1st Project and Construction Management Conference, September 29th - October 1st, 2010
Culture and Conference Center of METU, Ankara


Determination of Detail Level of "Measurement and Assessment" in Construction Project Management


A. Avinal

Yildiz Teknik University, Master's Program in Construction Management, Lecturer, Cofounder of PYO-Project Management Office, Istanbul

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One of the major reasons why construction projects fall behind the targeted condition, why they are winded up with loss rests in the matter that contractor company does not have enough culture and necessary system in "Measurement and Assessment".

Construction projects are the most complex and extensive examples as for the applicability of methods of "Project Management." If they are not followed up in necessary detail, measured and assessed for each phase, the result will be the failure from the aspects like finance, quantity and time. One can not talk about the success of "Project Management" if the project has not been completed within the limits of its budget and time.

Measurement is the process of determining the degree of having a certain feature of a being, condition or an event. Measurement in construction management is used as for determination of the scales in financial, quantitative or time aspects of a manufacture or condition. Assessment is the process of attributing a meaning to a certain condition revealed by the measurement.

In the Project Management process, the measurement and assessment must be not confused with the content of the "monitoring-control" phase. Measurement and assessment encompasses all of the management and studies that enable the determination of the processes necessary to be performed in all phases of construction project management in a way that is nearest to the true state.

Proper project management decisions are formed by deciding what can be done with the measurement results after finding the learnt degree of project data by measurement.Decisions to be formed in each phase of the project management are formed based on the data obtained in previous phase. Mistakes of measurement and assessment to be made in first phases of construction project management shall take the whole future of the project under its effect.

The detection of differences between the assumed and the realized to be carried out during the monitoring-control phase can only provide possibility of partial correction. The success of the project is directly proportional to the accuracy of the setup of first phases.

In this review, we will try to explain what kind of system is necessary for phases, modules and detail levels the "Measurement and Assessment" should be considered, the necessity for such consideration, reasons and availability.

Construction Project Management, Measurement and Assessment, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)


Management is an art and a science at the same time. The management art which conducts the action of having the works done by others may need personal characteristics, skills, experience. The basic purpose of project management, namely the part which consists of completing the project in the most appropriate time, budget and with the most quality by using the time, money, human power, machinery and equipments with the most possible efficiency, is the scientific content of the management.

The modern technology has brought ‘Do-How’ applicable to the scientific content of the management rather than information and skill ‘Know-how’ to the Construction Management.


American Project Management Institute (PMI-Project Management Institute) considers the project management in 5 phases, and these are initial, planning, application, monitoring, control and closing phases.

This setup can be expressed in 7 phases as feasibility, preparation, planning, application, monitoring-control and closing as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. 7 Phases of Construction Project Management

In the Project Management process, the measurement and assessment must be not confused with the content of the "monitoring-control" phase. Measurement and assessment encompasses all of the management and studies that enable the determination of the processes necessary to be performed in all phases of construction project management in a way that is nearest to the true state. In monitoring-control phase, the corrections to be done are detected by determining the differences between the assumed and the realized. Monitoring-control processes can only provide us partial correction possibility. The measurement and assessment made in first 3 phases, namely project designing, preparation and planning phases ensure the accurate building of the main setup of the project. This setup is the main plan, which we call "Master Plan".

Construction projects are the most complex examples of the project management phenomenon. There is no place for a slightest doubt about every kind of data formed in each phase, and the value most close to the true state should be found and used in the setup of relevant phase. Otherwise, the scope of the project and its projection in the future can not be calculated from time, financial and quantitative aspects.

Making an improper setup on wrong values in contents such as footage, bid, analysis, cost, material procurement, efficiency, planning, not doing the control and supervision will seriously compromise the future of the project. It seems like driving of the car by a blind man, meaning that accident is inevitable.

All kinds of data included in the master plan must have been found as a result of a sound measurement and assessment.

Measurement and Assessment during the Project Phase

Architectural, static, installations, electrical plans developed in the project phase are databases related with that project. These plans are the data of technical application of the work. They describe production details, measures and location lists. We have the chance to describe and draw in 3 dimensions in 2000s these projects that we had drawn with T rulers in 80s, and with 2 dimensional planning programs in 90s.

We have the chance to shape the whole of our project in 3 dimensions, surf in virtual project environment, have the reports of footage and location lists automatically prepared and transfer them into databases that we want.

The measurement and assessment problem in this phase has been resolved substantially by 3D technology. One of the essential contributions of the 3D technology to the construction project management rests in the fact that footages can be obtained from these 3D project design programs.

Footages are the most important data that determine the construction project in numerical scale. Footage values need to be determined in the lowest details. For example, in the projects with concentration on buildings, each production must have been solved in details regarding which building, which floor and which location they have.  The accuracy in the footage values and ensuring the change in these values in each project change be transferred to relevant database of the construction management system is one of the most important constituents of the assessment of the project from aspects like quantity, finance and time.

For the perfectness of the measurement and the assessment during the project phase, project drawing technologies solved in 3D technology that enables the obtaining of the footages must be used.

Measurement and Assessment During the Preparation Phase

In construction projects, there are two parties, namely the investor and the contractor. The content of the study made in this phase is in fact same for both sides. Estimate encompasses all studies that inform the investor of the project cost. And bid encompasses all studies that detect how much the project will cost for the investor.

Investor with its consultant and the contractor with its technical staff try to reach the approximate cost of the same project. The consultant is the party that forms the tender file, and the contractor is the one who responds to the tender file.

And consultant company must have been determined all technical content and numerical data, approximate cost, approximate work flow schedule, cash flow of the project with a preliminary study before the tender period. Otherwise, the possibility to make accurate assessment among the received bids is weak for a thing that was not measured.

