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Construction Management JumpStart / Edition 1

Construction Management JumpStart / Edition 1

by Barbara J. Jackson


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Launch Your Construction Management Career—Quickly and Effectively

Written by an experienced construction management specialist, Construction Management JumpStart provides all the core information you need, whether you're considering a new career or expanding your responsibilities:

  • Understanding the functions of construction management
  • Understanding the design and construction process
  • Working with contracts documents
  • Estimating project costs
  • Administering contracts
  • Managing the job site
  • Creating and maintaining a project schedule
  • Measuring project performance
  • Controlling quality
  • Ensuring project safety

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780782143362
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 09/15/2004
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 275,476
Product dimensions: 7.52(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.79(d)

About the Author

Barbara Jackson, is the CEO/President, Design-Build Services, Inc and Professor of Construction Management at California Polytechnic State University. She holds a B.S. Housing & Design/Construction Management, a Ph.D., Education & Human Resources, and is a licensed Class A Contractor.

Read an Excerpt

Construction Management JumpStart

By Barbara J. Jackson

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7821-4336-9

Chapter One

In This Chapter

The economic impact of construction

How construction was transformed from a craft to an industry

The four primary sectors of the construction industry

The roles of the project participants

Opportunities in construction management

The Construction Industry

The construction industry is vast and varied. Just take a look around-from homes to highways to hospitals-and you see the results of this industry. Starting with the need for shelter, we first built primitive huts and houses. Then we constructed buildings for assembly and churches in which to worship. As our needs expanded, so did our building capabilities. We eventually built political capitals, bustling with business and commerce. Though the means and the methods have changed over the centuries, the construction industry is still about building communities that serve people.

Construction is big business totaling over $3.4 trillion annually worldwide, and there is no slowdown in sight. The industry employs about seven million people directly (plumbers, carpenters, welders, and so on) and hundreds of thousands more indirectly. It gives rise to the steel industry, the lumber industry, the carpet industry, the furniture industry, the paint industry, the concrete industry, the paving industry, and so on. It goes even further than that if you consider the trucking, manufacturing, and mining industries. Architects, engineers, draftspersons, building inspectors, code officials, and other professionals would not have jobs if it weren't for construction. As construction projects become more and more complex, the challenges associated with the management of these projects become more complex. The need for qualified construction managers is tremendous and opportunities abound for those interested in the work.

Let's take a closer look at the construction industry and the position it has in our economy and our lives.

Scope of the Industry

Let's first make sure that you understand what construction is really all about. I have found that most people, including many who are already engaged in construction, do not understand the significance of the industry. So let's start by considering the scope and the magnitude of construction and take a look at its impact on our society and our economy.

It's Just Construction

In my experience, the average observer of construction regards the process as rather insignificant and inconsequential-nothing special, nothing unique, not an industry of any major importance-mostly filled with noninfluential blue collar macho types. After all, when compared to medicine, or law, or even architecture, the common notion is-it's just construction. It is why our great buildings and structures are typically identified only with the designer, and not with who built them. The contractor is incidental. Let me give you a few recent examples to drive home my point.

The distinctive architectural designs of Frank Gehry are known all over the world. One of his newest creations, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, is "the most challenging of all Frank's buildings ... an enormously complicated structure because of the curved shapes and intricate joinery," according to Terry Bell, project architect for Gehry Partners, LLP, quoted on the Walt Disney Concert Hall website. The website mentions that "extraordinary state-of-the-art construction techniques" were needed for the Concert Hall-"[o]ne of the most technically advanced structures in the world, [with] its lack of right angles and the overall sculptural quality." At any one time as many as 550 construction workers were on site to transform the concrete and steel into one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world. However, you would be hard-pressed to find one mention of the building contractor of this magnificent construction feat in the popular press or on the Concert Hall's website. Not one single mention! This incredible construction challenge was accomplished by the M.A. Mortenson Company.

Let's consider another example. In 2002, the third-largest cathedral in the world and the first cathedral to be built in the United States in over a quarter of a century was constructed in downtown Los Angeles. Designed by the world-renowned Spanish architect Professor Jose Rafael Moneo, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels stands eleven stories tall and weighs a whopping 151 million pounds. The Cathedral rests on 198 base isolators so that it will float up to 27 inches in any direction during an 8-point magnitude earthquake. It has been stated that the design is so geometrically complex that none of the concrete forms could vary by more than 1/16th of an inch. Having visited the Cathedral several times during its construction and been witness to the extraordinary efforts made by the construction team to ensure the quality of the design along with the requirements for the budget and schedule, I was very disappointed, again, not to find one mention of the contractor, Morley Builders, on the Cathedral's website.

