Project and construction management

As an experienced and mostly client side pharmaceutical consultant, I’m often asked if a Project and Construction Management method is the best out of the following 3 project delivery methods,

  1. Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) / Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management (EPCM),
  2. Design and Construct (D&C), or lastly
  3. Project and Construction Management (PCM).

The answer is, well it depends. In this 3 series of blogs, I will expand on the different contract types, list pro and cons and highlight some specific considerations for more complex projects such as medical device, pharmaceutical or veterinary facilities and then let you decide.

Project and Construction Management (PCM)

Overview

A main project manager or project management company is appointed by the principle to plan, control, organize and co-ordinate the project with the brief to manage the design and construction of the project from conception to completion.

The principal engages the other consultants and the contractors directly, it is usual for the principal not engage a single head contractor, by engaging each party individually or subgroups, the principal retains control of the project, but communicates with all consultants and contractors via the project manager. This model is often used to deliver complex projects on a fast-track basis.

A common variation of this method is break the design and construction phases into two parts call ‘package contracting’ method, so the principal separately engages design consultants and construction managers to manage the trade contractors. That means that the initial project manager is not responsible for the entire project but will be responsible for managing an individual trade contractor and its relevant design consultant until construction.

Contractual relationships

It should be noted that other delivery methods use a project manager in the role of principal’s representative.

Advantages

  • Expertise – The project manager provides expert advice in selecting designers/contractors, as well as giving the principal practical advice throughout the building process,
  • Fast – early work packages can be started while finalising design and the scope of other work packages,
  • Flexible – The principal has more flexibility – usually can amend individual package contracts (without the cost and time),
  • Control – The principal retains control over the entire project life-cycle,
  • Cost control – The project manager assists with budget and cost control,
  • Collaboration – Promotes greater collaboration in delivery.

Disadvantages

  • Risk – total project cost risk lies with principle,
  • Expensive – contract administration is costlier,
  • Accountability – no single point of accountability,
  • Complex – need to manage a greater number of contractual interfaces.

More information on the other project management blogs  –

Engineering Procurement Construction Management (EPCM)

Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC)

Design and Construction (D&C)

Project and Construction Management (PCM)