This book develops a specific viewpoint in discussing the participants, the processes and the techniques of project management for construction. This viewpoint is that of owners who desire completion of projects in a timely, cost-effective fashion. Some profound implications for the objectives and methods of project management result from this perspective:

  • The “life cycle” of costs and benefits from initial planning through operation and disposal of a facility are relevant to decision making. An owner is concerned with a project from the cradle to the grave. Construction costs represent only one portion of the overall life cycle costs.
  • Movement toward a circular economy in the built environment with its emphasis on closed materials loops is motivating owners to consider opportunities to extend, reuse and recycle. Such “cradle to cradle” thinking requires extending the knowledge in this book to demolition, deconstruction, deep renovation and adaptive reuse projects as well.
  • Optimizing performance at one stage of the process may not be beneficial overall if additional costs or delays occur elsewhere. For example, saving money on the design process will be a false economy if the result is excess construction costs.
  • Fragmentation of project management among different specialists may be necessary, but good communication and coordination among the participants is essential to accomplish the overall goals of the project. Information technologies are instrumental in this process, yet they do not preclude the need for team building, leadership and soft skills as well.
  • Productivity improvements are always of importance and value. As a result, introducing new materials and more automated construction processes is always desirable as long as they are less expensive, safe, and are consistent with desired performance.
  • Quality of work and performance are critically important to the success of a project since it is the owner who will have to live with the results.
  • Health and safety are moral imperatives, and they critically impact owners’ reputations.

In essence, adopting the viewpoint of the owner focuses attention on the cost effectiveness of facility construction rather than competitive provision of services by the various participants.

While this book is devoted to a particular viewpoint with respect to project management for construction, it is not solely intended for owners and their direct representatives. By understanding the entire process, all participants can respond more effectively to the owner’s needs in their own work, in marketing their services, and in communicating with other participants. In addition, the specific techniques and tools discussed in this book (such as economic evaluation, scheduling, estimating, management information systems, etc.) can be readily applied to any portion of the process.

As a result of the focus on the effective management of entire projects, a number of novel organizational approaches and techniques become of interest. First and foremost is the incentive to replace confrontation and adversarial relationships with a spirit of joint endeavor, partnership and accomplishment. For example, we discuss the appropriate means to evaluate risks and the appropriate participants to assume the unavoidable risks associated with constructed facilities. Scheduling, communication of data, quality assurance, as-built information, and operating information have particular significance from the viewpoint of an owner, but not necessarily for individual participants. This holds true for project social and environmental impacts as well. The use of information technology and automation continue to provide new opportunities for increased productivity in all these processes. Presenting such up-to-date management options in a unified fashion is a major objective of this book.

The unified viewpoint of the entire process of project management in this book differs from nearly all other literature on the subject. Most textbooks in the area treat special problems, such as cost estimating, from the viewpoint of particular participants such as construction managers or contractors. This literature reflects the fragmentation of the construction process among different organizations and professionals. Even within professions such as civil, architectural and construction engineering, there are quite distinct groups of specialists in planning, design, management, construction and other sub-specialties. Fragmentation of interest and attention also exists in nearly all educational programs. While specialty knowledge may be essential to accomplish particular tasks, participants in the process should also understand the context and role of their special tasks.

This book is intended primarily as a text for advanced undergraduates, beginning graduate students or professionals continuing their education in engineering, construction, architecture or facilities management. Examples and discussion are chosen to remind readers that project management is a challenging, dynamic and exciting enterprise and not just a record of past practices. It should also be useful to professionals who wish an up-to-date reference on project management.

Chapters 1 to 3 present an overview of the construction management and design process which should be of interest to anyone engaged in project management for construction. One need not have detailed knowledge about individual tasks or techniques for this part. Individuals can read these chapters and understand the basic philosophy and principles without further elaboration.

Chapters 4 through 14 describe specific functions and techniques useful in the process of project management. This part presents techniques and requirements during project planning, including risk management, cost estimation, forecasting and economic evaluation. It is during this planning and design phase in which major cost savings may be obtained during the eventual construction and operation phases. It also addresses programming and financing issues, such as contracting and bidding for services, financing, organizing communication and insuring effective use of information. It further discusses techniques for control of time, cost and quality during the construction phase. Beginning courses in engineering economics (including cash flow analysis and discounting), probability and statistics would be useful. Furthermore, access to a personal computer with spreadsheet or equation solving software will be helpful for readers attempting some of the problems in Chapters 4 to 14. Numerous software packages could be used for this purpose, including spreadsheet, equation solving, and plotting software. Problems in some chapters can also be done on popular software packages for information management and project scheduling. Some have introductory cloud-based service options that are free and useful to students, such as However, the use of personal computers is not absolutely necessary in following the text material. Each instructor may exercise discretion in omitting some of the material in these chapters if they are redundant with other classes or too advanced for students in his or her own class.

It is our hope that students beginning their career in project management for construction will be prepared to adopt the integrated approach emphasized in this book. Furthermore, experienced professionals in various fields may discover in this book some surprises that even they have not anticipated. High level decision makers in owner organizations who are not directly involved in the project management process may find the basic philosophy and principles of interest, especially in Chapters 1 through 3, as owners must invariably pay for constructed facilities, for better or worse. If the book can fulfill even a small part of its promises to influence the future of project management for construction, our efforts will have been amply rewarded.

For version 4 (2024), a number of new examples, updates and references have been inserted throughout the text. For example, there are new discussions of AI, lean construction, green buildings and circular economy in the built environment. However, the basic structure and methods remain the same. The fundamentals of project management treated here are timeless.