The economy of Kenya has seen an increase in growth since the 1990s. We have seen lenders diversify their investment portfolio to real property, which has led to the current boom in the property market. According to the 2015 economic survey, the real estate sector’s contribution to the GDP increased from 6% in 2013 and 8.5% in 2014. Developments such as the Garden City development, Konza Technopolis and two rivers in Kiambu, LAPSET project, Thika Superhighway and Standard gauge railway, Tatu City, and Konza Technopolis are some of the many capital-intensive projects that are changing the region’s construction landscape. The bad news is that these projects can lead to a property bubble and eventually, the entire East Africa region’s economy will suffer.
Construction Project Management
Construction Project Management has emerged in the 21st century because of the increasing complexity and size of construction projects.
Project Management, as defined in the PMBOK is the “Ao,Aoapplications of skills, knowledge and techniques to project activities in order to meet project objectives”. A successful project is one that meets the three bottom-lines of time, budget and acceptable quality.
21st Century Construction Project Management Challenges
Discipline is key to the delivery of successful projects. However, it has not been widely adopted in Kenya. These are the challenges.
Risk Management
Uncertainty is the leading cause of large variations in output in the construction industry. The “Aoconstruction boom” has led to an increase in the number of projects, which in turn has increased the complexity and required greater coordination between the different disciplines. We have seen many projects suffer cost escalation and delayed completion.
Without risk management, lenders are exposed, developers suffer great losses, and the reputation of consultants is at risk. This is why Project Managers are needed in the construction industry.
Paradigm Shift
The Architect was traditionally the lead consultant on construction projects. This is still the case in Kenya and East Africa. Incorporating the services of a Project manager into the construction process is seen as increasing professional fees and, on the other hand, supplanting authority from the lead consultant. It is important to embrace the positive changes of 21st century practice and accept this new ideology, which will add value to the industry.
Recognization of the Profession
Project management in Kenya has not been accredited or recognized as of today. This is despite the widespread adoption of project management techniques and practices for the successful execution of major global projects. Uncertified quacks have taken advantage of this and damaged the professionalism of the profession by managing projects poorly without taking into account the constraints. This is evident in the collapsed structures all around the city. The profession would be restricted to those who are accredited, which would encourage project management in the professional world.
Supremacy Wars
The world is a jungle, and survival instinct is an animalistic instinct. These situations, however primitive they may seem, are quite common in the workplace, especially when a new discipline has been introduced. As is evident in the context for the construction industry, people will instinctively react to their dominance. A lack of knowledge about project management coupled with unclear roles are two reasons why.