Introduction

This report explains how the construction
industry has developed professionalism within the sector and how professional
institutions have played a part in this. It explains the roles of individuals
within a construction company and what their individual responsibilities are at
various stages of a construction project. There is also an explanation of the diverse
types of contracts and how they work.

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Developing professionalism within the construction
industry

In the construction sector some of the most crucial elements for the industry,
a company or an individual professional, are trust and reputation. Today
clients want to work with people who are some of the best in their field, who
they can trust and who can deliver a good quality service.

Over the years the construction industry
has developed professionalism and quality assurance within the sector and
professional institutes have been a large part of this. Such institutes include:

·        
CIOB – The Chartered Institute
of Building,

·        
ICE – Institute of Civil
Engineers,

·        
RICS – Royal Institution of
Chartered Surveyors,

·        
CIBSE – The Chartered
Institution of Building Services Engineers.

·        
RIBA – Royal Institute of
British Architects

Institutions like these, help develop
professionalism and quality within the industry by setting standards and
reviewing them regularly. They are responsible for ensuring that professionals
uphold acceptable standards of ethics, training and development. Most offer
accredited qualifications so that people in the industry can develop their
skills. The majority of institutes also require that members do a certain number
of hours of continual professional development (CPD) per year in order to
maintain their membership. By doing this the institutions are helping to ensure
that professionals within the industry are keeping up to date with their
training and knowledge. Membership with a professional institution shows a
person has a high level of academic knowledge and experience, is committed in their
chosen field and can be trusted to deliver a high quality professional service.

(Green, 2015), a construction
analyst and commentator recently did some research on understanding the value
of professionals and professional bodies. Two observations that he made within
his report are: “The polling of the
public found that a vast majority of those who know something about
professional bodies agree that they would trust a professional more if they
knew that they were a member of a professional body (76%), compared with 46% of
those who have never heard of professional bodies.”  And “The
MPs polled on balance believe professional bodies are effective in promoting
robust standards of compliance, governance and ethics in their industry, with
43% saying effective (scoring 4 to 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is not at all
effective and 5 very effective) and just 8% saying not effective (scoring 1 or
2). Importantly, those more familiar with chartered professional bodies are
much more likely to see them as effective in promoting good governance and
ethics.”  These statistics show how
much more likely a person is to trust a professional associated with a
professional institution and in turn employ them over someone who is not a part
of an institution.

Another way the industry has developed
professionalism and quality within the sector is by supporting and using innovative
ideas and techniques such as off-site manufacturing like; pods, pre-caste
concrete, Timber frames or panels and so on all of which improve quality
because they are constructed in a controlled environment before being
transported to site.

Company Structure, roles of
professionals and project stages

A typical construction company comprises of a
range of people with a variety of skills, who have various roles and
responsibilities within various stages of a project. Some people and roles
mentioned below at different stages of the project are not just specific to
that stage and most will stay with the project from start to finish.

All projects start with a planning and
design stage, also known as a pre-construction phase. The main things that
happen during this phase are:

v  Land is acquired, and surveys are undertaken

v  The Building is designed to the client’s specifications

v  The works for the project are planned

v  The materials are sourced

v  The cost of everything is estimated

Some of the people who will be involved
during this stage are listed below accompanied by a brief description of their
role:

·        
Architect- This person or sometimes team
of people are usually chosen by the client and will be responsible for
designing the building/project to meet the specifications or brief that is set
by the client. The architect or an architectural technician working below the
architect will usually produce a 2D or more often 3D design using software such
as AutoCAD. At this stage of the project they will also work alongside or in
partnership with other professionals such as; structural engineers, quantity
surveyors, building control surveyors and project managers.

·        
Structural Engineer – This person would
work closely with the Architect on the design of the building to ensure that it
is structurally sound. Their main duty is to ensure that the building will cope
with the conditions it is intended for and then some. They will also ensure
that the project meets all the legal, environmental and health and safety laws
and requirements.

·        
Project Manager – This person will see
the project through from start to finish. They typically hold responsibility
for monitoring the progress of the project, helping with the design and
implementation, setting time scales and objectives/phases in the project and
communicating with all parties involved such as the client, contractors,
suppliers etc. to ensure that everyone is on the same page and the project runs
smoothly.

·        
Quantity surveyor (QS) – This person is
in short, the money person. They are responsible for working out how much
everything costs and monitoring the budget and expenditure throughout the
project. In addition, they are also responsible for ensuring a project meets
quality and legal standards throughout as well as making sure the client
receives value for money. They are usually employed for larger more costly
projects.

·        
Building Control Surveyor – This person
is usually employed by a private company or local authority to carry out
inspections at various stages of a project to ensure that regulations such as
health and safety, fire safety, and energy conservation have been met. They
will usually be involved intermittently from the start to end of a project.

 

The next stage of a project will depend on
what type of site you are working with, in this case a brown field site will
need a demolition phase. This is where any existing structures are torn down
and the site cleared ready for construction to begin. Typical people that may
be involved in this stage of the project are;

·        
Site Engineer/Manager – This person’s
role is to organize and supervise the overall construction on site. Their job
is to liaise with the project manager, designers/architect and client and
report on the progress of the project, maintain quality checks and preform
safety inspections as well as solving any problems that may occur on site.

·        
Demolition Operative/Topmen/Manager –
This person/s are responsible for planning and managing the demolition of a
site this includes; health and safety, finances, the use of specialist
equipment such as heavy plant machinery, preparation for explosive demolition
and the removal of hazardous waste.

·        
Plant Operators – This person/s are
normally trained in, and hold a license for using specific or specialized heavy
machinery such as bulldozers, compactors and giant cranes, they are responsible
for any attachments, the maintenance and safety of these machines.

Once the site
has been cleared the construction can commence.

1.   
To begin foundations need to be
laid, this is what will support the building and transfer the loads from the
structure to the ground.

2.   
Superstructure erected, this is
essentially like the building skeleton which will hold everything up and
transfer the loads to the foundations.

3.   
First fixings, this includes
the bare bones of the interior such as floors, ceilings and all the wiring
needed for electricity and pipes for plumbing etc.

4.   
Second fixings are where you
install things such as windows, doors, switches and sockets.

5.   
Finally, third fixings will
finish the building by installing things like kitchen units, light fittings,
painting and decorating and finally testing everything so that it can be signed
off and the project completed.

Some of the people that will be involved in
the 5 stages above include but are not exhaustive to;

·        
General Construction Operative – Also
known as a laborer or ground worker has many tasks on site but each as
important as the next, they will undertake tasks such as digging holes,
operating hand machinery such as drills, mixing concrete among other things.
They work alongside skilled trade people and report to the site manager or
supervisor.

·        
Piling Operatives ­– These are skilled
operatives that are usually only on site before and during the stage when the
foundations are laid, their job is to drive columns made of various materials
such as steel or concrete into the ground to support the foundations and
structure.

·        
Buyer – This person will work with the
QS and site manager. Their role is to source suppliers and materials, order
materials, manage stocks, budgets and deliveries.

·        
Skilled Operatives – Skilled operatives
include carpenters, bricklayers, scaffolders, glazers, roofers, joiners and so
on, they are responsible for duties specific to their trade and will report to
the site supervisor or manager. Most will be on site for the duration of the
construction phase.

(Construction Industry
Training Board, 2017)