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Eagleton Homes’ House Constructing Project Term Paper


Background

It is the dream of every individual to own a house at one time. This explains why houses are being constructed daily. As the population expands, so does the need for more houses. This project is concerned with the construction of a medium-sized house for a family that has been living in a rental house for close to ten years. The promoter of this project who also happens to be the owner of the house has set aside between $ 300,000 and $ 400,000. He expects the house to be complete in six months so that his family can move in.

It is, his expectation that the team which will work on the project will comprise professionals in project management, architecture, building, and construction as well as interior and exterior designers. Eagleton Homes is a real estate company that specifically provides individuals and families with the chance to own a home. They, therefore, contract the services of construction contractors more often, to achieve their goals (Project management institute, 34). In this particular project, they are supposed to construct a middle-class house for the client, besides, they have to obtain the services of the best contractors in town who will also work within the stated budget.

Objectives

The main objective of this project is for the construction of the house to be completed in six months. This will only be possible if all the activities are completed within the scheduled time. The other objective is for the house to be built according to the specifications of the owner. This will happen if the architectural team works closely with the construction team. It should as well be within the specified budget as any extra expense will have to be covered by the project team. Underutilization of resources again may imply a compromise on quality. Eagleton Homes believe in providing their customers with the best services possible (Project management institute 79). That is why they would only hire contractors who through their proposal prove that they can deliver.

Request for proposal

To the concerned:

Eagleton Homes are in quest of proposals from real estate contractors. To qualify, one should have five years’ experience in this business and they should have the relevant construction documents from the government and other concerned bodies.

The main aim of this project is to ensure that this house is completed within six months and that the budget which is stated at a range of between $ 300000 and $ 400000 is adhered to. The other objective is to ensure that the house is constructed according to the specifications of the customer.

Statement of Work: The contractor will be expected to, first come up with the team. This should consist of people from all professions related to the project. The team should be made up of architects, constructors, designers, and budget analysts. Budget analysts are necessary to ensure that the resources provided by the sponsors are utilized efficiently for purposes related to the project. The other thing that the contractors will be expected to do is develop a plan for the entire project. This should include the schedule for the whole project from inception to completion as well as the control measures and the aftermath of the projects.

Customer requirements: the contractor should be in a position to meet the requirements of the customers. The most important of these is coming up with a house that matches the description of the customer in terms of the number of rooms, fittings requirements, and design descriptions. They should also be creative and be in a position to challenge the ideas that do not seem viable. The customer might have some expectations that are not professionally valid and it is the task of the contractors to make such corrections and ensure that the customer understands the changes that need to be done and why these changes should be made.

Deliverables: the contractor will be expected to bring on-site their equipment such as mixers and other construction tools. They should present their verification documents together with their practice certificates and license before they can begin working on the project.

Customer supplied items: the customer will supply the materials to be used in constructing the house. This is done in monetary terms in that he provides financial resources and the contractor will be expected to obtain the materials. They should ensure that everything they purchase is within the stated budget. Any extreme variation should be stated in the report whether it is more than or less than the forecasted value.

Approvals required by the customer: the contractors require formal approval by the customer for them to begin the work. This approval should be in written form and they should keep a copy of the same in their file.

Type of contract: This is a fixed price contract and the contractor should be in a position to meet the stated requirements with the agreed price quotations. The customer in this case is free from any risk while the weight of the risk lies with the contractor.

Payment terms: the contractors will be paid in three installments. The first which is a third of the whole amount will be paid after a third of the project has been completed. The second third will be paid after two-thirds of the project has been completed and the final third will be paid after the project has been completed.

The required schedule for completion: the schedule for this project is six months and the contractors should ensure that their plan is within this period.

Proposal content: the proposal submitted by the contractors should consist of at least the approach to be used to ensure that the project is completed within the stated time frame. The other item is the deliverables to be provided, next is the schedule in form of a network diagram and Gantt charts. The contractor should also state their experience, the number of people they intend to work with, and the costs that they think the customer will incur.

The due date for proposals: the proposals should be submitted latest by the 14th of May 2011. Any proposals received after this date will not be considered.

Evaluation criteria: the approach will cover 30% of the total marks; cost will cover the other 30%, the schedule 10%, and the experience 30%.

Proposal

Approach

The first thing that will be done to ensure the project is completed on time and within the stated objectives is to bring together a team. This team will be categorized into three namely, the project management specialists, housing and construction specialists, and the accounting and budgeting team. These people will be expected to work together to ensure that the project is completed successfully. The next step is to assemble the resources and this involves bringing together everything that is needed to implement the project. Then the team members are allocated their duties and responsibilities. From here, the project can be initiated but it has to be evaluated once in a while to ensure that everything is going on as planned (Heerkens 36).

