The following report is based upon a continued professional development assessment (CPD). The purpose is to keep track of my progress as an organizational manager in order to meet the expectations and be accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), where my goals are to earn extended rights to practice in my profession. My position is a construction manager (CM) with an antecedent degree in engineering and business related minor programs, and gathered 28 year’s experience in the construction field. I am employed with Sharjah General Contracting (SGC), a management contracting and engineering company. SGC has personnel with diverse background and experience providing an extensive range of services. These services include helping our clients with building permit applications, building code interpretation and compliance review, performance based design, and legal opinions. Our projects entail a range of projects that require services offering estimating and building cost solutions to clients including owners, architects, developers, engineers, project managers, strata managers, and legal firms. Over the last 15 years, we have inherited a track record performing investigations for several abandoned projects or projects with schedules going awry. SGC would assume the role of unfinished projects and ensure comfort for the client.
The philosophy and responsibility upon which I am dedicated to is devoting my years of experience as a professional engineer and eventually as a construction manager to ensure the highest quality for my firm and my clients. I continue to strive values service and forward my expertise to all personnel in my firm and render all those employed by SGC of equal value as part of company policy. In addition to my services to SGC’s prosperity, I draw our clients with valued service consisting of innovation, cost-effectiveness, professional design objectiveness creation, and compliance to building safety standards. Over the years with SGC, I have been tasked and eventually inherited company shares as one of the main principals of the company. Besides being instrumental and overseeing complex building construction, a compulsory criteria for being a senior estimator and construction manager, I help prepare future personnel seeking employment in my field to achieve a level of responsibility and professionalism, whatever their plans may be.
2.0 Achievement and Contribution
One of the most significant reminders of my achievements was the way in which I had to organize my success to reach my target goals. Each of my projects required a sophisticated tracking system I eventually formulated for myself to maintain the expected progress over 18 months. My main task as a construction manager was applying quantitative and qualitative measures to both external and internal company functions. Evidently the change processes I either experienced or encouraged portrayed essential meaning of my participation on behalf of the company being challenged with pressure and support. The changes demanded I also behaved as a teacher to personnel analogous to college teachers instructing young apprentices (Broad & Evans, 2006). My initial experience as a practicing engineer assisted me in motivating my team to effectively handle estimating large projects, preparing budgets, scheduling, and formulating participants for work in progress once SGC was awarded the contract. My education enlisted me in branching to a diverse field where my design experience enabled me to recognize discrepancies in future designs. I essentially became the hub (the go-to person and mentor) for my personnel because of my experience introducing changes to SGC’s functional model by encouraging personnel to consult with their team leader such as myself that has saved financial grief. Otherwise any personnel that proceed blindly and unsurely about their tasks would have drastic results in the near future, for himself and for SGC.
2.1 Quantitative Measures
Since SGC presents a quota of bids to maintain its financial survival every month, I was tasked with the responsibility of ensuring all estimators were accurate in their bids in a timely manner. I asked each of my team members to set their own goals with the expected goal in mind to ensure target dates are met. Pressure to complete a timely task was inevitable, but my emphasizing them on their own targets motivated my personnel to perform sophisticatedly instead of the concept of being obligated to perform. Since the projects I dealt with were set on a preliminary schedule with multiple deadlines, I had to make the assumption that each deadline was being met without any interruptions. The only possibility to increase company profits by efficiently reviewing all bids to observe not only what is included in the pricing, but also how they were presented. Rather than merely dictating to my staff the presentation was important, I fully explained the reasons why the presentation would positively impact the client with very little questioning. However, I taught them how to negotiate the bids prior to submission to project administrators in order to be awarded the contract.
Generally my department faced many challenges when it came to bidding. Early on in my career with SGC, this was one of my first opportunities to prove myself with maintaining the integrity of my department. For example, the scope of work suddenly changed, and I witnessed unfavourable reactions from my department. In spite of careful estimates, I had to make many judgements on behalf of my department. To improve work habits and company moral, I encouraged the fact that our company was chosen for a good reason to be part of the bid. Making others feel important while under pressure kept their motivation at their peaks and made it possible for them to formulate accurate bids or at least arrive very closely to being awarded contracts because of their determination I magnified. Rather than the concept of hard work, I prioritized effective work to complete a complex project. As a further incentive to work efficiently, for each estimator involved in successful bids, they were granted bonuses in their salary. Bonuses encouraged my staff to become warier in their work and have keen senses of details that are essential to being an estimator that is the driving and profiting force for SGC. Personnel felt more valuable in receiving their fair share of the projects they were involved with.
