Project Controls – An Introduction
- October 11, 2023
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You don’t need us to tell you that construction projects are complicated. Every building is different, and every project has its own unique challenges. Even seemingly simple buildings can be impacted by delays, cost overruns and other problems.
So, when we are juggling multiple variables, how can we maintain quality, deliver on time and within the budget? Whilst every project may be different, the way we go about managing them should remain consistent.
These processes for analysing and managing cost and time are what’s known as project controls. This is what is going to help keep your project on track, whether you are building a house, hospital or even something as complicated as an airport or nuclear power station.
What are Project Controls?
Project controls are a series of functions designed to help you measure, forecast and improve your construction project. They cover a wide range of areas from planning and scheduling, change management, document control and reporting. Even areas such as BIM, Digital Twins and the wider realm of information management come under the project controls umbrella.
Core functions usually included in project controls are:
- Project Planning and Scheduling
- Risk Management
- Cost Control
- Change Management
- Analysis, Reporting and Forecasting
- Performance Management
- Project Administration
Who carries out project controls?
Project controls often sit under the project management function, but the two are not the same. Project managers look at the whole of the project; the people, the processes, the output. They need to look at the quality of the works and the scope, as well as the cost and time elements.
It is often helpful to have project control staff sitting elsewhere – perhaps external to a project. Their function is to focus on time and money. They should work closely with the project manager, but they will also need to work with the supply chain, finance department, procurement and technical teams.
Why are they important?
Without strong project controls, your projects will fail. Research suggests that 98% of mega projects are either late, over budget or both. Some might say that is inevitable when it comes to buildings on such a scale. But it doesn’t have to be inevitable.
Getting your project processes right can make all the difference. If your project is planned properly, you reduce the risks of delays. If you are monitoring and updating your controls and records throughout the project, you can spot the warning signs of trouble and step into action.
If all else fails, if you find yourself in a dispute, good project controls will mean you have the records to substantiate your claims.
Need more help?
Having someone dedicated to project controls can be the difference between a profitable project and failure. Our experienced team can help you set up achievable and realistic budgets and programmes. We can spot those early warnings that things might be about to go off track and help you make adjustments accordingly.
Get in touch with the team today and find out more about how we can support your projects.