project exceed budget or miss due dates. For that reason, transparency is vital. Initially the Project Manager will ensure that the clients brief is detailed and fully understood. Time spent at this initial stage is never wasted. A project manager will motivate the employees who handle projects, requiring group members to convey reasonable setbacks, which can impair essential steps in the working process. Recognizing these issues ahead of time makes it much easier to predict how and when a project might go off track.

 

Lastly, every project requires a leader who personalizes and encourages activities. An effective project manager will reinforce every task and try to keep everybody on the team in-sync. Balancing timetables, forming target dates, and releasing work is fundamental, but a project manager also strengthens the process, the crew, and even the customer by delivering real quality to a project, since it’s he or she that will have the ability to foresee problems or addresses concerns that each person may have.

 

In the case of the client who also has the desire to manage their own project, there is a clear motivational aspect and drive to succeed which, combined with the proper management tools can ensure that the non-professional can be equally effective as the professional. The interactive website www.theprojectmaster.com is specifically written to provide all the tools and information needed to manage a project and takes you, step by step through the process of defining the project, to create a Scope of Works, which becomes the foundation for your project and which all quotes, costings, schedules and timescales are based on. Once you have created the Scope of Works, all other Project Management disciplines (Tender Analysis,  Program of Works, Payment Schedules, Variation Orders etc ), fall naturally in to place. Of course, all the templates are included for you to use, and all are precisely tailored to your individual project.

The cost of this ( the two packages are priced at £49 and £99 respectively), is such that even professional Project Managers are using the program to save time and enable the management of several projects together.

 

 

 

 

 

Project Management As a Career Choice

 

Project management is a skill-set in high demand, which businesses are prepared to compensate well for. A simple search for project management work on the Internet reveals white-collar positions delivering around £45,000 and upwards a year. Yet, this is just an approximate figure, as wages will fluctuate from industry to industry, from occupation to occupation and from country to country. However, self-employed project managers have the option to bargain their fees ahead of time.

 

 

PM Fast Facts

 

ü  Google receives over thirty-million “project management” hits each year.

 

ü  Over two thousand online universities around the planet offer educational programs in project management.

 

ü  IBM’s, HP’s and Oracle’s project management divisions post revenues exceeding $1 billion each year.

 

Bullet number two mentions that over two thousand accredited PM education programs exist online.  Although this is a great convenience for folks who want to master project management science from the comfort of their homes, shuffling through hundreds of web-based curricula can be a real hassle.

 

Fortunately, there are companies like the infamous, web-based, search engine, Degree Jungle, that help students connect to the Internet-based, project management training they're looking for. The following list of accredited PM education programs are at the top of Degree Jungle’s list.

 

Association for Project Management ( APM ) provides training and qualifications from Introductory Certificate to Project Professional level. Campaigning to become chartered.

 

Project Management Institute ( PMI ) provides training and qualifications from Associate level to Certified Project Professional

 

APMG International provides qualifications and certifications on behalf of the UK Cabinet Office, using the PRINCE 2 method.

 

 

Walden University was founded to help working adults earn degrees in a flexible format. Located in Minneapolis, MN., this web-based institution offers accredited certificates and master’s degrees in applied project management.

 

 

Marylhurst University offers certificates and bachelor's degrees in business management that includes a project management option.

 

 

Boston University gives students the opportunity to study alongside motivated professionals from the comfort of their homes while earning a certificate in project management.  The school also offers a Master of Science Degree in IT Project Management.

 

 

American InterContinental University is a web-based school that delivers both a Bachelor’s (BBA) and Master’s degrees MBA in Business with a concentration in Project Management.

 

 

Capella University has students enrolled in the six continents, earning Bachelor of Science (BS) Project Management and Master of Science (MS) degrees in IT Project Management

5 warning signs that your project may be in trouble

Regardless of the scale of your project, it is vital that you maintain control of the scope and progress of the work and of course, the costs. Without a robust control system in place you could find that you are effectively letting your builder control the work and even the costs, which could leave you seriously out of pocket. These warning signs are a reliable indicator that your project may not be going quite as well as it could. 1. Your builder keeps asking you for money.  This should not happen. When you start any project there should be a properly written Payment Schedule which is linked to the progress of the work, so that you are never paying for work that has not been done yet. Even if you agree to pay something up front - perhaps for materials or a mobilisation ...

