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Villa Construction Project Management Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 24th, 2020

Executive Summary

Project planning is a painstaking process of ensuring that resource allocation and planning are in accordance with the desired outcomes. The use of various planning tools aids in ensuring that managers are in control of projects. This paper outlines how a villa will be constructed and furnished to be ready for use within ninety days. The activities carried out during the construction process are outlined. Each activity has been allocated a specific duration. Additionally, each activity takes a different time and plays a role in the entire project. Therefore, all activities are of great consequence to the success of the project. The critical path is determined as well as the slack variables to determine the most crucial activities. The critical path is for the project is A-B-C-D-E-I-L-Finish. The total time the project takes on the critical path is 65 days.

Project Idea

The project I have chosen is the construction of a villa. Villas are common in the countryside and coastal regions. Such houses are suitable for retreats, holidays or as residential houses for individuals with large families.

Project Idea and its Objective

The aim of the project is to construct a villa and have it ready for use within three months. The villa will have four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a swimming pool, a garage, and a garden. The villa will be friendly to children and will be situated in an area that experiences frequent snowing.

A villa should have an intricate design to make it appealing. It is also important to plan the entire process of construction in order to have excellent output. It is normal to have high expectations before the actual construction work begins. However, challenges such as time constraints may arise during the project implementation stage thereby hindering the timely completion of the project. Therefore, a project plan is a monitoring tool used to ensure that the project maintains its course without much deviation.

The design of the four-bedroom villa will be such that two of the rooms will have their own bathrooms, whereas the other two will share a bathroom. The swimming pool will be expected to occupy the side of the construction plot, which will enable it receive sunshine from mid-mornings to late afternoons. The garage will be adjacent to the villa, and the garden will be expected to surround the whole compound. The project will be implemented by a competent and experienced contractor from a reputable construction firm.

Construction Activities of the Project

The various phases of the project require diverse materials, professionals and adherence to set construction guidelines. The project encompasses several activities such as:

  1. Site preparation (levelling and digging of the swimming pool)
  2. Consulting construction companies and selecting the most suitable one in terms of expertise and cost
  3. Construction of the foundation
  4. Construction of wood floor framing
  5. Construction of walls
  6. Construction of the roof
  7. Plumbing
  8. Electrical fittings and installation
  9. Air conditioning and control
  10. Interior fittings, for instance, doors, stairs, cabinets, and countertops
  11. Floor finishing
  12. Additional amenities such as decks, driveways and walkways
  13. Landscaping.

These activities are interdependent and need to progress systematically from one activity to the next.

Consulting Construction Companies and Selecting the Most Suitable Company

Construction work requires professional labour, which includes engineers, landscaping individuals, interior designers, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. The cost of paying all these professionals can be expensive and inefficient if they are outsourced independently. However, obtaining all these professionals from a construction company reduces the cost significantly. It is important to compare the cost of the available construction companies against their performance based on previous works. Such a move will help in selecting the best company that will yield quality results at a reasonable cost. Therefore, the selection process needs to come before all other activities.

Site Preparation (Levelling and Digging of the Swimming Pool)

Levelling the ground needs to take place due to the existence of uneven surfaces that would render construction and landscaping difficult. The removal of tree stumps, obstructing trees and demolishing of unnecessary structures are some of the activities that take place during site preparation. Digging of drains, pits and swimming pool occurs at this stage so that the soil removed from the pits is used to fill up spaces as the ground is being levelled. The ability to create a good site and landscape depends on this stage because these activities cannot be carried out efficiently once the actual construction starts.

Construction of the Foundation

The foundation of a house determines the number of floors that can be hoisted. The construction of the foundation involves the digging of trenches and arranging of layers of concrete and stones in the trenches. Factors such as soil type and prevalent weather conditions influence the depth and structure of the foundation. Certified construction companies help in ensuring that the foundation adheres to set building standards.

Construction of Wood Floor Framing and Walls

The walls and the roof partly depend on the wood floor framing. This framing also offers support to the walls and interior fittings. The framing design and make should be strong enough to support the structures attached to it. This process is time-consuming depending on the labour input and the complexity of the framing and walls. Frames and walls with numerous shapes and designs take more time than simple ones. In this project, this phase will take approximately 15 days. The walls will be made using bricks, boards and timber.

