As a consequence of global warming, extreme shifts in the predicted weather outlook are beginning to be witnessed by numerous countries across the globe. Although the detrimental socio-economic effects of storms, sparkling wildfires, droughts, flooding, and heat waves are likely to be faced by countries across the world (Environmental Protection Fund, 2011), this report would conclude that the lead construction manager who is specifically in control of building construction ventures in the jurisdiction of North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom will be liable for pr.
In the Normal Forms of Contract in the United Kingdom, it is explicitly specified that building contractors are not liable for building work disruptions owing to “exceptionally inclement weather” (Eggleston, 2001, p. 219). However, nearly all architects and construction firms generally cite the act of shielding building contractors from job disruptions owing to “exceptionally adverse weather conditions” as a legitimate justification for not finishing a building project on a timely basis (Tate, 2011).
Extreme weather changes not only postpone the project date, they can contribute to higher mitigation expenses, changes in the technicalities of the construction, postponed delivery of project payments, adjustments in the nature of the building and potential issues involved with workforce control (Kaliba, Muya, & Mumba, 2009). In line with this, Eggleston (2001, p. 220) disclosed that “an adverse weather should never be considered as a legal ground for contractors’ failure to perform their contractual obligations” Construction programmes are typically characterised by their scale, the budget available and scheduling (Federal Transit Administration, 2007, p. 1-3). In order to reduce the likelihood of potential building disruptions induced by extreme conditions, this article would concentrate on addressing the meaning of weather while creating predictions about the current construction project’s bidding and scheduling processes.
Apart from addressing the selective and/or absolute ownership of extreme weathe-related risks the long-term extreme weather condition will be assumed based on the current scientific information that will be gathered and thoroughly discussed in this report. In preparation for more extreme weather episodes in the near future, this report will discuss the possible differences in the construction project management as compared with today’s practices.
Partial and/or Absolute Liability Ownership Related to Severe Weather Incidents
In this report, a total ownership risk means that the lead construction manager in-charge of the building construction project in UK will be held fully liable for the damages and cost associated with the building construction delays and damages as a result of extreme weather condition whereas a partial ownership risk means that the lead construction manager in-charge of the building construction will only be held partially liable for the damages given that the cost of damages will be shared with the construction firm and other parties that are directly involved with negligence or short-comings in the project management.
To determine the partial and/or total ownership risks associated with extreme weather events, it is necessary for each contractor to be first familiar with the different stages of the project life cycle related to project initiation based on market demands, the planning and feasibility stage which includes environmental clearance, the acquisition of real-estate, building design, procurement and building construction, commissioning or start-up for occupancy, and the selling of property (Federal Transit Administration, 2007, p. 1-2; Hendrickson, 1998). When it comes to the preparation for extreme weather events, contractors should focused on the building design, procurement and building construction to avoid being held liable and accountable for a partial and/or total ownership risks associated with extreme weather events. (See Appendix I – Project Life Cycle on page 14)
In general, part of the duties of a lead construction manager includes supervising the project design, project planning monitoring of the actual building construction. It means that the lead construction manager should regularly inspect and oversee the process of on-going building construction and its completion in accordance to the agreed project deadline, proper management of the allocated funds (Cassidy, 2010). Aside from complying with the local building codes particularly with regards to the building structure, the lead construction manager should also comply with the health and safety standards as set by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) (Cassidy, 2010; HSE, 2011).
In respect with the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 (amended in 2008), Atkinson (2002) explained that it is the role and responsibility of the lead construction manager to ensure that the construction site is not only safe for the workers but is free from operational bottlenecks caused by a weak supply chain system. We should not, therefore, ignore the reality that a long list of human error could lead to the development of a poor project management related to health and safety of the workers (Reese & Eidson, 2006, p. 13; Atkinson, 2002).
Assuming that a group of workers who were not wearing their safety helmets died because of a crane that fell down the construction site, the lead construction manager can be held partially liable together with the crane operator in case the crane operator was found guilty of drinking alcohol at the moment he was conducting the operation crane. Since the group of workers who died in the crane accident were not wearing their safety helmets at the time of their death, it is possible for the lead construction manager to be partially liable for the death of the workers together with the site supervisor who has been employed to ensure that the workers are carrying on with their individually assigned tasks under a safe working environment.
The lead construction manager should at all time comply with the local ordinance(s) and building codes (Butler & Cushman, 1994, p. 374). In case the unfinished building erodes at the height of an earthquake, the lead construction manager can also be held fully liable for the damages in case he/she is caught guilty of stealing from the project fund by making use of substandard or poor quality materials for the structure of the new building.
