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Site Meetings, Monthly Meetings in Construction Works

Site meetings in construction works are important aspects of good project management. Holding regular site meetings of several forms, between employers, contractors, vendors, suppliers and all those related in the contract works are crucial for success. Failures of projects are all attributed to lack of project management and one of the key component is a lack of any adequate and proper Meetings between all relevant parties.

If you want your projects to be implemented properly i.e. On time, within Budget, compliance to contract drawings, specifications, and most importantly, to avoid disputes and future problems and issues, hold regular and proper meetings between Contractors, Employers & Consultants. There are no other alternatives. Each party itself such as Contractor's own Organisation, and Employer's Project Team, Consultant's Team would also need regular project meetings within. Never Assume everything is all right and others will do things you don't do.

Monthly Site Meetings

A Monthly Meeting where all parties to the Contract : Contractor, Employer, Consultants are to attend to discuss, review, decide on all matters pertaining to the Contract Works.

A Monthly Meeting should be scheduled from the day the Construction works starts, with the 1st Meeting being the Kick-Off Meeting/Site Handover when the Contract is officially handed over from the Employer/Owner of the Project to the Contractor. This is an important meeting as all rules, regulations, basic contractual matters are clearly laid out and formulated for the whole works. The Contractor will have to submit his organisation structure, clarifications of main issues, while the Employer will lay out his obligations and highlight specific requirements in the contract. The Consultant for the project will be the person to coordinate the relationships between the Employer and the Contractor, and he will lay down the specific requirement for compliance by BOTH parties.

The Monthly Meetings should be scheduled from the 1st Kick-Off/Site Handover Meeting, every month until the handover date which should be the Interim Final/Last Meeting.

All parties should then adhere to this schedule.

Weekly Site Technical Meetings

A Site Technical Meeting, should be a Site Issue, a Working Session, and should involve site personnel and be carried out On-Site, in Temporary Site Offices. This should involve only site personnel from the Contractor's, Employer's, and Consultant's side.

The Site Technical Meetings should be held on a weekly basis and more regular if there are crucial issues to be discussed. It should be a purely technical work meeting, where site problems are solved immediately. It should not be formal and minutes need not be prepared, however, attendance record should be forwarded to Senior Managers, and any issues cannot be solved should be brought to attention of Senior Managers.

Helpful facilities include : a big white board, a big computer monitor, computers & MS Software, AutoCAD, A3 color printer with cheap refillable ink (or color laser printer), a big long working table twice plywood, very good lighting, a handy digital camera, and lots of coffee would be good start. 

Project Schedules

This is an important issue in any Contract as delays will cost additional expenses for all parties. A detailed review of Project Schedules or Work Programmes is a must on a Weeky basis, and be discussed in detail in every Meetings between the parties.

Proper use of MS Project Software or similar Project Management or Construction Management Software can made to advantage. The main problem is not many people can use this software properly, and more for "show" than for project management. Every Project Managers and Engineers should learn this software and an experienced site technician can be trained to managed the data.

Financial Schedules

This is an the most important issue which must be evaluated by all Parties during any meetings. A proper financial management is crucial to the project implementation and without proper money management & resources, the works will simply NOT MOVE. Many Employers & Consultants assume that Contractors have limitless funds allocated for the works and have the wrong attitude of taking it easy on contractor's claims and payments. This is not so. Contractor would normally allocate a 10% project funds for implementation, with many on materials on 15 days or 30 days credit. Contractor's debts will be accumulating if he cannot roll his funds from uncertainly in payments.

International Contracts have Financial Schedules written into the contract so the employer is liable to pay on time, usually set at 15 days or 30 days upon receipt of Payment Invoice. Local Malaysian does not have a standard although JKR / PWD and the Ministry of Works have set guidelines on payment release, but these are only guidelines and not accountable and liable, so not much value in contract sense.

Some Project Management Software, Construction Management Software have financial data incorporated into them, so an integrated information on Schedules and Costs will be provided.

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Philip Goh (B.Sc, MIEM, P.Eng. MICE, C.Eng)
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Authur- Philip Goh (B.Sc, MIEM, P.Eng. MICE, C.Eng) MEC Engineers, Civil & Structural Engineer HP: 016-8672189, Email: Widget: email cloaker