Consider any of our architectural jewels: the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Space Needle in Seattle, the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, and the Empire State Building in New York. With a little research, you would find that each of these buildings is easily identified with their designers. However, it would be a real challenge for you to discover that Morse Diesel International Inc. was the builder of the Sears Tower, that Howard S. Wright Construction built the Space Needle, that the general contractor for the Transamerica Pyramid was Dinwiddie Construction (now Hatheway-Dinwiddie), and finally that Starrett Brothers & Eken Inc. was the builder of the Empire State Building.

To me, not recognizing and acknowledging the contractor along with the designers of these buildings is a grave injustice-but, unfortunately, indicative of how our society views the construction industry. Apparently, to some people it is not very important. Well, let me explain why it is very important. Drawing a pretty picture on paper or calculating a complex engineering formula does not make a building real-construction does, and that takes tremendous creativity, ingenuity, tenacity, skill, blood, sweat, and tears. So remember, no matter how outstanding the design, it is not architecture until somebody builds it! "Just" construction? I don't think so!

Construction's Contribution

Our society does not take the contributions of the construction industry very seriously. But it should, because without these contributions, this world would be a very bleak place. When you walk out of your office, home, or classroom today, just take a good look at the world around you. I want you to notice the houses, the churches, the hospitals, the shopping malls, the theaters, the baseball stadiums, the bridges, the streets, and even the cars driving around. None of these would exist without construction. There would be no cars, or any other manufactured products, because there would be no manufacturing plants-no Nike shoes, no McDonald's restaurants, no Gap stores. There would be no commerce, no transportation, no manufacturing. Progress and construction go hand in hand-we can't have one without the other. Our society, our economy, and our culture are all dependent upon the construction industry. So the next time you hear someone complaining about construction workers stirring up dust at the intersection or delaying their trip to work in the morning, I hope that you will take the time to point out what our world would be like without construction.


When a building is notably impressive, people ask-who designed that wonderful building? But when a building design is particularly unimpressive, people ask-who built that eyesore? Why aren't people as curious about who builds the great structures as they are about who designed them?

Construction Statistics

Let's put it all in perspective. Construction is one of the nation's largest industries, accounting for approximately nine percent of the gross national product. It is larger than the automobile and steel industries put together. Housing starts (which are identified by building permits issued) are one of the major economic indicators reflecting the overall health and direction of our economy.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the year 2003 ended with approximately $922 billion worth of construction (all private and public sectors) put in place for the year. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that there are at least 700,000 construction companies employing just under seven million people in the United States. Construction offers more opportunities than most other industries for individuals who want to own and run their own businesses, and statistically an additional 1.6 million individuals do just that.

Construction impacts the quality of life for every human being and plays a major role in all of society, and has for a very long time. Anyone who is involved in construction-from the grading laborer to the electrician to the estimator to the construction manager to the construction company executive-needs to understand that what they do makes a big difference in the world.

Construction has been around a very, very long time. Construction means, methods, and motivations have changed over the past 12,000 years or so and the trek has been absolutely fascinating. Let's continue this adventure by taking a look at some of the factors that have influenced this very significant industry.

A Historical Perspective

The purpose of spending some time on the history of the construction industry is to further reveal the impact of construction on society. As you read this brief history, imagine the creativity, ingenuity, and tenacity that these early constructors must have possessed in order to achieve such extraordinary building achievements. What started as a craft motivated by necessity (shelter from the elements) gradually turned into building science motivated by curiosity, intrigue, and genius. The building challenges of today are just as complex as in the past, and even more sophisticated, inspiring the same attributes exhibited by the early master builders. Let's take a brief walk through time and visit some of the world's greatest construction accomplishments.

Ancient Times

Although agriculture is probably recognized as the oldest industry in history, construction is most likely a close second. The construction industry can trace its roots back to at least the Stone Age, as early as 12,000 B.C. Using materials readily available-mud, wood, and stone-early man began constructing simple structures for protection from the rain, cold, heat, and snow. During this same period, the development of bronze and iron allowed man to make stronger tools that significantly expanded the possibilities in building construction, allowing builders to develop their skills.

As construction skills and tool development increased, real expertise in the building trades began to emerge. Simple shelter grew into planned settlements, villages, and cities. Soon, the need for common gathering places became a part of the building challenge, and this period saw the start of public building for special events, religious ceremonies, manufacturing, and commerce. Small villages became large cities, and large cities grew into great civilizations, and at the heart of it all was construction.