Weather importance when creating decisions about a new building project’s bidding and scheduling processes
Bidding of a New Construction Project
The high level of carbon emission in North Yorkshire can lead to excessive rainfalls and drought respectively. In line with this, McGarvey (2011) reported the possibility that the sea level would rise from 1 to 1.9m by 2100 and between 50 – 80% decreased in the river flow during summer. Based on the historical climate report of McGarvey (2011), the long-term extreme weather condition could significantly affect the assumptions made when bidding for a new construction project. In line with this, the presence of severe weather condition could cause work-related accidents. In almost all cases, this can increase the unexpected expenses of the building construction project.
When bidding for a construction project, Wallace (2008, p. 7-43) revealed that most of the building contractors consider the estimated contract costs associated with building completion delays, need for re-working, changes in the building designs and structure, improvements in technology, and other probable operational bottlenecks which could impede the daily operations of a building construction but not much concerning the impact of bad weather over the completion of the building construction project. To protect the contractors from the unexpected costs associated with severe weather condition, it is necessary to incorporate the risk of severe weather condition when bidding for a building construction project.
To maintain the cost of hiring construction workers low, it is necessary to hire multi-skilled workers (Burleson et al., 1998). Likewise, the lead construction manager should also provide the workers with necessary training in order to minimize the risk of re-work. This strategy is proven effective in terms of cutting down the cost of hiring additional manpower. It will also reduce the risk of work-related accidents due to inexperienced workers.
It is a common knowledge that the presence of an adverse weather could increase the risk of delaying the completion period of a building construction project. Despite the high cost of bad weather consequences, a lot of building contractors often neglect and disregard the possible adverse effects extreme weather conditions to the daily construction operations during the time they would draft their bidding estimates. Between a big and small contractor, it is the small-scale contractors who are more willing to absorb the actual cost of adverse weather effects (Chan & Au, 2007). Therefore, small-scale contractors face higher risk of experiencing serious financial problems every time they encounter problems in building construction caused by extreme weather conditions.
As compared to the business owner or the client, it is the building contractors who have more knowledge when it comes to determining the impact and cost of adverse weather effects on the actual contract cost. In most cases, the monetary fund a contractor has for weather-related project delays is much smaller as compared to the actual number of days of we experience extreme weather. By removing contractual provisions that allows them to extend the project deadline in the business contract, Chan & Au (2007) strongly suggest that employers should transfer the management or handling of adverse weather problems to the building contractors.
Severe changes in weather condition could significantly affect the budget allocation of the available funds. Since the study of Kozłowska-Szczësna & Grzëdziński (1991) revealed that the presence of cyclonic situations (low-pressure air) and the passage of fronts during autumn and spring could make the workers suffer from a decreased mental and physical work efficiency, the lead construction manager should expect work-related accidents to happen. To effectively manage and lower down the operational costs within the limit, the lead construction manager should immediately instruct the site manager to remind the workers to comply with the health and safety requirements for construction work each time there is a cyclonic situation or movements in the passage of fronts.
Scheduling Phases of a New Construction Project
A project schedule is pertaining to the estimated timeframe wherein the construction of a new building is expected to be completed. To keep a more reliable and more feasible time-table, the project schedule is often designed on a weekly basis. At the end of each week, the lead construction manager should monitor and measure the ability of the team to meet their production output as noted on the project timetable. (See Appendix II – Construction Project Management Flowchart on page 15)
Unfortunately, Beard, Loulakis, & Wundram (2001, p. 198) revealed that building contractors often focus on managing its available and required monetary and non-monetary resources like land and raw materials without paying much attention with regards to the need to develop and implement strategies that will enable the building contractors meet its estimated timeframe of project completion. Because of the unforeseen events such as the case of extreme weather conditions, there is a strong possibility for the team to meet the official schedule of the on-going construction project.
Road accidents and traffik during peak hours is possible as a result of severe weather condition such as flood, earthquakes that destroys the highway, the presence of storm or typhoon, and hurricanes. With this in mind, Koetse & Rietveld (2009) revealed that the extreme weather condition could significantly affect the on-time delivery of raw materials due to disruptions of the existing road infrasrtucture. To prevent delivery of raw materials from affecting the scheduled phases of the building construction project, the lead construction manager should give at least one to two days allowance when instructing accredited suppliers to deliver the raw materials to the actual construction site.
Specifically the absence of required raw materials could impede or cause delay in the tasks written in the project schedule (Horman & Thomas, 2005; O’Brien & Fischer, 2000). For this reason, Horman & Thomas (2005) revealed that it is important to maintain a certain level of raw material inventory since this strategy will enable the lead construction manager effectively and more efficiently manage the daily production process. When buffering the raw material stockpile, the lead construction manager should keep the available inventory level limited to the volume of raw material required for the building construction since purchasing construction materials more than the needed requirement is a waste of the available construction fund.