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How safe is your Home Extension Project from Spiralling costs?

If you are planning, or have started a Home Extension or Refurbishment project, this is a question you really should be asking. Almost everyone has a budget, a sum of money that they can spend and for most people this is more or less fixed. Any significant increase in costs will have a serious effect on the project , maybe even meaning it cannot be finished. Almost all construction projects cost more than expected. This is true whether it is the new runway at Heathrow or your new kitchen extension. That is why a sensible person will always have a contingency fund, to cover those costs which could not have been forseen. But what about the main budget? How safe is that? Because if that is not as well controlled as it should be, you better have a very large contingency fund, or ver ...

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Project Management for Home Owners & Selfbuilders

For self builders or home owners, planning to spend large sums of money on their property, it is vitally important to maximise the value received from that expenditure. I know that many of you do a lot of research into what materials to use, how to use technology to minimise future expense, how to “ future proof “ your home. You look at getting the best prices for all of the materials you will be sourcing. You look at the sanitaryware, the tiles, kitchen and appliances. You will have chosen the form of heating, the windows and doors, the “ intelligent home “ systems and all of the myriad  things that you will be spending your hard earned on, to create your home. All valuable and potential money savers or value enhancers. However there is one area whi ...

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New homes or old - which is better

I was in a new build home a little while ago and was impressed with the space, light and general quality of the build. Good brickwork, well fitted out with top notch flooring, underfloor heating, good bathrooms and kitchen. This was a large detached that had been built on a small development and was at the higher end of the price scale. So all good - or is it? One thing I noticed was that many of the screw heads had popped in the downstairs ceilings. To explain - it is normal nowadays to fix the plasterboard using screws, rather than nails. This is good, because it is a more reliable and controlled method, which ensures a stronger hold. However when people walked across the floor upstairs, the floor moved slightly and flexed,  caused the plaster to pop off the screw heads M ...

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Local pubs and beer

I wrote an email to my local MP the other day, which is a first for me. I am a bit of a cynic where politics are concerned, so although I have views, I don't tend to vote in elections any more, mainly because it seems that there is little real choice nowadays, with all the major parties trying to take the " middle ground ". Anyway, thats enough about politics. I am talking about something much more important - I am talking about beer. Specifically I am talking about real beer, traditional British beer, the stuff that is made by small local breweries across the land, in casks, looked after by knowledgeable publicans and served via hand pumps. Also known as ale, it is part of our heritage, our culture and is found nowhere else in the world. There was a time, back in ...

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Conversation with Samuel - James Wilson

  This is a different type of blog for me, as it is actually a conversation I had with Samuel-James Wilson who I first met on Twitter some months ago. I first noticed Sam because he was Tweeting about a subject close to my heart – Brickwork. A couple of clicks later and I was reading Sams own Blog on www.Apprentice-Ship.com which I would recommend to anyone interested in our built environment.   “Sam, great to be able to have this chat today. I am really looking forward to sharing your insights with the readers.” First, tell us a little about your background, where you were brought up etc. It all began when I was 15. Myself and school never really had a great relationship, I liked being the center of attention and I only ...

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The Project Master

Theprojectmaster.com was born out of years of seeing construction projects that did not quite deliver what they should have, either for the client or, in many cases, the builder. I could see the many and varied reasons why, yet there seemed to be no obvious way to avoid the issues. There is a fairly common list of things that, in themselves seem minor and relatively unimportant, yet mount up into what can become major problems. I have covered some of these in previous blogs.  All construction projects start well enough. There is always a certain enthusiasm with all involved that enables any initial hurdles to be overcome. It is as the project evolves that things can go wrong, little niggles grow into big issues, communications become strained and as tensions increase, so do ...