2.2 Qualitative Measures
Sometimes being awarding contracts does not necessarily imply financial success. However, the projection of the project is unpredictable. I created a business model of suggesting the most practical workmanship for SGC. To be and appear simultaneously successful, I frequently formed teams to be assigned to particular projects to encourage strong internal workmanship. My previous experiences as an engineer taught me that pursuing any project to magnify financial reinforcement was a fallacy. The project as well as the client may be difficult. Ensuring the work in progress was as critical as the bidding price. I had my staff treat each project in progress equally important but to create a unique performance schedule to encourage the smoothness of the project. They managed to allow space in the time schedule to forecast any problems on the site in order to make quick decisions in providing solutions to maintain a timely schedule.
Ideally the project working drawings represented the definite method of the finished product. But the method upon which how various aspects of the project was applied was flexible. My experience with SGC enabled me to manipulate project applications. This included shortages in site personnel when labor was required. When this occurred, my task was to reroute various sources from one division to another to also maintain the timely schedule. At times SGC sustained financial losses but ended up being minimal since my staff being reliable resources created some room to relocate their knowledgeable talents. This strategy helped regained financial losses when SCG was challenged by the recession. I maintained the work quality while also retaining minimal labor. When managing time constraints and dependent personnel became our recorded signature, many clients observed SGC as a reputable company capable of project commitment.
3.0 Project Leadership
The challenge of being part of the management team is not only managing your personnel, internally or externally, but also the hired sub-trades involved in work in progress. As a leader in project management, and as the term implies, I was responsible for motivating my personnel and those of the sub-trade companies we in turn awarded bidding contracts to. I was to think like a community manager because I understood that construction projects impacted local communities. Effective communication before and during work in progress was mandatory to keep in good grounds with communities. When frequently managing projects, I had to ensure ethical practices and respect for neighbors and local communities were sincerely met. Whenever a change in the project was proposed, I immediately informed the community of any changes. Managing both sides of the project (SGC personnel and the community) were essential to bring harmony and was a key component to a people-led project. I have pioneered SGC’s people-led projects by formulating teams of personnel suitable to work in tandem and performed the same strategy for local communities who had the knowledge of major city projects. My suggested strategy became highly recognized especially for residential projects where potential clients living in residential buildings often sparked the most concerns as being more permanently present in their neighbourhood.
Besides leading essential teams and stakeholders with work in progress, I was to frequently submit my progress reports to CMI after assessment from SGC’s senior staff. The purpose was to ensure I was still employed with SGC with continued supervision in order to earn my accreditation. Managing work in progress was a challenge in itself. But constant communication with neighbors was a greater challenge. As aforementioned, my project scheduling skills made a positive impact on each of my projects with my personnel being awarded with recognition. I carefully staged each project by capturing time slots for hiatus time in between each stage. The reason was to allow for preparation in communicating with internal and site personnel prior to discussing progress with the community. Although I was instrumental in preparing a project schedule to identity when and where sub-trades would participate in their scope of work, regularly reviewing and revising the schedules reduced much misunderstanding and future miscommunication with sub-trades. The sub-trades were, in fact surprised at the scheduling reviews because the schedule updates reminded them of their responsibilities they were previously unaware of. This review helped the community as well, as they were initially of the impacts specific sub-trades and various stages of the projects would impact them. I crated resolutions ahead of time with them to form an agreement and transitioned presentations between communities and site personnel.
4.0 Managing Change
In order to bring about change, creativity, and innovation among my personnel, I began an internal procedure. I concluded preparing for positive changes internally would reflect better changed externally. The office personnel was the lifeblood of external operations on site. How this is measured is the internal personnel have steady positions with perpetual filing, invoicing, accounting, and estimating for projects out for tender. As I completed more successful bids on behalf of SGC, I acknowledged the fact I was responsible for many improvements. After my years of experience, I had my staff formulate track records based on our past projects for the purpose of checking their credentials when it came to handling new projects proposed by past clients. This procedure was followed by the same research for sub-trades I awarded contracts to and phase away the sub-trade companies I found were not worth the effort to hire. SGC accepted my innovation of categorizing the top and most favourable clients to deal with, whether they are property or strata owners, management, or corporate property investors. My talent of creating a tracking system for all other office personnel to view at their leisure brought many opportunities for SGC when new and upcoming bids were out for tender. This naturally required frequent staff meetings to introduce a new software for client tracking.