Demotivated and dissatisfied workers could lead to a significant decrease in productivity level. Even though the necessary raw materials required for the building construction is present, Ng et al. (2004) reported that work demotivation could decrease the overall productivity and work performance of the construction workers by up to 13.6 man-hours per week. To avoid missing the project deadline, the lead construction manager should immediately act upon daily operational problems related to work motivation.
Envisaged Key Areas of Difference as Compared with Today’s Construction Management Practices
The planning and management of construction project today is very much focused on the relationship between the available budget for the construction materials and cost of labour, the quality of the completed building, and the ability of the lead construction manager to commit the entire team in completing the project based on the estimated completion time (Whole Building Design Guide, 2010). To enable the lead construction manager to effectively manage these three main key factors, the use of effective team leadership approach is necessary in order to keep the team members coordinated with one another. Through a continuous open communication process, there is a higher possibility for the entire team to be able to effectively oversee the health and safety of the workers including the weekly progress of the project.
The available budget significantly affects not only the quality of the building at the time of the project completion but also the capability of the contractor to complete the project on time. When bidding for a construction project, Wallace (2008, p. 7-43) revealed that most of the building contractors today do not seriously incorporate the impact of bad weather on the budget. Given that the presence of global warming is already making us experience severe weather condition around the world, it is most likely that the building construction management by 2021 would focus more on how to effectively manage the negative impact of severe weather condition over the cost of contract.
A successful construction project is about being able to complete the project within the estimated costs and timetable (Mohamed & Srinavin, 2005). Since the available fund for the building construction significantly affects the time completion and the quality of the building, it is necessary on the part of the building contractors to incorporate the risk of severe weather condition when drafting the required budget.
To ensure that construction productivity is high, it is crucial on the part of the lead construction manager to ensure that the cost of production is highly controlled and properly managed by keeping the daily operational costs low (Arditi & Mochtar, 2000). By providing the workers with proper training and a safe and more lucrative working environment, it is possible for the lead construction manager to motivate and inspire the team members to work more efficiently. As a result of increased daily construction productivity, it would be easier for the rest of the team members to meet the expected completion of the project based on the forecasted schedule.
In order to minimize the risk of building project delays and construction problems related to the increase in the cost of building completion, it is necessary to increase the public awareness of the architects, engineers, and building contractors with regards to the impact of adversely changing weather condition as a result of global warming. By doing so, building contractors throughout the United Kingdom could prevent the risk facing legal problems related to employees’ health problems and field work accidents, customer complaints related to building project delays, and additional cost requirements due to unfinished building projects that has been badly damaged by extreme weather events.
Being held partially and/or total liable for the risks associated with extreme weather events will create a negative impact over the professional career of a lead construction manager. To avoid facing the risk of partial and/or total ownership of risks, the lead construction manager should always keep in mind to comply with the health and safety guidelines as set by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the local building codes.
One of the key factors that could lead to higher productivity is to improve the overall work and environmental condition within the construction site. To effectively monitor the daily construction productivity, Park, Thomas, & Tucker (2005) highly recommends the use of the Construction Productivity Metrics System (CPMS) when measuring the daily production output.
Wakisaka et al. (2000) strongly recommends the use of the “all-weather automated construction system” which incorporates a synchronized climbing all-weather temporary roof, a parallel material delivery system, a prefabricated and the unification of construction materials, and the use of a more efficient material management system. Not only does this strategy helps the lead construction manager to reduce the estimated project deadline but also cut down the unnecessary cost associated with manpower and waste. Likewise, it is also advisable to make use of motivational leadership style when encouraging the workers to actively participate, reinforce, and implement the work-related health and safety procedures that was taught to them through in-house training programme (Reese & Eidson, 2006, p. 55).
As the lead construction manager in-charge of the building construction project in UK, I take it as a challenge to motivate the construction workers and accredited suppliers of raw materials to work together in terms of meeting the project deadline. To avoid delays in the delivery of raw materials each time there is a severe weather condition, the lead construction manager should make it a habit to convince its accredited suppliers to deliver the goods one or two days before the available raw material inventory is depleted. Implementing this strategy could prevent delay in the work schedule.
Aside from announcing the expected project completion to the rest of the project stakeholders, Beard, Loulakis, & Wundram (2001, pp. 198 – 199) strongly suggest the need to develop and implement a competitive reward system for the group employees. By acknowledging the efforts of the team employees and other related agencies, it will be easier on the part of the lead construction manager to inspire the workforce to commit themselves towards the success of meeting the project dealine.
Appendix I – Project Life Cycle
Source: Federal Transit Administration, 2007, p. 1-2; Hendrickson, 1998
Appendix II – Construction Project Management Flowchart
Source: Federal Transit Administration, 2007, p. 1-5
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