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Build quality

This post was inspired by a blog on brickwork, written by Samuel-James Wilson on his site www.Apprentice-Ship.comYou know, i think we get the quality we deserve. When I joined the trade some 40+ years ago, there was a steady reduction in apprenticeships and therefore a steady decline in the numbers of tradesmen that were capable of producing quality work. The problem was the large companies. Although good local builders knew their market and their clients and tried to maintain standards, the volume builders were not interested in quality only speed of construction and cost savings - look at the rubbish that was built in the 70's and 80's.Now I am not actually blaming them because they were driven by the need to build and sell at the market rate and at the same time new building regulations ...

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Hi-viz and the Health & Safety police

I have to admit, right up front, that I have a particular dislike of the prevailing culture, which seems to feed and grow upon the rigid enforcement of what should be, a). either common sense or b). personal choice.One of my pet hates is the over zealous imposition, by people with more authority than they should be empowered with, of the obligatory wearing of Personal Protective Equipment, when there is no considered justification for it.I have been ( and still am ) at times, responsible for carrying our the assessments which are the legal obligation of employers, to ensure they are not putting people at risk, and the simple fact is that by law, PPE should be considered as a last line of defence, not a simple way of compliance with the legislation.It is a fact that Hi-viz clothing was deve ...

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The rise and fall of the High Street

I cant help but think that the High Streets kind of had it coming. The apparent demise is a fulfillment of the law of unintended consequences. Let me first say that I don't believe this is the actual demise - more a rebalancing, although it may well be painful and a slow recovery. When I was younger, the town centres were a hive of activity and commerce. You could actually enjoy spending time there because it was not just a shopping chore. The retailers were mostly independent and run by the owners, who knew their products and their customers. You could tap into their knowledge and get advice on what you might need and how to use it. The greengrocer knew where the produce came from and how fresh it was, the butcher and fishmonger the same and you could always get tips on h ...

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Micro management & the blame game

I thought today, I would write about something that has a clear and damaging influence on any workforce, company or project and yet, is only ever noticed as a cause of problems, by the affected, never the instigator.In my career I have worked as an employee, as self employed, both sole trader and business owner, as an employer and as a strange combination of all the above when acting as a Project Manager. So I am in a position of being able to see the relationship between each, from all perspectives.As an employee, you need to be valued for your work and the contribution you make. If you are fortunate enough to work for a good boss, he will know your strengths ( and weaknesses ) and ensure you are engaged on tasks which are within your capabilities. That does not mean that you should not b ...

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From a builders perspective

I decided to write this blog, so builders would realise I know the issues they face, but also so prospective clients could understand how their actions and involvement can impact on the project and the costs. I have been a builder for many years, so I can speak from personal knowledge. I have also been a client ( and have been guilty of some of the common faults ) and, as a project manager for both clients and contractors, have learned how to achieve the best possible results for all parties. We should start from the premise that both client and builder actually want the same thing - a successful project. There is always a vociferous section of the press and population, who make noise about " cowboy builders " and " rogue traders" but I am not having that. ...

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Creating a reputation.

I thought in this post, I would take a look at how a good builder / tradesperson can create and develop a good reputation. I believe I am qualified to do this because I have been a builder in the UK and Spain, working directly for clients, on extensions, refurbs and new builds.One of the hardest things for a builder to build, is his reputation. You may be a superb builder, doing great work, charging reasonable prices and with very happy clients. It is still tough to create a good reputation. Why? Because although your clients may be happy to praise you and endorse you to their friends, that only helps if the friends need a builder. It does nothing to get you known in the wider community.Another reason is that construction projects are much longer term than say, making pies or selling flowe ...

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Trust

I was inspired to write this blog by an article in the magazine published by the professional body of which I am a member. The magazine is Project and the body is the Association for Project Management. The article was written by Kevin Parry and titled Why Trust Matters. When you make the decision to create your own project, whether it is a refurbishment, home extension or a new build, unless you are actually going to do all of the work yourself, at some point you will have to bring other people into the project. Then you have to trust they will do their work properly, safely and according to your requirements. The need for trust is of course a two way street - in simple terms, you trust they will do their job properly and they trust you will pay them. Clearly it is in your in ...

