Own your specs, own your project

Take your time…

Through my professional life in the construction & E-House industry many things have changed making the project manager’s role both more and less complicated at the same time (examples). The ever increasing speed of communications and 24/7 nature of a busy project can leave the PM time poor, and often one of the first casualties is truly knowing your scope and required standards.

Having run a national team of project managers one of my consistent messages was “own your specs to truly know what you have to deliver”. From a PMBOK point of view, these documents are the functional requirements of the project and are an important input to the baseline scope.

Typically from award of contract the pressure is on to get on with the job, and following a handover from the sales team the key documents often get shelved to review later. With this philosophy they often aren’t fully explored until it’s too late. Buy this stage tenders sub contracts have been awarded, goods received and construction started. To correct at this stage results in cost and time blow outs and most damaging, client dissatisfaction.

Importantly, specifications may not just be related to physical product and performance standards, but quality assurance and control. Whilst some of the requirements might seem innocuous things can become unstuck particularly around progressive inspections, fabricator qualifications, and testing documentation. Overlooking an effective review of these documents may lead to opportunities for work to progress beyond a hold point, resulting scrambling to resolve how works can be approved and certified before completion.

own-your-specs2You’re not the expert!

The specifications will vary considerably depending on the nature of your project and the preferences of your client. Many project specifications will have an inherent complexity with numerous cross references including external references to codes, standards and other specification. Untangling the web of requirements with the client at the start of the project is a critical function of the Project Manager.

The PM’s role is to meet the agreed project scope and requirements and this means being able to recognise technical issues that need expert advice and to procure a resource to ensure compliance. This could be a discussion with an internal engineer, a specialist vendor, or an external consultant to get an understanding of what the spec is calling for and whether there are requirement conflicts between the documents which need a TQ. It’s critical to get onto this early so that when you’re scoping works you are calling for the correct goods and services, and not something which will lead to changes and variations down the track.

Know or risk failure

A solid understanding of the specs will not only help you plan your procurement strategy and quality requirements, but also allow a good understanding of scoping, workflow, cost planning, and critically project risk on long lead and complex items. Without this knowledge the project is setting up for a potential fail before it began.

Like to know more..?

EQ House has a team of industry Specialists supporting our partner clients with all aspects of design, specification and construction of Equipment Houses (E-Houses), Switchrooms and communications buildings for the utilities, mining and O&G applications. For more information on how we can help you, please email solutions@eq-house.com or visit http://www.eq-house.com/