The Best First Step Toward a Career in Construction Management
Barbara J. Jackson
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Construction Management JumpStart
The Best First Step Toward a Career in Construction Management
Barbara J. Jackson
Table of contents
About This Book
The bestselling introduction to the field, updated and expanded
Construction Management Jumpstart is the definitive introduction to the field, providing a detailed walkthrough of each stage of a project from the construction manager's perspective. Authoritative coverage of fundamental concepts and practices clearly delineates the manager's role, while step-by-step guidance provides valuable instruction for essential management duties. This new third edition has been updated to reflect the field's current environment and best practices, giving students a highly-relevant introduction to an evolving industry. Three new chapters include insightful discussion of the pre-construction phase, team management, and sustainability; challenging chapter review questions help reinforce important concepts and help translate them to practice.
Construction managers work alongside project managers, and use many of the same tried-and-true techniques—but construction managers must also adhere to a vast array of industry-specific standards and regulations. This book helps you build a foundation in critical concepts and practices while tailoring traditional project management techniques to the construction management sphere.
Understand essential management roles and responsibilities for each stage of a construction project
Learn how to estimate costs, administer contracts, manage operations, monitor performance, assess risks, and more
Explore critical concepts in planning and scheduling that help keep projects running on-time and on-budget
Discover how Building Information Modeling software is impacting the industry, and how it affects construction management
Evolving regulations, advancing technology, and economies in flux all impact the construction industry in a number of ways; management's job is to clear obstacles to delivery and streamline the project's completion. To be effective, construction managers must stay up to date on the latest tools and best practices, and have a strong grasp of the fundamentals of the role. Construction Management Jumpstart provides a practical, highly-relevant introduction to the field.
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The construction industry is vast and varied. Just take a look around—from homes to highways to hospitals—and you see the results of this industry. Starting with the need for shelter, we first built primitive huts and houses. Then we constructed buildings for assembly and churches in which to worship. As our needs expanded, so did our building capabilities. We eventually built political capitals, great cities bustling with business and commerce. Though the means and the methods have changed over the centuries, the construction industry is still about building communities that serve people.
Construction is big, big business—reaching $10.6 trillion in spending worldwide in 2017, and projected to reach $12.7 trillion by 2022, and $15.5 trillion by 2030, according to the Construction Intelligence Center, Orbis Research, and other sources. And there appears to be no slowdown in sight. The industry employs more than 7 million people directly (plumbers, carpenters, welders, and so on) and hundreds of thousands more indirectly. It gives rise to the steel industry, the lumber industry, the carpet industry, the furniture industry, the paint industry, the concrete industry, the paving industry, and so on. It goes even further than that if you consider the trucking, shipping, manufacturing, and mining industries. Architects, engineers, drafts people, building inspectors, code officials, and other professionals would not have jobs if it weren't for construction. As construction projects become increasingly more complex, the challenges associated with managing these projects become more complicated. The need for qualified construction managers is tremendous, and opportunities abound for those interested in the work.
Let's take a closer look at the construction industry and the position it has in our economy and our lives.
The Scope of the Industry
Let's first make sure that you understand what construction is really all about. I have found that most people, including many who are already engaged in construction, do not understand the significance of the industry. So, let's start by considering the scope and the magnitude of construction and take a look at its impact on our society and our economy.
“It's Just Construction”
In my experience, the average observer of construction regards the process as rather insignificant and inconsequential—nothing special, nothing unique, not an industry of any major importance—mostly filled with non-influential blue-collar macho types. After all, when compared to medicine or law or even architecture, the common notion is “it's just construction.” This is why our great buildings and structures are typically identified only with the designer, and not with who built them. The contractor is incidental. Let me give you a few recent examples to drive home my point.
The distinctive architectural designs of Frank Gehry are known all over the world. One of his newest creations, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, is “the most challenging of all Frank's buildings…an enormously complicated structure because of the curved shapes and intricate joinery,” according to Terry Bell, project architect for Gehry Partners, LLP, as quoted on the Walt Disney Concert Hall website. The website mentions that “extraordinary state-of-the-art construction techniques” were needed for the Concert Hall—“[o]ne of the most technically advanced structures in the world, [with] its lack of right angles and the overall sculptural quality.” At any one time as many as 550 construction workers were on-site to transform the concrete and steel into one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world. However, you would be hard-pressed to find one mention of the building contractor of this magnificent construction feat in the popular press or on the Concert Hall's website. Not one single mention! This incredible construction challenge was accomplished by the M.A. Mortenson Company.
