The Planning Process at a Construction Site

Abstract: Planning, coordination and control processes are integral parts of construction project management. Although construction projects are repetitive and their execution is routine, practitioners find themselves at a crossroad deciding whether to specify a detailed course of action or to allow it to develop over the duration of the project. The extensive use of and reliance on subcontractors, the frequent changes made to project descriptions and goals along with the preference for loose control ascribed to site management in Sweden makes planning challenging.The aim of this thesis is to investigate the planning process as it is practiced at the intersection between planning, coordination and control, and the execution of activities. It is based on a case study in which ethnographic research methods were applied. The study spans 18 months of observations at a construction site, principally in the role of a participant-as-observer.This thesis demonstrates that it is feasible to allow the detailed course of action to develop over the duration of a construction project by defining activities and deciding upon their timing and sequence using coordination and control processes rather than a planning process. The coordination and control processes in the project were not functions solely of the planning process. This has implications for the definitions of planning found in the conventional project management body of knowledge, and implies that the planning process needs to ensure that the conditions necessary for an efficient utilisation of resources assigned are in place.

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