Deliverables

These are the things that the contractor is expected to bring into the project. It mostly includes tangible assets that will still be used in many other projects. These are the tools used in construction such as spades, mixers, graders, ladders, and many other tools.

Schedule

The timing of the activities will be done in a way that will ensure all the activities are completed within the specified time. This will require the corporation of all parties involved including the promoter who will be expected to meet his payment deadlines effectively. In the schedule, activities such as transporting the materials to the site will be included as overlooking such may lead to unnecessary delays.

Experience

Construction companies have different experiences in different types of construction. Some are more experienced in building infrastructure and these may not be effective in the construction of houses. The successful bidder for this project should therefore have experience in real estate construction. This places him in a better position in terms of understanding the specifications and ensuring that the project is being carried out correctly.

Staffing

When incorporating the staff for this project, several factors have to be considered. The people in this team should be qualified professionals in their various fields related to the project.

Costs

The cost of the entire project including the contractor’s charges should not exceed the stated amount. The budget should indicate all these costs in approximations.

Proposal evaluation form

Eagleton Homes. Proposal evaluation. Project title: Construction of a middle-sized family house.

Evaluation criteria Weight
A
Score
B
Points
A×B
Comments
Approach 30 4 120 Unclear description of the approach
Experience 30 3 90 Has little experience in constructing family houses
Price 30 9 270 Has the most realistic price bid, well-detailed description, and within the budget limits
Schedule 10 5 50 The schedule is optimistic in an unrealistic way
Total 100 530
Advantages of this proposal:
This proposal was selected because of its cost. The budget was well laid and every detail explained clearly. The costs are within the budgeted amount with any expected variations clearly stated.
Major concerns:
The contracting company should be more clear on the requirements especially for finishing the house
They have a huge workforce being paid at very low rates and this might be an implication of compromised quality of laborers.
They should increase the period over which they intend to complete the project. Four months for work that is supposed to take more than five months is an indication of overly optimistic estimates.

Project constraints

Projects of all types and nature have constraints broadly categorized as either cost constraints or time constraints. These two constraints are related in the sense that lack of enough resources on-site might cost the project its time. These are some of the things that are hard to avoid as some come in an unanticipated manner. When planning the project, network diagrams are drawn to indicate the activities that might be delayed and still ensure that the project is completed on time (Kemp 98). This ensures that in case some constraints threaten to delay some activities, this time can be covered up by the activities that do not lie on the critical path.

Cost constraints occur whereby the contractors feel like they need to go the extra mile to make the project more than successful but they are hindered by the amount of money at their disposal. At the end of the day, they are forced to work within the constraints of the budget which means that they have to compromise some form of quality. If the constraint on the costs is too high, the contractors are forced to spend more time on the project. This comes as a result of them having to hire a few workers and being forced to spend more time making quotations for the products as they have to hunt for the lowest possible quotations. This puts them at risk of compromising on the time hence they risk delaying the entire project (Kemp 99).

Time constraints, on the other hand, maybe as a result of there not being enough resources hence more time is required to make the project successful. A good example of this is whereby the contractors are forced by the budget constraint to hiring a few groundsmen. This means that the project has to be carried out at a slower rate than the case where they have a more elastic budget. This constraint mostly affects fixed-term projects like the one here. The contractor cannot dare overstretch beyond the budget as this extra budget will be upon him. These two types of contracts are directly related because trying to save on one affects the other.

When the contractors decide to save on the scheduled time, then they are forced to use up more resources in terms of employing more people as ground workers as well as purchasing the materials at the first found basis irrespective of the cost. Saving on cost on the other hand might imply a delay on the project as this means that the activities have to be handled more slowly for them to fit into the budget.

Project plan

The first and most important stage in planning for the project is budgeting. The first stage in budgeting is estimating the cost of individual activities. Then the budget is allocated to different periods in the project. The total budgeted cost of the entire project is determined in two different forms. The first one is the top-down structure which involves the distribution of the costs to the work in progress. The second approach is the bottom-up structure which involves estimating the costs of the activities before the project is initiated. The budgeted cost should not exceed the estimated cost of the entire project.

The second activity in planning the project is the estimation of the cumulative cost. “This amount is the cost that was budgeted to accomplish the work that was scheduled to be performed up to that point in time” (Nokes and Newton 68). This creates a standard for comparing the actual cost with the cost so far. This is followed by data collection aimed at estimating the actual cost. The cumulated actual cost is determined from this, and this ensures that the whole amount required for the project is estimated early enough. This also ensures that any possible cost discrepancies are sorted early enough to avoid cases of misappropriations.