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Terms and Conditions

I thought I would touch on a subject that probably is the last thing anyone thinks about when they commence a project. It is not something that is specific to the client, or the contractor as it affects both, but the lack of attention can lead to dispute.Very often it is only when one or other begins to feel that thinks are not really happening in the way they expected or would have wished for, that it becomes clear that a little forthought and planning could have saved a lot of ill feeling. Hindsight is of course, a wonderful thing!!One of the reasons for using the services of a Project Manager, is that they usually have the experience and knowledge to ensure that things are planned and looked at in advance, but if we start from the basic premise that you are not using a PM, we need to lo ...

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Preliminaries

Preliminaries - usually shortened to prelims, is something that is often overlooked, particularly on smaller projects or those that are managed by the homeowners themselves. Probably because most people don't actually know what they are, even if they recognise the word.My definition - Preliminaries are those items that are not specific to work elements or even individual trades but have an identifiable cost which is useful to consider separately in tendering.To clarify, Preliminaries relate to the cost-significant items required by the method and particular circumstances under which the work is to be carried out, and those costs concerned with the whole of the works rather than individual elements within the project. These costs may either be 'one-off' fixed costs, such as the cost of site ...

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Everyone is an expert

What is it about building? No matter what experience or knowledge someone has, it seems that whenever they want a change of career, they become builders. I have known several people who were mechanics, or gardeners, or train drivers, whatever, who just decided one day to be builders. How can that possibly work? What is it that makes them think they are capable? After all, I would not just decide I was a mechanic - I would easily wreck someones engine for them. Why is there no way of checking whether a "builder" actually knows what he is doing before you let him loose on your home? I have long thought that it would be sensible to have a register of qualified people - builders and tradesmen that were qualified and competent, which could be accesses by the general publi ...

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How much?

I read somewhere the other day, that employing a Project Manager to run your construction project for you, can save on average 10% of the cost of the construction.Now I dont know how true that is - and I am a Project Manager, so you would think I should know. But there is no accurate data - there cannot be any, because all projects are different and there is absolutely no way of knowing what actual difference a PM makes. Because no-one can know how much any given project would have cost if the alternative had been chosen.What I do know, is that a properly managed project will be more successful, have fewer problems and be more likely to finish on time and on budget, than a project which is poorly managed. That may be because one of the tasks of a good PM will be to work with the client to ...

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What a Project manager does

Project Management may be surrounded with mystery and many people may not be aware exactly what a PM does. So here is a brief outline of what you would expect.Work with Client to establish Scope of Works requiredEstablish budget with the Client and working within the budget parametersEstablish regular meetings / communications with Client, to maintain full awareness / involvementPreparation of draft designs / proposals / specificationsDiscussions with Local Authority to establish relations with planners and Building ControlNegotiations with and obtaining tenders from Architects, Engineers, Consultants and specialists.Briefing same and establishing final scope of worksProviding design input and acting as link between client and professional.Value engineeringAssistance in material selection ...

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How to be a good client part 2

I have been in the construction industry, involved in small residential projects mainly, from extensions and refurbs to individual new builds, for most of my life. So most of my working life I have been directly contracted by, or worked for, the end client. Which is very like having a boss. So I think I know a little about what makes a good client ( or boss ).In a previous post I mentioned that the majority of clients can best be described as ineffective. That is not meant as criticism, just a fact. After all I am ineffective at fixing my car, because I know nothing about mechanics. So when most people get the builder in to build their new extension, they let the builder just get on with it. Just like I let the mechanic get on with fixing my car. However a car is not like an extension. Whe ...

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Contingencies

This is a subject that, no doubt, most people would like to ignore. Problem is that ignoring it might just mean it will catch you by surprise.It is a fact of construction life that there is always the unexpected. Even if you have done your homework, planned meticulously, specified everything and worked out your budget, there will always be something. After all, you can only plan for the expected. It is just not possible to include every possible eventuality in your plans. By definition plans are made up using known elements and likely circumstances.So contingencies are those unexpected things. The disused Victorian drain that you did not know was there, the wall that needs reinforcing, the electrics that need rewiring, the delayed delivery that means you can't strike the scaffolding etc. A ...

