A project management company must thoroughly understand the needs of the client before it can successfully manage an engineering and construction project on behalf of the client, says engineering and construction company Fluor South Africa project director Arnout van Haarlem.
“This requires engaging with the client and having discussions at senior and stakeholder levels to get to the root of what the client wants. It is important to have these discussions because, during these early stages of the project this is where important elements such as safety, cost of the project, quality of work to be done and the schedule to be followed throughout the duration of the project are defined as key project goals,” he adds.
Fluor has been in Africa for more than 50 years and has executed major engineering and construction projects for companies such as petrochemicals major Sasol, crude oil refineries the National Petroleum Refiners of South Africa and the South African Petroleum Refineries, and Engen.
According to Van Haarlem, it is important to understand that there is a significant difference between executing large- and small-scale projects. Everything is more complex in large projects because there is a huge amount of work to be done and a lot of time is required to consider various execution strategies before the right one can be chosen. It is also important that the project manager has experience in planning and managing engineering and construction projects.
Van Haarlem says, when starting a project, Fluor makes sure that it understands exactly what the requirements of the client are. Following this, it implements its internal processes and governance, so that, once the client’s needs have been determined, the next stages of planning can be aligned with Fluor’s execution model in order to reduce risk for both the client and Fluor. “The next step is to determine a rough schedule.
This schedule will be based on the key concepts from the client and Fluor’s processes, as well as the risks involved in the project for both Fluor and the client,” he explains.