Work breakdown structure

The work breakdown structure is a diagram that indicates the activities of the project hierarchically. It simplifies project management practices by allowing priority activities to be accomplished first. It begins from the topmost activity to the final activity and closes down the stage. For this project, the work breakdown structure is shown below.

Work breakdown structure

Responsibility matrix

Activities required to complete project

The first thing that is to be done in this project is to prepare the contracts. These include the supply of materials contracts, site plan contract, financing contract, and the contract with the contractor which is the most important one. The next activity is reviewing and revising the relevant documents. These documents include the plan of the house, exterior plan of the compound, architectural drawings of the house plan, and the approved plans and drawings. This will be followed by the receiving of bids and signing of contracts. In this, the first thing is to distribute the request for proposal to the relevant companies and individuals. Then the bids will be received and the best ones are selected. The subcontractor agreements are made and executed still under this activity.

The next activity is the grading and developing permits. “The first step in this includes; the scheduling the lot stakeout” (Nokes and Newton 60). This is followed by applying for the building permit; the grading permit and then installing the sediments control structures. This has to wait until the building permit is approved by the municipal council before the permit fee is paid. The final building permit is then issued after all the financial obligations have been met, including the payment of any relevant taxes.

The activity that will come after this includes the preparation of the site for the real construction to take place. The site work includes clearing the place, stripping it of the topsoil, excavating the area of all stakes, and conducting a rough grading. The other step under this activity is to excavate the ground for foundation digging.

The site work activity is followed by foundation construction. The first step when digging a foundation is lying out and digging the footings. Then reinforcement is installed and the footing is inspected to ensure that it follows the correct dimensions. This is followed by pouring and pinning the footings just before stocking the blocks, sand, and mortar. The block for the foundation is then laid and this has to be certified before the next step is taken.

The steel needed to reinforce the structures should have been delivered by this time. The foundation is then covered by the waterproof draining tile and the foundation activity is completed. The activity following this is the construction of the walls and partitioning of the house. The blocks are laid on the foundation and reinforced using the mortar. This is raised step by step up to the required height. When carrying out this activity, an allowance for the windows, doors and other fittings should be made.

The activity following this one is developing the roofing structure. Pieces of timber are laid together to make the structure that will support the roof. This should be made according to the plan of the house and they should ensure that they are made according to the specifications of the customer. Some people prefer flat roofing while others prefer the pointed roofing. The roofing materials are then installed again depending on the customer’s specifications. Some prefer using tiles as the roofing materials because of their insulating characteristics while others prefer gal sheet materials because they are cheap.

This is followed by installing fittings in the house. Fittings, in this case, include the bathroom equipment, toilet equipment’s, kitchen fittings such as sinks and cupboards as well as bedroom fittings which include wall units. This activity also involves the installation of windows, doors, sockets, and other such like gadgets. At this point, an inspection has to be carried out to ensure that everything is placed according to the specifications of the customer.

This is to ensure that any alterations are done early enough before the finishing stage, after which it might be too late to make any changes. The other activity which comes after this is the installation of electrical fittings. This includes wiring the entire house and installing the electric boxes. This should be inspected thoroughly by electricity professionals to ensure that there is no possible danger of electric faults.

At this point, the project is almost complete and the next activity is making the finishing touches to the interior and exterior of the house. This includes laying the tiles on the floor surface, smoothening the wall surface, and ensuring that all the necessary surfaces are well finished up. This activity is followed by insulation and ventilation and this includes making sure that the entire building is safe and that there is maximum ventilation space. Insulating ensures that the building is free from dangers brought about by electric shocks. The final activity in building the house is painting. The house is painted according to the recommendations of the customer and this process is monitored by the interior design team. The theme however is provided by the owner. At this point, the construction team has completed its work on the project. The remaining part is left to the interior and exterior designers.

Resources required

In any project of whatever nature, the first and most important resource is manpower. Without this, nothing else can be done. The other most important resource is the money required to purchase all the materials required. Finally are the machines that are used to make the construction process successful. This is just a broad category of the resources required for this project. The secondary resources required in this case include the materials required for the actual construction. These are the blocks, mortars, the roofing materials, fixtures to fit into the house, and the other such as materials.

The other classification of resources is the miscellaneous expenditures on things like stationery required in record keeping. All these resources are necessary but they have to be provided according to the budget specifications especially in such a case where the budget is fixed and any extra cost incurred is upon the contractor.