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Good Management

Let me tell you a story.When I moved to Spain and started my construction company there, one of the things I did was to use local tradesmen as well as expats. I figured that local people would know the practices and principles of using the local materials and methods better than an outsider. I also figured I could learm from them myself.Now I am a big fan of all things Spanish, including their work ethic. I can absolutely refute any suggestion that they are lazy or workshy and in fact I have nothing but admiration for their energy and adaptability. Nothing is too much trouble or effort and they work as hard as any people I have met. If I had any criticism, it is that very often they were poorly trained and therefore sometimes lacking in skills.However there was one particular practice that ...

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Changing times

It is astonishing how things have changed in my working lifetime. Health and safety has become something that the popular press use as the butt of many jokes, but it is not so many years ago that no thought was given to the safety and wellbeing of anyone on a building site.Construction was a preserve of the male. It was virtually unheard of for a woman to work in any capacity outside the office or canteen and if ever a woman set foot anywhere within eyeshot, there would be a chorus of catcalls and whistles.Smoking was endemic. If you were a non smoker in those days you were considered something of an oddball, so every young person starting work, took up smoking to fit in.On many sites there were no sanitary facilities at all. So men would urinate wherever they could. Handwashing was availa ...

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The World of Work

From leaving Technical College, I did a number of things. I had the opportunity of continuing with the family construction business ( which I did eventually ) and did so intermittently for a few years.Along the way I tried out a few different things. I worked on the M3 motorway during the construction, for one of the fencing contractors, building crash barriers, perimeter fencing etc. That I remember as great fun - the road itself was virtually complete and we ( highly illegally ) raced our cars along the empty stretches on the way to and from work.This was a world away from College and a swift wake up call to the grown up world. We were paid on piecework, so were only paid for each measurable length of fencing constructed. We started early, would get a cooked breakfast around 10am and wor ...

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How to be a good client

The relationship between a client and a contractor, is similar to hat between a boss and an employee. In my opinion there are just three main types of client / boss and they are easily defined.The best are the ones who clearly define the job desription ( or specification ) carefully select the contractor, provide all of the information needed, enable and motivate the contractor to deliver, reward properly by paying on time and genarally promote the success of the project by intelligent involvement and careful management.The worst are those who provide little or muddled information then, when the job goes worng ( as it inevitably will ), blame the contractor ( or anyone else except themselves ) try and bully them into doing better, punish by delaying or reducing paymentsand genarally ending ...

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Pride in the Job

Back in the day, when I was involved in the family construction company, we were building around 12 new homes every year. All new homes in the UK have to carry a 10 year warranty which is issued by the National House Building Council, who carry out regular inspections of the work to ensure it is up to standard. It follows that as builders we belonged to the NHBC.One scheme they introduced was called Pride in the Job and it encouraged builders and building workers at every level to do the best they could, improving standards of workmanship and quality, to deliver the best possible job - a job that they and their clients could take pride in.The idea struck a chord within many people and took off very quickly and soon you would see the stickers all over builders vans, sign boards and literatu ...

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Up Front Payments. Part 2.

I know that often a builder will ask for a percentage payment up front. I know of cases where builders have asked for 25% and sometimes up to 50% before doing a stroke of work.My last blog ended with a question. What should you do if your builder asks for money up front? The simple answer is don't. Don't pay any money up front for work that is not done. If you stick to that principle you cannot go wrong. It may seem harsh, but think about it. You have to work for your money. When you go to work, you don't get paid before you have done anything. When you go shopping you only pay for what you buy, and you have the Sale of Goods act to back you up if you are sold something that is not fit for purpose.As I wrote in my last blog, if a builder needs money up front, you should ask some searching ...

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Up Front Payments

So you find a builder. You agreed a start date and then he points out that, in his estimate, he stipulated the payment terms, which includes a percentage up front. He says it is perfectly normal, most builders work like that and it is for "materials", or to organize machinery, or whatever.So you think, well I suppose if that is normal, better pay up. After all, it seems reasonable that he should not have to buy your materials.Well, back up a little and let's think about this.If he is a reputable builder, presumably he has some continuity of work, i.e jobs under way and jobs due to start. It may be only one job if he is a small builder but the principle applies. Which means he has a workforce and a pool of reliable subcontractors that he uses for all his work. Even a one man band will have ...

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Cowboy Builders?

