the newsletter of tbd consultants - edition 4, 4th qtr 2006
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Starting a project off with a sound strategy sounds like a good idea, but how do you do it? Click the link below to read Tony's views on what Strategic Planning is and how it should be implemented.
What is the format that CSI recommends for early estimates and for outline specifications? It is not Masterformat, but the building element system known as Uniformat II. Click the link below to find what this format is about and why it is recommended.
Last quarter we introduced the TBD Bid Index - what has happened in the bidding market since then? Click the link below to see the updated TDB Bid Index.
WBS - Work Breakdown Structure
WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) is a very useful tool for the Construction Manager, in both the cost and scheduling fields, and ideally, it will facilitate the integration of both cost and schedule management. In essence, it is a system that defines a project in functional units that can be clearly defined, monitored and managed, and it serves in both the planning and implementation phases of a project.
The breakdown should be hierarchical, dividing the project initially into major functional divisions, with these major divisions further separated into subdivisions, and ultimately broken down into individual work items. Using an hierarchical structure facilitates reporting at different levels of detail and makes the system more adaptable to the sometimes differing requirements of the cost engineers and schedulers.
One possible system for a WBS for a construction project would be to use the Uniformat II elements for the initial division, with each of these divisions then broken down into the CSI Masterformat divisions. Uniformat II divides a project into the functional elements, such as Substructure, Roof Construction, Floor Finishes, etc., and CSI Masterformat divides the work into material types, such as Concrete, Wood, or Metals. Say we have the primary division of Floor Construction broken down into Concrete, Metals, Insulation, etc.; it only needs another level or two of breakdown to get to the estimate line item and schedule operation level, and gives a level of detail that can be recombined in many ways, for instance, into bid packages. These same detail levels are also used for tracking actual costs and duration, so the level of breakdown should not go beyond that which can be effectively measured, monitored and managed.
The WBS can also be used to define responsibilities of individual managers, track sub-contractor costs, allocating resources, quality planning, and managing changes.
In conclusion, a Work Breakdown Structure becomes a tool for making complex projects manageable by breaking the project down into components that can be used in all aspects of the management process, including delegation of responsibility, scheduling, cost monitoring, risk management, etc.
We've all grown comfortable with the Microsoft Office suite over the years, but a new version is coming out next year with a brand new look. What can you expect? What has changed? Geoff has been trying out the beta version of the new suite, and you can read his review of Microsoft Office 2007 by clicking the link below.
Design consultant: Katie Levine of Vallance, Inc.