The training took a number of weeks while setting a deadline to fully launch our tracking system that eventually became an important tool when passing on my skills for others to learn internally (Davey, Powell, Cooper & Powell, 2004). During this transition, I began the notion of using the same tracking system to integrate our preferred client and sub-trade list to office personnel. At a steady pace, after completing the tracking integration, I introduced the tracking to our external personnel in dealing with stakeholders with work in progress. Having an automated system provided prompt and streamlined service for our site staff in maintaining reputations of our suppliers. Our lines of contacts toward our subsequent stakeholders gave us the incentive to introduce our corporate circle in order for SGC to work comfortably to understand the roles of each firm involved in site projects and how they operated in tandem.
What became a useful tool was every time we sent invitation bids we often received contacts or bids from sub-trades unknown to us or rarely dealt with. My personnel, from my mentoring, learned efficiently how to utilize the elimination process to benefit SGC project involvement. When we detect any unknown faces, I ensured all office personnel rerouted all this vital information directly to me to make an informed decision. An unnecessary risky decision may affect some stakeholders dealing with SGC otherwise. When companies unfamiliar to us approach SGC, we request a track record and accreditation to ensure their validity in the field.
5.0 Principle Learning Lessons
The purpose of taking the responsibility to lead and manage was to identify, not only where SGC personnel was lacking, but they could improve. When I began my career with SGC, the personnel was well informed and coherent with what their job descriptions dictated. But somehow, many employees were unknowledgeable of the many activities permeating throughout SGC. For example, when disputes erupted between office and site personnel, or between our superintendents and the sub-trades, I acted a mediator to resolve some issues. Some disputes were inevitable, but I discovered many expedient methods to reduce the level of disputes by presenting all documented data as resources to settle disputes. On a project site the most common conflicts I was summoned to were scheduling and the change to the scope of work for particular trades. Most view conflict as negative. However, I developed a strategy of turning the extremes of conflict into something positive by brainstorming possible solutions. To avoid the worst of conflicts, whenever a sub-trade is scheduled to perform at a specific time, I arrange for negotiation with their supervisors prior to beginning their scope of work. I would take them on a preliminary tour of the site to become familiar with what is to be expected and with what other sub-trades present they may impact or are intertwined with.
Most conflicts of my experience were caused by misunderstandings because do not think about the root of the problem. Hence, that is the reason I prefer to also resolve conflicts in writing. I forward the progress report to upcoming sub-trades to ensure they agree with our site policies and to respect other sub-trades working concurrently on site. Calling a time-out session frequently with each sub-trade helps reduce further misunderstandings. Once an agreement is reached, I once again follow-up in writing for better clarification of the resolution and the procedures to be followed on site. If the conflict involves a cost discrepancy, I offer a breakdown in my estimates of what and why they are included, as change notices often result in extra costs. Mostly this is a conflict occurring with property management. However, I normally plan this resolution prior to signing a contract to ensure the costs do not exceed or fall too low within a range of pricing.
As a senior estimator for SGC, it was my responsibility to ensure my staff to be thorough in their work, instead of taking on projects blindly. One priority was ensuring compliant plans designed by a registered architect. My staff detected many errors on plans that were overlooked by the architect. When anything non-compliant on plan is left unresolved, they may have repercussions during work in progress, and ultimately may not pass inspection. When a project does not pass inspection, this would cause conflict between SGC and the property owner or client. Most design professional prefer not to be told their designs are incorrect. However, if correcting the plans to avoid future conflict will help, I respectfully inform the architect with resources relating to our local building codes. My presentation is not based upon a subjective overview but based upon a legal document to be compliant with the code. Also at times, I would task my personnel with duties they were unaware would improve their skills. After a project is completed successfully, I explained my reasons for doing so differently than their usual tasks.
I suggested keeping a track record of personnel would be beneficial to SGC when it requires new staff. The purpose is not to evaluate their performances but to also understanding their positions, job descriptions and responsibilities. Additionally emergency procedures need to be dealt with in the event a staff member is away on holidays or is ill. Having a record of personnel responsibilities would be useful to select the next suitable person to assume the role the staff member in question. When important skills are shared amongst personnel, relocating them shall reduce panic while simultaneously maintaining an efficient company. When staff member is suddenly absent from his or her work, scheduling problems and financial challenges often emerge without a viable secondary plan in place. Having a viable plan shall be mandatory regardless of the size of a company or department because one person assuming the role of another is a demanding task. But if the plan is in place for such emergencies, customer satisfaction will continue to flourish without major and noticeable interruptions.