There are undoubtably some cowboy builders out there, just like there are some cowboys in any trade. I have met a few in my time and you can see the results on TV in programs like Cowboy Builders, Homes from Hell etc.However most builders are just like most people, hardworking and wanting to do the best job they can. So why do projects go wrong?It is true to say that most projects, even those that are well planned and managed, encounter some unforseen problems that can cause delays and incur costs. After all, if they could have been forseen they would have been planned for. It is also true that time is money and any delay will usually cost.It is also true to say that any variation in the work done will incur a cost. This can even apply when work is omitted, because it may require replannin ...

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Choosing your Builder

How to choose a builder. This is one of the most critical decisions you will make, because your chosen builder can make or break your project. Ask around and most advice you will get will be along the same lines. Get personal recommendations, inspect other work they have done, get at least three quotes, make sure you have a written estimate etc, etc. All good but all a little simplistic. Because in the end, most people use gut instinct and price. Well, they will say, he seemed really nice and his quote was very reasonable!!!! There is, of course a much better way. There is the professional way - the way a Project Manager would choose. That way involves all of the previous advice plus a detailed specification, project planning, tender comparison, program planning, ...

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Planning an extension?

The new proposed relaxation of the planning regulations look to me like a good move by the government. Allowing people to extend and improve their home significantly can only be a good thing. The money saved by avoiding the Planning process will be much better spent in the local economy.Fears that this initiative will allow uncontrolled development will, I believe, be unfounded. There will be no relaxation of the Building Control element, so standards of construction will be maintained.I also believe that people will not risk devaluing their property by building inappropriate extensions, either infringing on their neighbours or using materials that are out of place. Even if there was a temptation to do so, the risk of not being able to sell or having to sell at a loss, will enable folk to ...

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You can't be good at everything!

Everybody is good at something. During the Olympics and Paralympics, we frequently heard people say that anyone, if they try hard enough, can achieve anything. I am not sure if that is totally true, but I am sure that anyone, if they try hard enough, want it badly enough and are prepared to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes, can achieve something! And that something may well be far greater that you would believe possible.London 2012 demonstrated that, in spades. Forget the headline makers for the moment and consider all the thousands of people who actually did the job. Because this was a monumental task, the scale of which is difficult to comprehend. I have been in the construction industry all my life and have some understanding of the awesome scope of the building work that ha ...

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Communication, Communication, Communication

You have all heard the truism that with property there are three key factors Ė location, location and location.When you decide to engage a builder to improve your home, or build an extension, the key factor is communication. I cannot stress enough, how important it is that you communicate, clearly, precisely and accurately, what you want the builder to do.In my last blog, I wrote that a good builder will do his best to understand what you want and try to deliver it. However no matter how good the builder is, if you donít explain clearly what you want, he will not be able to guess what it is.Most of the disasters I have encountered stem from poor communication. Not deliberate, but unintentional misunderstanding on both sides. Construction, like any other job, has its own terminology and if ...

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Its Your Money!

Why do people imagine that, without any real effort, the really important things will turn out OK? Why does Project Management get ignored for the big projects, like building your new extension, or refurbishing your home?I don't know and I don't understand.Your home is, for most of us, the single largest investment you will ever make. You almost certainly have a mortgage which you will be paying for 25 years - possibly even longer. When you decide to build a home extension, or refurbish your home, you are making a bold decision to ( probably ) borrow even more money, increase the mortgage and invest the funds in your home.Why? Well, probably because you need the space, perhaps to accommodate a growing family. Or you want to modernize to enhance your lifestyle. Or perhaps you want to increa ...

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Builders are not Project Managers

Builders are not Project Managers.I suppose, that is not strictly true. They are, in as much as they manage and organize their work, their materials, their subcontractors. But when they do that, it is for their benefit, not yours.So it would be truer to say that builders will not do your project management.When you decide to build a home extension, you are committing to spending a lot of money, maybe increasing your mortgage. That is a large investment and surely you want to protect that investment and get the very best value from it.Builders have responsibilities and priorities, but they are not the same as yours. When you go to work, you are most likely doing the job you are best qualified for, for the employer that pays the best salary or offers the best perks, so you can look after you ...

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Why bother?