Let's consider another example. In 2002, the third-largest cathedral in the world and the first cathedral to be built in the United States in more than a quarter of a century was constructed in downtown Los Angeles. Designed by the world-renowned Spanish architect Professor Jose Rafael Moneo, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels stands 11 stories tall and weighs a whopping 151 million pounds. The cathedral rests on 198 base isolators so that it will float up to 27 inches in any direction during an 8-point magnitude earthquake. It has been stated that the design is so geometrically complex that none of the concrete forms could vary by more than 1/16th of an inch. Having visited the cathedral several times during its construction and been witness to the extraordinary efforts made by the construction team to ensure the quality of the design along with the requirements for the budget and schedule, I was very disappointed, again, not to find one mention of the contractor, Morley Builders, on the cathedral's website.
Consider any of our architectural jewels: the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) in Chicago, the Space Needle in Seattle, the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, and the Empire State Building in New York. With a little research, you would find that each of these buildings is easily identified with their designers. However, it would be a real challenge for you to discover that Morse Diesel International, Inc., was the builder of the Sears Tower, that Howard S. Wright Construction built the Space Needle, that the general contractor for the Transamerica Pyramid was Dinwiddie Construction (now Hathaway-Dinwiddie), and finally that Starrett Brothers & Eken, Inc., was the builder of the Empire State Building.
To me, not recognizing and acknowledging the contractor along with the designers of these buildings is a grave injustice—but, unfortunately, indicative of how our society views the construction industry. Apparently, to some people it is not very important. Well, let me explain why it is very important. Drawing a pretty picture on paper or calculating a complex engineering formula does not make a building real—construction does, and that takes tremendous creativity, ingenuity, tenacity, skill, blood, sweat, and tears. So remember, no matter how outstanding the design, it is not architecture until somebody builds it! “Just” construction? I don't think so!
Our society does not take the contributions of the construction industry very seriously. But it should, because without these contributions, this world would be a very bleak place. When you walk out of your office, home, or classroom today, just take a good look at the world around you. I want you to notice the houses, the churches, the hospitals, the shopping malls, the theaters, the baseball stadiums, the bridges, the streets, and even the cars driving around. None of these would exist without construction. There would be no cars or any other manufactured products because there would be no manufacturing plants—no Nike shoes, no McDonald's restaurants, and no iPhones. There would be no commerce, no transportation, and no manufacturing. Progress and construction go hand in hand—we can't have one without the other. Our society, our economy, and our culture are all dependent upon the construction industry. So, the next time you hear someone complaining about construction workers stirring up dust at the intersection or delaying their trip to work in the morning, I hope that you will take the time to point out what our world would be like without construction.
Let's put it all in perspective. Construction is one of the nation's largest industries, accounting for approximately 4.3 percent of the gross domestic product. It is larger than the automobile and steel industries put together. Housing starts (which are identified by building permits issued) are one of the major economic indicators reflecting the overall health and direction of our economy.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2017 ended with approximately $1.257.0 trillion worth of construction (all private and public sectors) put in place for the year. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that there are at least 791,772 private construction companies employing approximately 6.7 million people in the United States. Construction offers more opportunities than most other industries for individuals who want to own and run their own businesses, and statistically an additional 1.6 million individuals do just that.
Construction impacts the quality of life for every human being and plays a major role in all of society an...
Table of contents
Citation styles for Construction Management JumpStart
APA 6 Citation
Jackson, B. (2020). Construction Management JumpStart (3rd ed.). Wiley. Retrieved from https://www.perlego.com/book/1356961/construction-management-jumpstart-the-best-first-step-toward-a-career-in-construction-management-pdf (Original work published 2020)
Jackson, B. (2020) Construction Management JumpStart. 3rd edn. Wiley. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/1356961/construction-management-jumpstart-the-best-first-step-toward-a-career-in-construction-management-pdf (Accessed: 14 October 2022).