Basic data of the preparation studies:

- Projects and details

- Production tariffs

- Information on technical content.

Preliminary bid assessment must be performed by the construction company from production analysis and unit price files that are found in the company's data bank which can be called company memory.  If there is no company memory, in other words, if the company has not recorded all previous projects in relevant modules with every detail, and if all studies are tried to be solved in Excel files by technical staff, it is not possible to say that preliminary bid to be prepared in this phase is begun with proper measurement criteria.

After the preliminary bid studies, one must to reach accurate bid values with better footage studies, project specific production analysis, unit price research and general expense assumption detections. A work program should be prepared even if not comprehensive for approximate budget, cash flow determinations in the preparation phase.

Regarding the project in the periods of preparation and planning:

1- All production footages must have been determined in necessary details,

2- Cost analysis of all productions must have been made,

3- The resources of these analyses must have been determined as for materials and workmanship,

4- Unit prices of all materials and workmanship resources must have been determined as a result of market research,

5- In the framework of overall expenses, overall expenses must have been determined,

6- Time performance planning and performance work plan of the whole project must have been prepared,

7- Monthly distribution of the resource needs, namely material and manpower need must have been determined as a result of this planning,

8- Purchase or manpower procurement planning must have been made by taking into account the material and manpower monthly distributions,

9- Payment plan scenarios must have been prepared according to purchase and manpower procurement plans,

10- Cash flow tables and budget must have been prepared by aligning formed payment plants, "progress payment incomes" required by production work plans.

All these data are the most important elements that need to be found in the "Master Plan", which is the main performance plan of the relevant project and that need to be monitored and controlled in each phase of the project.

Need to be performed during the preparation phase: If one glances at the master plan, he will see that all data are interconnected. Any change to take place in each of them will affect the other. Each of them is the interactively operating part of a whole.

As it can be seen also in this phase, all data of the project is in interaction with the other. The data produced by each employee fulfilling its duties under the project is needed by the other employee, who is working in another phase of the project. The accuracy in the measurement values of these data will ensure the accuracy of the assessment approach of project decision staff. The projects in this scope can not be solved in Excel files which are not capable of sharing the data. Solution is in the ERP systems structured specifically for the industry.

Measurement and Assessment during the Planning Phase

They are CPM/ PERT/ PCS Project planning and timing methods. These systems that started to be developed in 1957-58 gained great importance after General Union of Contractors in USA approved CPM management in practice and training and authorities related with construction of the US government set CPM usage as compulsory in big projects in 1960s.

These programs which were necessary for calculating the time aspect of the production and activities of the project are the basic tools of the planning phase.

Let's see the data to be assessed in planning point and to be found in planning program.

1. The address of the activity must have been determined (building, floor, location etc.). This information is the green book information of the production in estimation. The footage has been made in this breakdown (WBS) (Work Breakdown Structure) generally.

2. The content of the activity is the productions. Namely all productions that have different format and breakdown in the estimation must have the different format and detail in the activities as well as in the work program.

3. For each activity or all production positions that consist of the activities, unit or persons which are responsible for follow up of the activity or realization of the activity must be determinable. Otherwise "Daily Work Orders", which is the basic function of a work program can not be reported and taken according to the relevant staff or the person.

4.  Footage values of all productions related with the activity must be entered. These values, which determine the scope of the activity are necessary for determination of the period of the activity.

5. All monetary values related with the activity must be entered. It is necessary for determination of the budget and the cash flow.

6. The realized amount of each activity during the performance of the work must be entered.

7. Quantitative values of the last level resources of the activity are needed for determination of quantitative and time scale of purchase or manpower need amounts.

8. Estimated period of these activities must be determined. In fact, the other factor that determines this is the staff efficiencies.

9. Index of relationship of these activities between each other, namely the relationship type of the previous activity, subsequent activity and this relationship index (SS, FS, SF, FF) must be determined. SS: Start to Start, FS: Finish to Start, SF: Start to Finish, FF: Finish to Finish.

Need to be performed during the planning phase: As it can be understood from here, planning programs need data, footage, analysis, unit price, estimation, scoring and similar databases. And the data obtained from the planning are the data which will be used for determination of the time scale of the modules on which decisions like purchase, budget, work orders, payment decisions, cash flow, budget, progress payment formation, and staff optimization will be recorded and reported.



As it can be seen in this phases, all data of the project is in interaction with the other. The data to be accessible and assessed in each phase and each module must be in the possible lowest detail for accurate management decisions.  This can be achieved only by ERP systems specifically structured for the industry.

As it was seen in the content of the measurement and assessment, ensuring control on the data and interaction and sharing of the data within the system is the most important element. I think that management made without reaching these data and assessing them should not be confused with the "Construction Management" phenomen, but rather it must called as "Construction Command and Control".

When we observe the construction firms in the world platform, we feel strikingly that system, tool and standardization of the construction management are directly proportional to the country's development and culture level.Vast majority of construction companies has not passed to project management from command and control yet.In substantial majority of the companies, Excel program is the only tool that hosts all data and constitutes the company memory in each phase of the construction project management.

All phases of the construction management and all studies solved and found in these phases must be assessed within the systems appropriate for modern technology.

The success in project management can be only achieved by consolidation of the management art and the management science. ERP systems are the crossing point of the management art and the management science, and the indispensable tool of the management science. Within the modern technology, it is impossible to think any phase of the project management out of the ERP systems.

And other important development that can be achieved in construction management lies in the skill of contractors and working technical staff in measuring and assessing themselves with regard to "where they are now and where they should have been".