Why bother? All the things you want to do, just get done anyway. You know how to do them, so you just do it!Well, what happens if you don't "project manage"? Chaos, that's what!Everything we do, we usually do in a logical manner. We might not think about it but we do! Even something as simple as an evening out, gets planned and executed logically. You come home from work and take a shower, before getting dressed in your casual clothes, before going out the door ( and locking it after ), making sure you have the keys to get back in with. Somewhere in there you txt ur friends to tell them where you are and arrange to meet.You do it without thinking - because if you don't, it will be chaos, and the night out will be a disaster.So when you do something that is less common, like the redecoratio ...

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Project Management - What it is!

Project management. Boring, right? Like accountancy? Not something that most people would be interested in?Well that is often the conception, but in fact most of us get involved in project management at some time in our lives and many of us, on a daily basis.So what is it? What exactly does it do and why do we need it?If we cut right to the chase, project management should really be re-named as "Change Management" , because project management is the process of managing changes. It is the organization of all the required elements, in a logical sequence, properly timed and with the involved parties all prepared and working to the same schedule, to bring about a change from how something is, to how you want something to be.Effectively, whenever you make a change to anything, you are managing ...

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Technical College

The minimum school leaving age in those days was 15. I managed to escape before that magic age and enrolled at Technical College to do a 1 year Construction Technicians course.I reckon my Dad had a quiet word with my old headmaster, although he never admitted it and, when the school broke up for the summer holidays, I left for good, even though I was a few days short of 15 years old. Dad was running his own small construction company at the time and had promised that I would go to college and be supported through the College courses by working for the company. So the plan was to do the 1 year course full time, then follow that with a 3 year course on day release which meant working four and a half days for the family company and 1 day at Tech. The four and a half days were because the stan ...

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School days

I was never academically minded. I had passed the 11 plus exam and gone to Grammar School, but hated every minute of my time there. Some of the teachers were little more than bullies and sadists and, not being very studious meant that I often fell foul of them. This was in the mid to late 1960's when we all had to wear school uniforms, including caps, which we despised. Smoking was one way in which we rebelled and sneaking a cigarette behind the bike sheds was a reality. We earned the money to buy the cigarettes by doing a paper round before school and in my case I also started even earlier and, when the newspapers were delivered to the shop, made up the rounds for the other paper boys, before doing my own round. If I remember correctly I was paid 13 shillings for the round and ...

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My First House

When I was 21 years old, I bought my first house. When I look around, it does seem that the first step onto the property ladder, must seem impossible today. In the newspapers it is reported that people live with their parents longer and need larger deposits and mortgages are harder to get. All true! But it was never easy. Not really. My first house cost the princely sum of £4,000. It was a two up, two down mid terrace cottage with a shared access, no bathroom, no kitchen, no heating. Just two rooms on the ground floor and two rooms upstairs. In those days Local Councils would offer mortgages and I applied for a 100% loan. I had to provide proof of income to support the repayments, but fortunately the proof was very simple - a letter from my employer stating tha ...

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Why Construction?

If you read my first blog carefully, you might have noticed that I confessed to being, not a Project Manager, but more specifically, a Construction Project Manager.So what? Well it just happens that I am passionate about construction. Building something tangible is exciting and for me, building something that people can live in, that enhances their lives, is the most exciting of all.I get a huge buzz from seeing homes I have helped to build, or transform with a new extension, or refurbishment. These homes will be there long after I have passed away, and many generations will benefit from the efforts of all the builders, tradesmen and professionals involved in the construction.I can understand why architects and builders want to be involved in a huge tower block, or a bridge, or a public bu ...

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I am a Construction Project Manager

I am a Construction Project Manager. I have been in the construction business for over 40 years, from leaving school to take a one year full time course at Technical College followed by three years on day release to gain my Construction Technicians Certificate. At the same time, working in the family construction company, as assistant / labourer / apprentice, with the various tradesmen to learn the skills. Effectively a multi trade apprenticeship which gave me the knowledge and skills which, combined with the College courses, gave me the basic knowledge to further my own career. I have set up, run and managed my own business, building new homes, home extensions and refurbishments for other people. I have built, extended and refurbished my own homes. When I decided to hang ...

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