6.0 Future Learning Plans
Managing SGC personnel is only as satisfactory as the finished product we propose. In order to maintain the best grounds with our clients, I am encouraging frequent preliminary meetings to provide mutual understanding and ensure our future agreements on projects. I suggested to SGC management that we worked towards negotiations for select tenders. In other words, instead of future bidding where we compete with other construction management companies, we can be ultimately selected as the general contractor and tender out for sub-trade pricing. Our negotiation will entail an agreement upon a percentage of work that bid to the same client as long as their continued satisfaction prevails. For example, we will continue receiving bid invitations from a specific client and give the opportunity, and ample time t review the potential project. Our decision will be based upon whether the project is feasible for us at the understanding of the client. Finding the project feasible will not necessarily guarantee we be selected as the successful candidate, but we will be seriously considered to be selected. We will receive 70 percent of the work tendered out by the client. Landing the privilege of select tendering can save SGC extravagant time and effort instead of struggling against competing general contractors. The cash flow needs to be steady in order to meet our monthly financial goals. I consecutively selected my personnel to assist or shadow me during our negotiations and encouraged them to input any information they find necessary and make any inquiries to our potential clients. Having them involved was a practical way to help them improve customer service and experience.
Viewing the designs before they are finalized is an expedient method for saving time and reducing conflicts. Once we are selected as the general contractor, having preliminary meetings with clients especially prior to inviting sub-trade companied to bid may detect issues with the planning at an early stage (Ruiz, 2004). Perhaps inviting the design professionals may also significantly reduce future conflicts with sub-trades. By being informed about the design stage throughout its transition toward finalization, I would be able to forecast where problems may occur or where they are non-compliant with the building codes.
Behaviors and reactions will surely vary per project, but retaining records for similar projects may save time and grief in serve as source in the event a conflict does occur. My goal will be to retain the most successful projects for future reference, not solely based upon financial success or contract wards, but also in which they proceeded with minimum conflicts. Hence, I will be stressing quality over quantity.
Occasionally I participate in the interviewing process for new personnel, and I am active in this process for the estimating department because of my profession. I forward the notion of securing their positions based upon their education, experience and where their education will fit with SGC. It would be nonsensical to place someone in a department totally conflicting with their education. Experience, on the other hand, will follow if they lack sufficient experience, but their education shall be put into relevant practice.
7.0 Claim Corroboration
In the beginning, I would select the internal personnel to support my sources and experience. My years of experience with SGC have been kept on record based upon annual performance reviews. Fortunately, I was allowed to retain a copy of my performance reviews because the written word itself provides credibility for me to be assessed for accreditation. My experienced personnel in my department may be the first selection to recommend me followed by my fellow senior managers. As senior management recognizes my drive and functionality among the ranks of SGC, this will bring about the credentials I recognized to practice in virtually any construction management company.
The individual I selected for my support is our site project manager. The reason for selecting the project manager is because he is my outside source for any activity occurring outside the internal functions of SGC. He is fully aware of my upcoming assessment and wishes to sincerely provide the information asked of him. Perhaps I could request one of the internal staff but they do not often interact with our on site staff as much as I do. Most internal staff operates within the confines of the offices of SGC. I am positive their corroboration will assist me equally but at the same level of the site project manager. I selected him as the best candidate because his resources revolving about my experience with SGC shall provide the assessment of my claim that I am resourceful in and with various departments beyond my profession.
Following any assessment or interview with assessors, I may be asked to provide a list of reference to be added to also support the claims and the corroborator’s claims regarding my performance. As a safety measure, I have asked a few personnel to act in support of the project manager for my assessment and understand my purpose of being assessed.
Broad, K. & Evans, M. A Review of Literature on Professional Development Content And Delivery Modes For Experienced Teachers. Initial Teacher Education Program. 2006.
Ruiz, F.P. Run A Successful Construction Company. Fine Home Building. 01 June 2004.
Davey, C. Powell, J. Cooper, I. & Powell, J. Innovation, Construction SMEs And Action Learning. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management. 2004.