Preface – Construction Project Management: Theory and Practice


It gives me great pleasure to present the first edition of this book. The book is the result of my twelve years of field experience with Larsen and Toubro Limited and six years of experience in teaching undergraduate and graduate students at IIT Kanpur and IIT Delhi, consulting, researching and organizing training programmes for teachers and practitioners.

At the beginning of my career, I used to feel that I have been pushed from a highly theoretical world to a highly practical world. There was no smooth transition from theory to practice. Many of the things which could have been covered in classrooms, especially in the area of construction project management, for this smooth transition were missing. It takes months, sometimes years, to understand what can be covered in a few lectures with the help of a good instructor having field experience and good reference material.

When I got into academics, I was trying all the time to look for a text/reference book which could cover the different facets of construction project management in the Indian context. At the end of different training programmes conducted for teachers and practitioners, one of the most commonly asked queries was to suggest the participants a good text/reference book. I could not name a single book which covers the different facets of construction project management and deals with both the theoretical and practical aspects.

In fact, now I firmly believe that enough progress in the discipline has not been made due to the absence of good text and reference books at undergraduate and graduate levels. In the absence of such books, academicians also feel reluctant to teach this course and this prevents even interested students from opting for this important discipline. This has led to a situation where even some respected academicians do not think of construction project management beyond mere PERT/CPM. This is one of the reasons why I chose to restrict the number of pages on PERT/CPM.

The book introduces the readers to the different facets of construction project management and is designed to meet the following objectives:

  1. To present a framework for the different aspects of construction project management. The theoretical framework has been supported with practical applications and case studies from the field.
  2. To enhance the interest of students in taking up research works in construction project management. That is why reference details of several relevant books have been provided at the end of each chapter.
  3. And, of course, to silence those critiques who do not consider construction project management beyond PERT/CPM

The book is divided into 19 chapters. The first two chapters introduce the readers to the construction project and the construction organization. Thereafter, the book has been organized in a manner similar to the different stages or phases through which a typical construction project passes. In Chapter 3, the readers are introduced to the construction economics, which may be useful for the selection of projects. The concept of ‘time value of money’ has been explained and different methods of project evaluation have been discussed. Chapter 4 contains descriptions and illustrations of project cost estimation by client organizations. The concepts have been emphasized primarily with the help of real life cases. In Chapter 5, the different aspects of construction contracts have been discussed. In Chapters 6 and 7, the various planning and scheduling techniques are explained. Chapter 8 deals with the contractor’s estimation of cost and bidding strategy. In Chapter 9 issues related to construction equipment management are discussed, besides an overview of advanced concepts in economic analysis. Chapter 10 deals with construction accounts, while in Chapter 11, the salient features of construction material management are presented. In Chapter 12, the various aspects of project cost management are discussed and the concepts of value management have been illustrated with the help of a real life case project. Construction quality management, risk and insurance, and construction safety management are the subject matters for Chapter 13, 14 and 15, respectively. In Chapter 16, project monitoring and control systems are discussed, while in Chapter 17, construction claims, disputes and project closure issues are addressed. In Chapter 18, the computer applications in project scheduling, resource leveling, monitoring and reporting have been covered. The examples considered in Chapter 6, 7 and 16 have been solved using commonly used project management softwares, such as Microsoft Project and Primavera Project Planner. Finally, at the end, the factors for the success of a construction project are discussed which have been drawn from the author’s Ph.D. work. A number of appendices have been provided wherever felt necessary. References of books have been provided at the end of each chapter to assist the readers in further study. Also, each chapter has review questions–objective, short answer and long answer type. Depending on the requirements of the chapters, certain solved examples have also been provided. It is hoped that readers will find these useful.