Paper Example on Construction Project of University of Exeter Business School

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Harvey Mudd College
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The case study examines the construction project of University of Exeter business school. The project was designed to begin on 2007 and was expected to be for completion by January 2011. The project was completed on time and by January 2011; the business school had started operating. The objectives of the project include delivering a building that would promote the institutions position at the international level as a sustainable institution with the aesthetic factor. Again, the project aimed at maintaining students satisfaction during the construction period. Through promoting the aesthetic factor of the organization, the project further aimed at improving and enhancing the teachers and learners experiences that would help the school increase its admission rate and also increase fee revenue.

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The projects concepts that can be discussed the construction of the project include time cost expectation and quality. Time is a fundamental factor that can greatly influence the success of the project. The clients objectives can be achieved through management of time in the construction so that the project is completed on time as the client expects (Love 2002). However, this requires more than just dedication but also disciplined management efforts. In the case study, the time factor was significantly utilized, and the project was completed on time by January 2011. The cost of expectation is another fundamental factor of consideration in the project management process. Clients are always concerned with the overall profitability of the projects; therefore, they try to minimize cost overruns and project delays which are normally associated with the high costs of construction (Teltumbde 2000). The Exeter project in the case study experienced a delay for almost half a year; however, this did not deter the contractors from completing the project on time. The case study further states that the project sometimes experienced exceeded budget which called for redesigning of the project so as to meet the quality and deadline. Quality is another important factor in the project management which is fundamental when it comes to success achievements. Quality is one of the factors that contribute to the concept of value for money (Telumbde 2000). As stated in the objectives of the project in the case study, the projects aim was to improve the institutions outlook at the international level so as to attract more students which guarantee the school more revenue. Despite the challenges experienced during the construction, the project was successful and even exceeded the expected quality.

The project also followed the 4ds and 4ps principles of management. The 4ds include discovery, dream, design and destiny phases (McGeorge & Zou 2012). The discovery phase involves the identification of the project and how it can look like. This phase seeks to understand the project and brings the positive core into focus. The Exeter projects objective was to become a world-class institution through the construction of the new building. Dream phase tries to explore the project and how it might be. This phase tries to explore the strategic opportunities for the future and the institutions most creative potentials. The project in the case study tried to meet this process by involving the stakeholders in the process. As stated in the case study, the project management team involved stakeholders in the decision making. Design phase involves the process of making choices about the organization and how it should be in the community (Ludema et al. 2001). The project in the case study met this process through its objective that states that it aimed at enhancing teachers and students experiences and increasing the number of students admitted. Destiny phase, on the other hand, involves initiating the actions to support the ongoing project. This phase focuses on the organizational commitment. The destiny phase can be realized through the launch of an innovative program in the organization. The University of Exeter met this process through the launch of a state of the sustainable art facility that would attract more students and expand the school's involvement in the international educational affairs.

The 4ps of management include people, product, process, and project (Pressman 2005). The success of project management depends on the four factors that have been identified as 4ps. The people form the most significant part of the project. The people involve everyone from the manager of the project such as manager, developer, client, and finisher. In most cases, the term people in project management are used to refer to the developers. The success of the project depends on the skills and capability of the developers. The Exeter project was successful despite the challenges because of the people involved who committed every resource and effort to achieve the unexpected success. The product is another factor among the 4ps of management. The product is what needs to be developed in the project. In the case study, the product is the new construction that was expected to expand the learning and teaching experience at the University of Exeter. The process is another 4ps factor which involves the framework that the people need to undertake so as to meet the expected product (Pressman 2005). The project, on the other hand, is everything that is undertaken in the construction so as to prevent any failure of the product realization. The product includes all the actions that the manager undertakes to prevent the failure of the product; for example, warning or taking steps to speed up the construction process. The case study states that despite the challenges, the project was able to be successful because of the managers actions to involve the stakeholders in the decision making.