Egypt and the Pyramids

Many of these early civilizations were building with one of the first manufactured building materials, dried mud bricks. However, the Egyptians began to use stone as their primary building material. Although the process of moving these very large masses of rock was difficult, to say the least, the ingenuity of these ancient builders conquered these challenges, resulting in some of the most facinating building projects in all of history-the great pyramids.

At this time, there was really no distinction between architecture, engineering, or construction. All three disciplines were embodied in one person-the master builder. The master builder concept would survive for many years, until the complexity of structures and construction techniques warranted a separation of disciplines.

It was during the building of the pyramids that the first known building code was recorded, dating back to approximately 1792-1750 B.C. These written rules and responsibilities were among the laws carved into stone tablets, collectively known as the Code of Hammurabi. The building code dictated acceptable workmanship standards for the master builder. Failure to meet these standards brought stiff penalties, in some cases including death.

Greek Influence

During the pyramid-building era, the Egyptians used large numbers of unskilled workers to construct their massive undertakings. However, the Greek master builders, who were building many beautiful temples made of marble and limestone (such as the Parthenon in Athens), started to organize and utilize small groups of skilled stonemasons. This idea of congregating workmen around a particular craft represents the beginning of the building trades concept, in which a particular building skill is honed to a level of expertise associated with a master craftsman. Although much of the work was still performed by an unskilled workforce, the use of skilled artisans allowed for a finer detail and design to be applied to the architecture. This is clearly a turning point in construction history.

The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire represents one of the most influential periods of time for architecture, engineering, and building science. During the Roman Empire, significant strides were made in construction techniques. An early form of concrete, a staple in every present-day building project, was invented by the Romans. This early version consisted of a pasty, hydrated lime and pozzolan ash mixture made from rock. In addition to utilizing concrete in the foundations of their structures, the Romans began adding domes and arches to their buildings, achieving engineering and construction feats that were astounding. During this time, some of the world's most impressive structures were built, including the Colosseum and the Pantheon. The first glass was also incorporated in the first century A.D. and decorated many Roman structures. Road construction was another highlight of the Roman Empire, and many of these ancient pathways are still carrying travelers today.

Around 40 B.C., a Roman writer, engineer, and architect named Marcus Vitruvius Pollio wrote the first design and construction handbook. His writings included topics on building materials, construction processes, building styles, road and bridge design, water-heating techniques, acoustics, and other building physics. With Vitruvius' writings, the concept of master builder or architect took on even greater distinction. The master builder was responsible for both the design and the supervision of the construction. Surprisingly, Vitruvius' work was recognized as the authority on building and design for centuries.

The Middle Ages

With the downfall of the Roman Empire came a real decline in building activity and technology. Then around 900 A.D., the powerful Roman Catholic Church revitalized stone construction as they intensely pursued church- and cathedral-building throughout Europe. Even during this somewhat stagnant period, great building efforts were taking place. Glorious Gothic cathedrals highlighted the European landscape and many other impressive structures were being designed and built all over the world.

Craft training and education became a major focus and craft guilds were organized, even forming special brotherhoods around specific trades. Building construction became a major industry in and of itself. The two most important building trades were carpenters and stonemasons. Three distinct stages of ability were recognized-master, journeyman, and apprentice. These three stages of organized labor are still widely recognized today among the trade unions.

The Renaissance

Toward the end of the Middle Ages, a renewed interest in architecture, building, and science took place, continuing the transformation and evolution of construction and building design. It was during this time that the concept of the master builder began to be questioned as the most efficient way to build. Leone Battista Alberti, considered by some to be the precursor to the modern-day architect, argued that he could create drawings and models as a way to direct master craftsmen without actually being involved in the building process. Alberti was a theoretical architect rather than a practical hands-on architect-builder. He furnished plans of his buildings but never participated in the actual construction. This was the first application of a new philosophy that would eventually separate design and construction as distinct functions. Interestingly, there is a real push today to return to the master builder concept-but with the recognition that the modern master builder is a collaborative team.


Excerpted from Construction Management JumpStart by Barbara J. Jackson Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 The Construction Industry.

Chapter 2 What Is Construction Management?.

Chapter 3 How We Get the Work.

Chapter 4 The Construction Contract.

Chapter 5 Project Stages.

Chapter 6 Estimating Project Costs.

Chapter 7 Contract Administration.

Chapter 8 Construction Operations and Job.

Chapter 9 Project Planning and Scheduling.

Chapter 10 Monitoring Project Performance.

Chapter 11 Managing Quality and Safety.

Appendix Answers to Review Questions.



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