Project Management : The Time Constraint

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Abstract There are three major constraints of Project Management: the Time constraint, the Cost constraint and the Scope/Quality constraint. As the name suggests, the Time constraint refers to the time available for the completion of the project, Cost constraint refers to the allocated budget and the Scope constraint refers to the final expected outcome. For a construction project, it is virtually impossible to achieve the best of all worlds, i.e., cheapest, fastest and of the desired quality. Due to the dynamic nature of a construction project, a construction engineer faces a large number of complex problems. As a result of which, the cheapest method may yield a product which falls short in quality or the fastest means to achieve the…show more content…
Trade-offs between the total cost, duration and overall quality is an issue that is commonly discussed by all project managers. The goal of this trade-off analysis is to come up with a plan that minimizes the cost and duration while meeting the quality as demanded by the owner. Understanding the dynamic inter-relationship between these parameters is essential for planning a successful project that satisfies all parties (Owner, Construction Manager, Contractor, and Consultant). [7] During 1970 to 1990, a one-dimensional approach was followed. The primary aim of project managers was to reduce the total cost of the construction project. Gradually, ‘Time’ was considered as the second factor in addition to the cost of the project. This was a two-dimensional approach. Quality was introduced as the third dimension by the end of 20th century. More recently, another dimension, scope, has been realized as an equally important factor while carrying out a trade-off analysis to optimize the overall output of the project. See the figure below which graphically shows this evolution of contracting methods. Figure 1: Evolution of Contracting Methods Construction industry is very volatile and involves huge amount of uncertainty due to numerous stages involved in any construction project. The construction industry in the US contributes about $600 billion, which is approximately 5% of the total GDP of the country. So
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