Time estimates for activities

The first activity which involves preparing the contracts is not very involving and this might take a day. Reviewing and revising the documents requires that consultations need to be made and this should take four days on the higher side. The third activity which is grading and developing permits also required consultations to be made from the professionals in this area and this might as well take four days. The fourth activity which is site preparation is cumbersome, and considering the cost constraint, this might take up to five days. Remember the contractors were forced to deploy a small number of groundsmen for the project to fit in the cost constraint. This is why some activities have to take a long time for them to be completed.

The fifth activity which is constructing the foundation requires up to a maximum of six days. Constructing the foundation involves a lot of work such as digging, laying the blocks, mixing with the mortar, and sprinkling water to ensure that the mortar remains firm. This also has to be given some time to dry up before the other part of the building which is the wall is erected. This is necessary to ensure that the building remains standing for as long as is possible.

Constructing the walls takes the longest time owing to the technicalities involved. This has to be done with much care as the durability of the whole house has everything to do with this stage. The minimum time this activity can take is ten days. The blocks have to be laid in a specific order to ensure that the wall structure develops a firm grip.

The seventh activity is developing the roofing structure. This is not tasking and the maximum time it can take is three days. Installing the fittings in the house on the other hand can take up to five days while finishing up the house takes like four days. The final stage in the construction process is painting and decorating the interior and the exterior of the house. This is a complicated process and somehow it requires a longer period.

It may take up to ten days owing to the tasks involved of determine the best touch to give to the house as well as the types of decorations to be used. This tends to conceal all the possible faults in the structure and it defines the look of the entire house. after this, the activities that follow are post-construction ones which include showing the house to the owner, which takes one day, and moving his property into the house which might take two days. These activities together with their costs are shown in the project schedule below.

Activity Duration Preceded by
A Prepare contracts 1
B Reviewing the docs 4 A
C Grading & developing permits 4 B
D Site preparation 5 A, B
E Foundation construction 6 D
F Walls construction 10 E
G Roofing structure 3 D, E, F
H Installing fittings 5 G
I Finishing 4 H, G
J Painting and decorating 10 I
K Showing the house 1 J
L Moving in 2 K

Cost estimates

The cost estimates for these activities will be as follows:

  • Prepare contracts – $1000
  • Reviewing the docs – $2000
  • Grading & developing permits – $1000
  • Site preparation – $5000
  • Foundation construction – $20000
  • Walls construction – $25000
  • Roofing structure – $10000
  • Installing fittings – $30000
  • Finishing – $35000
  • Painting and decorating – $40000
  • Showing the house – $500
  • Moving in – $2000
  • Contractors fees – $150000
  • The total cost for the whole project was estimated at $321,500.

Project team

Teamwork is “the cooperative effort by members of a team to achieve the common goal” (Project management institute 38). The members of a team have to cooperate to ensure that the project has been completed successfully. Project managers are the team leaders because they oversee all the activities in the project. The most important attributes of project managers are the ability to respect and appreciate all the employees in the team. This ensures that the team members are psychologically contented with the working environment. They are also expected to ensure that the team members are aware of their responsibilities and the quality standards they are supposed to fulfill.

The project manager can make his work lighter. This can be possible if they come up with a communication system that fits the needs of all members. He should also develop clear objectives for each person as well as for the groups. He should be a source of motivation to the team, and this is possible through creating an effective rewards system and ensuring that he leads by example. He should demonstrate the good qualities he needs to see in the team members. People are usually impressed by what they see and not just what they hear. This is why the project manager should first be what he expects his employees to be.

In the organization of a team, it is usually important to ensure that people who have never worked together are placed in the same team. This enhances the team spirit as they have to learn to cope with completely different people. They also learn how to develop relationships faster for the good of their work. The teams however take time before they can get acquainted with each other completely. The first stage in the development of teams in the formation of the team. In this, the manager needs to ensure that all the activities are well represented to avoid delays in the project. The second is storming which enables the team members to get an idea of each others’ capacities.

The third stage is norming which refers to the activity of ensuring that the team members get the idea of the performance qualities they are expected to fulfill. The fourth and final stage is performing and this is where the work begins. The members of the team are expected to produce the best of their capacity for the project to be completed successfully and to the satisfaction of the owner.

One of the characteristics of an effective team is their capacity to understand and relate to the objectives of the project. Every individual should clearly understand his or her responsibilities to reduce cases of conflicts in the site. The other characteristic is that all the team members should be oriented to results. “They should exhibit a high degree of cooperation and collaboration” (Heerkens 50). Several factors can contribute to ineffectiveness in the teams. The first barrier is the goals that are not clearly defined. The second one is failing to define the responsibilities of each member clearly. Third, if the project lacks a clear structure the performance will be compromised.