Gantt chart

Gantt chart is one of the types of bar charts develop in the early 1900s by Henry Gantt (Maylor 2001). Gantt chart shows and illustrates the start and finish dates of the terminal and summary factors involved in the project construction. It also shows the dependency relationships between project activities to be undertaken to achieve the success of the project (Maylor 2001). The success of the project involves various activities which need to be managed effectively. Therefore, using Gantt chart can help the people to effectively manage the project and ensure that every activity progresses as expected. The diagram below (figure 1.0) shows a sample of Gantt chart constructed to show the task to be undertaken in the project, the start and end time and the duration of the tasks. The information used to draw the structure is obtained from table 1.0 (also shown below).

Name of task Start Date Duration End Date

Conceptual event 12/3 5 12/6

Layout logistics 12/6 3 12/9

Select equipment 12/8 2 12/11

Hire Manager 12/10 1 12/12

Hire Designer 12/11 1 12/13

Hire contractor 12/11 3 12/14

Purchase equipment 12/13 2 12/12

Table 1.0: Task in project

Figure 1.0: Gantt chart showing the project schedule

The above chart shows the tasks to be undertaken in the project in start date order. The chart gives the start date from the beginning to the end. The chart also shows end dates of the tasks with the task name expected to be undertaken. The chart helps to show step-by-step process supposed to be undertaken from conceptual event to purchasing of equipment.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) chart

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a system used in the project management to decompose the project into smaller units or components (Haugan 2008). The WBS is essential in the project management as it helps the team to organize their works into smaller and manageable sections. It also defines work structure in a hierarchical order that shows the entire workload expected to be undertaken in the project. It can also provide a cost-estimating and control details that help in the guidance for the project schedule development (Haugan 2008). WBS is a tree structure that shows divisions and subdivisions of efforts needed for the achievement of the project objectives. Work Breakdown Structure, therefore, can be understood as activities involved in the project in which one can determine and identify the project duration. The following figure is a sample of WBS of a construction like what is in the case study.

1876425165101.1 Construction

1.1 Construction

The figure shown above shows the hierarchical structure of events expected to be undertaken in the project construction of a building like that conducted by Turner & Townsend in the case study. The structure has various levels; for example, level 1 which is the project (construction), level 2 which is the subproject, and level 3 which is the sub-network and has various activities. A single project can have as many as five levels depending on the user. However, this structure only shows a sample of what WBS looks like and how it helps in the project management.

Payback Period

Payback period is a kind of financial metric system used in the analysis of cash flow in the project implementation. Payback period is expressed in some decimal years (Kerzner 2013); for example, Payback period = 4.5 years. The payback period shows the period that the project can start bringing profit to the owner of the project. Therefore, it tries to answer the question, when do one break even?

For example, we can use the example from the case study project which was supposed to be for completion by January 2011. The three-year project was expected to take 14 million; therefore, we can construct a payback period using the information we have collected so far. The table below shows a sample of how payback period of the Exeter project can be calculated. We are going to use a cash outflow and cash inflows as 8 million and 6 million respectively. We also use a net cash flow of 3 million for the first year, 1.5 million for the second year.

Expected cash flow Year 1 Year 2 Year 3

Cash inflows 6 million 6 million 6 million

Cash outflows -8 million -1.5 million 0

Net cash flow - 3 million 1.5 million 3 million

Cumulative (CF) -2 million 2.5 million 8.5 million

Table 2.0: Cash flow and cumulative numbers

The cumulative (CF) value is obtained by summing up the inflow and outflow cash of the current year and the proceeding years. Therefore, the payback period can be obtained by constructing a graph from the year and cumulative values. The figure below shows this information.

Figure 2.0: Payback period for the Exeter project

The payback period can be calculated with the formula: =Y+(A/B)

Where Y is the number of years before payback year, in our case Y=3.0

A= the total number of remaining to be paid back; it i...

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