Construction of the Roof

The roof is important because it displays the structure of the building and the intricate design used in construction. The construction of the roof largely depends on the walls for support. Therefore, the walls have to be in place before roofing starts. The roof has various uses besides sheltering the house from rain and snow. Some of these uses include the regulation of temperature and air flow. The villa will be situated in an area that experiences frequent snowing. Consequently, the roofing will follow the guidelines set for houses in snow-prone areas. Some of these regulations include double insulation of the roof, use of specified angles of the rafters and the interior airflow design.

Plumbing

This step involves the construction of the sewerage and domestic water supply systems in the house (kitchen, bathrooms and toilets) as well as the garden. This activity runs parallel with other activities such as fitting of pipes, which takes place at different stages of construction.

Electrical Fittings and Installation

This stage involves the fitting of sockets and developing of the wiring system. The energy requirements of the villa will be determined at this stage. The installation of electricity will be done to allow the use of gadgets that require electricity to operate during the construction process.

Air Conditioning and Control

These fittings will be included to cater for different needs such as heating during cold seasons and cooling during hot seasons. The fitting of the air conditioning equipment will take place when the construction nears completion.

Interior Fittings such as Doors, Stairs, Cabinets, and Countertops

The fixing of cupboards and cabinets will be done after the completion of major construction work to avoid breakages because some of these fittings are fragile and require delicate handling.

Floor Finishing

Floor finishing varies with the desired floor. The finishing comes last because the polishing of floors and the fitting of particular floor types require clean surfaces. The floor finish displays a sense of style and determines the ease of cleaning.

Additional Amenities such as Decks, Driveways and Walkways

Additional amenities include children play areas, walkways, driveways, garage, and decks. These amenities add value to the villa and are part of the construction work. The play area should be safe and ought to be located in a place that is easily visible. Children require attention when playing. Therefore, their play area should allow the monitoring of their activities.

Landscaping

A good landscape is attractive and creates a favourable atmosphere for relaxation. The garden around the villa will have various flowers, herbs and vegetables that will serve ornamental, medicinal and food purposes. The landscaping will take place concurrently with site clearing at the end of the construction process.

Dependency between Project Activities and Duration of Each Activity

The letters preceding each activity are used to identify the activity.

ID ACTIVITY DURATION
(In days)
DEPENDENCY
Consulting construction companies and selecting the best company. 3
Site preparation, which includes levelling and digging of the swimming pool. 7 A
Construction of the foundation. 12 B
Construction of walls. 15 C
Construction of the roof. 7 D
Plumbing. 5 C,D
Electrical fittings and installation. 4 D,E
Air conditioning and control. 4 G
Interior fittings, for instance, interior doors, stairs, cabinets, and countertops. 10 E
Floor finishing. 8 I
Additional amenities and miscellaneous, for instance, kids’ play area, decks, driveways and walkways. 5 I
Landscaping. 10 A,I

The Villa Construction Project Network Diagram (A-O-N Method)

Network diagrams help in determining the critical path in projects. The critical path is important to project managers as it enables them to determine the longest time that the project can take and the most crucial activities. According to Weber, the activity-on-node networking (A-O-N) method of determining the critical path helps in identifying the activities that run parallel to each other.1 Project scheduling is important in planning and time allocation because it helps in:

  • Availing of resources at the construction site at the right time
  • Determining the timing of activities and the project finish time
  • Corrective measures if the schedule indicates a time lag
  • Determining the monetary value of penalties if the project is not completed on time
  • Assessing the effects of change of orders on project conclusion.

According to Cascio, drawing the activity-on-node network to determine the critical path aid in this process2 in the following ways:

  • Late finish time determination using a backward path
  • Early start time determination using forward path.
  • Calculating the float
  • Identification of critical activities.

Early Start Times Determination Using a Forward Path

Early start time is the earliest time an activity can commence during the project implementation stage. Back and Moreau assert that the forward path follows an order of left nodes before the right nodes with arrows pointing from to the left nodes to the right nodes.3 The calculation of the early start time uses the equation ES=ES+x where ES is the early start time and x is the duration of the activity of the preceding node.4 To determine the earliest time an activity can take, Raz, Barnes and Divir put forward the equation EF=ES+x where EF is the early finish, ES is an early start and x is the duration of an activity.5

Late Finish Time Determination Using a Backward Path

The backward path determines the late finish time of activities by proceeding from backwards to the starting nodes as noted by Buska and Tobiasson.6 The late finish time is calculated by adding the late start time and the durations of the preceding activities. The delayed start time is found by getting the difference between the extent of the activity and late completion time. Fodahl asserts that the construction of the roof in snow-prone areas should be in accordance with the set load standards for the roof to bear the weight of snow.7 Therefore, the roofing activity should be adhered to because it is critical for the strength of the building.