Control methods

Instituting control measures in project management is important to achieve the desired outcomes. Controlling a project involves measuring the actual performance of the projected performance to ensure that the project is running effectively in terms of time and resources. Any irregularities should be dealt with immediately to ensure that they do not pile up as this might prove difficult to correct later on. They should have regular periods over which they determine the level of actual performance and obtain the “information on any changes to project scope, schedule and budget” (Kemp 82). Any changes integrated into the project’s plan should be communicated to the customer immediately to ensure that they agree first before it is implemented.

In controlling the project’s schedule, four steps need to be followed if this is to be successful. The first step is analyzing the schedule to determine any possible discrepancies in the plan. The second step is taking any actions required to correct these discrepancies. The third is revising the entire plan to incorporate the new ideas brought in and the fourth is recalculating the schedule. Any changes in the project’s duration automatically lead to the changes in the slack periods along that path.

Negative slack should be dealt with by creating a focus on the activities near that activity that has a negative slack. In some cases, the team is forced to apply extra resources and employ people with more experience in the field. The scope can also be reduced or some dummy activities are eliminated. Technology can also be improved to deal with the delays.

Tasks needed to close out on a project

The first task when closing out on the project is cleaning. This involves washing the whole house, cleaning the floor, and cleaning the windows. This is done in steps, the first one being the rough cleaning. Here, the house is swept of the particles on the surface. This is followed by the final cleaning whereby the house is washed with water and detergent thoroughly to eliminate all the accumulated dust during the construction process. The final walkthrough is then conducted and this involves cleaning the surfaces of the entire house. After this, the house is ready for occupation and the customer can now be assisted to move in.

The other important activity on the part of the project manager is convening a project’s closeout meeting. Here, the team members should present their reports for the compilation of the final report. The manager also uses this opportunity to appreciate the contribution of each member. Besides this, they discuss the setbacks they faced when carrying out the project as well as how to reduce the impact of these in future projects. The team members are supposed to derive lessons from each project they undertake to ensure that they improve on their experience after each project. This is the main purpose of the project’s post mortem. All these aspects are documented for future reference.

Critical success factors

The most critical factor in project management in first, effective planning right from the presentation of the request for proposal. Evaluating the feasibility of the project is important in determining whether the project will be possible given the constraints at hand. It should also be determined whether the project will be beneficial given the cost and the benefits it will accrue after completion. The project’s committee is also another important factor in the project management process. The level of qualification of the people involved determines whether the project will be successful or not. In case it succeeds, the effort made to ensure this has happened is also an important consideration.

Another critical factor in project management is considering and managing the risks. This involves determining the risks that are most likely to occur and developing a possible strategy to counteract them as they occur. This is mostly done through brainstorming, a process that involves the random thinking of any possible risks that may be encountered in the course of the project. These potential risks are discussed alongside their potential consequences on the project.

These risks are then assessed such that the degree of possible damage they can cause is determined. This ensures that the risks are prioritized depending on how much harm they can cause and then possible solutions are attached to them. In case these risks are encountered in reality, then the management will not be caught by surprise as they had already anticipated this. Success factors help a project team to tailor their efforts and energy in ensuring the project succeeds right from the start to completion

Appropriate report from Microsoft projects

The Microsoft project for a house construction has ten different stages. The first one is the general conditions that involve plan development, budget estimation, and getting contracts for the projects. The second phase is the clearing and site preparation work. The third is the foundation construction and the fourth stage involves setting the frame for the house. The fifth stage is known as dry in which involves creating the spaces for the windows, doors, and ventilation. The sixth step on the other hand involves finishing the exterior of the house. This is followed by the interior designing which comes just before the landscaping and groundwork dome in the compound. Finally is the approval of the project by the sponsor.

Lesson learned

In conclusion, project management can be demanding work that required attention to be paid to the smallest details. A project that has been completed successfully however provides a lot of satisfaction to both the promoter and the project management team. It also gives the project management team credibility in terms of providing them with the chance to be able to obtain another contract of the same nature. When projects are terminated before completion, the project managers have to look for a very valid reason to defend their reputation, especially where the reason behind the termination was the fault of the project management team.

Works Cited

Heerkens, Gibaldi. Project Management. Briefcase Book. New York, McGraw-Hill, 2002.

Kemp, Sumes. Project Management Made Easy. Irvine, CA, Entrepreneur Press, 2006. Print.

Nokes, Susan and Newton Ricards. Definitive Guide to Project Management. Harlow, Prentice Hall Business, 2007.

Project management institute. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Newtown Square, Pa, Project Management Institute, 2008. Print.

Project Management Institute. Project Management Journal. Drexel Hill, Pa, Project Management Institute, 1984.

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