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BY: Creamer Media Reporter

The construction industry in South Africa over the past decade has become one of the most strained industries in the country. New construction projects are far and few between, with those which are being awarded having very tight budgets, accelerated schedules and contracts which typically favour the client at the contractor’s detriment. Because of this, putting together a detailed project plan from tender phase and making sure execution follows this plan has become one of the imperative keys for a contractor to successfully complete a project.

At ELB Construction Pty (Ltd) “ELBCON”, we approach planning on a project in a holistic way, making sure all aspects are captured and that all senior members of the team have continuous input. This has allowed for much more streamlined execution with proper monitoring and controlling of our projects. In turn this has made the directing and managing of our projects, from the senior management team down to the resources executing the work in the field, able to function with ease.

Our process starts off at the tender phase of a project, as this is often the point where if done wrong, can cause a project to fail before it has even begun. During this phase, the tender team collect as much information as possible through, meeting with the client, project sponsors, suppliers and relevant stakeholders to define the project constraints.

With all the requirements collected by the tender team through, meetings, the contract scope document, drawings and site visits, the project plan is then compiled by the tendering team, which then allows the project manager, construction site manager and the planner to begin compiling the project schedule with the defined constraints (mainly cost, time and technical requirements). The schedule is reviewed intensively during a workshop by the project management team (project manager and construction manager) and approved and signed off by the relevant parties putting the tender together, as well as those who will have to execute the plan. This allows for buy-in from the related parties prior to the work even being awarded, making it easy to implement and follow the schedule if and when the project goes ahead.

After the project has been awarded, the team sits down again in a workshop, this time including supervisors, quality controllers and key artisans, to develop a level 9 construction schedule for the execution of the project. This schedule is completely resource loaded (in alignment with the original project schedule) and properly analysed for the critical path and risks associated to enable proper and more accurate monitoring and controlling. ELBCON makes sure that sign-off requirements are properly defined at this stage and are included in the development of our quality control procedures and that these aspects are included in the schedule as well. By doing this we are able to control scope creep and allow a holistic strategy to execute the project plan.

The project team follows the schedule and improves it where required with the approval of the construction and project manager. One of the most important parts of a project plan is to make sure it is continuously reviewed and revised throughout a project life-cycle to make sure it stays relevant to new constraints which may arise.

At ELBCON we utilise a number of tools that feed the project team with project performance information to make informed decisions in directing and controlling the project throughout this life cycle. These include:

  • Construction schedules
  • Trackers (progress, deliveries and installation)
  • S-curves and EVM curves
  • Safety stats
  • Quality registers
  • Stakeholder weekly progress meeting.

With the correct planning and input done upfront in our projects and the tools being utilised continuously and correctly, ELBCON is able to make sure we complete projects according to the original plan, meeting or even exceeding our clients expectations and making sure we are able to continue to prosper no matter how strained the industry continues to be.

ELB Construction provides the complete suite of construction and maintenance services to deliver a project that fully meets our clients’ expectations to the Mining, Power, Port, Construction and Industrial sectors. ELB Construction is committed to executing projects with Zero Harm, to world-class quality standards, with tight control over costing and that are on schedule. As a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowered (BBBEE) contributor, ELB Construction supports the objectives of transformation through our people development and procurement strategy.

ELB Engineering Services is an internationally recognised technology driven holistic solutions provider to the mining, power, port, construction and industrial sectors. This is achieved through ELB generated innovation, supply of equipment and technology from our world class partners, in-house developed expertise and integration of the services and products from the ELB Group of companies.