Slack or Float in a Project

Slack is defined as the time that a project can delay without affecting the progress of the project. Chris and Tung suggest that the slack time is determined by getting the difference between the late finish time and the early finish time or early start time and the late start time.8

Network Diagram for the Project
Network Diagram for the Project

Critical Path for the Project

The critical path is for the project is A-B-C-D-E-I-L-Finish. It is determined by a backward path. The total time taken by the project on the critical path is 65 days. In addition, the critical path determines the longest time that a project can take. According to Duran and Rivera, any activity that stalls in the critical path delays the entire project.9

Slack Time

Slack time helps determine the activities that can delay without affecting the critical path. It also assists in finding the effect of the delays in the project implementation. Activities such as landscaping and swimming pool construction that are not in the main villa plan but appear as miscellaneous have a slack time and can be delayed without affecting the completion of the project. The slack time for each activity is computed using the equation slack= late finish- early finish.

ACTIVITY TIME EARLY START EARLY FINISH LATE START LATE FINISH SLACK
A 3 0 3 3 3 0
B 7 7 10 10 10 0
C 12 10 23 23 23 0
D 15 23 38 38 38 0
E 7 38 45 45 45 0
F 5 23 28 38 60 32
G 4 45 49 53 57 8
H 4 49 53 56 61 8
I 10 45 55 55 55 0
J 8 55 65 65 65 0
K 5 55 55 60 60 5
L 10 3 13 3 55 42

In the above table, critical activities have a slack value of zero.

Conclusion

The use of project scheduling tools is important as it enables the manager of a project to allocate time and resources accordingly. It also helps in ensuring that activities with zero slack variables stay within the predetermined programme to ensure timely project completion. Critical path evaluation is thus essential for the successful completion of projects devoid of time holdups.

Bibliography

Anbari, F. T., ‘Earned value project management method, and extensions,’ Project Management Journal, vol. 34, no. 41, 2003, pp. 12-23.

Back, W. E. & Moreau, K. A., ‘Information management strategies for project management,’ Project Management Journal, vol. 32, no.1, 2001, pp. 10-20.

Buska, J. & Tobiasson, W., , International Conference on Building Envelope Systems and Technologies, Ottawa, Canada, 2001. Web.

Cascio, W., ‘Managing a virtual workplace,’ Academy of Management Executive, vol. 14, no. 3, 2000, pp. 81-90.

Fondahl, J. W., ‘The history of modern project management –precedence diagramming methods: origins and early development,’ Project Management Journal, vol. 18, no.2, 1987, pp. 33-36.

Hendrickson, C. & Au, T., Project management for construction, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1989.

Raz, T., Barnes, R. & Dvir, D., ‘A critical look at critical chain project management,’ Project Management Journal, vol. 34, no. 4, 2003, pp. 24-32.

Rivera, F. A. & Duran, A., ‘Critical clouds and critical sets in resource-constrained projects,’ International Journal of Project Management, vol. 22, no. 489, 2004, pp. 23-37.

Weber, S. C., Scheduling construction projects: principles and practices, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2005, pp. 233-289.

Footnotes

  1. S. C., Weber, Scheduling construction projects: principles and practices, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2005, p. 233.
  2. W. Cascio, ‘Managing a virtual workplace,’ Academy of Management Executive, vol. 14, no. 3, 2000, p.83.
  3. W. E. Back & K. A. Moreau, ‘Information management strategies for project management,’ Project Management Journal, vol. 32, no.1, 2001, p. 12.
  4. F. T. Anbari, ‘Earned value project management method, and extensions,’ Project Management Journal, vol. 34, no. 41, 2003, p.12.
  5. T. Raz, R. Barnes & D. Dvir, ‘A critical look at critical chain project management,’ Project Management Journal, vol. 34, no. 4, 2003, p. 24.
  6. J. Buska & W. Tobiasson, Minimizing the adverse effects of snow and ice on roofs, International Conference on Building Envelope Systems and Technologies, Ottawa, Canada, 2001.
  7. 7 J. W. Fondahl, ‘The history of modern project management –precedence diagramming methods: origins and early development,’ Project Management Journal, vol. 18, no.2, 1987, p. 33.
  8. 8 C. Hendrickson & T, Au, Project management for construction, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1989.
  9. 9 F. A. Rivera & A. Duran, ‘Critical clouds and critical sets in resource-constrained projects,’ International Journal of Project Management, vol. 22, no. 489, 2004, p. 24.
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