What Organizational Structure Should Be Used in a Construction Project?
A construction project organizational structure has to help ensure on-time project completion within the set budget. You have to decide how best to assign responsibility for scheduling and cost control while making sure the project's working-level teams carry out the work in the right sequence and according to the specifications. An effective project organization leaves project team members free to decide on the technical aspects of their work while ensuring that they act within the project's time and cost constraints.
Organization of a project differs from that of an operating company because a project has a limited duration. Employees making up the project team come from a company's general work force and return there after the project is finished. Salaries, benefits and disciplinary matters remain with the corporate structure, while work-related decisions come from the project organizational structure, made up of functional units and working-level teams reporting to the project manager. Those involved in the project focus on getting the work done according to the project plan, satisfying specific cost, scheduling and quality objectives
Project managers need to control the project's scope and costs, as well as handling project scheduling. The project manager assigns responsibility for these functions to key people, and the organizational structure gives them direct access to the working-level teams carrying out the work. The teams either report back to the functional units on costs, progress and scope, or they require the approval of the functional managers to place orders and schedule work. In either case, the lines of reporting go from the project manager through the functional units to the working-level teams, and back through the functional units to the project manager.
Construction projects include a technical component that requires technical training, expertise and professional qualifications. The project manager organizes the working-level teams to carry out specific tasks, such as drywall or plumbing, in the right sequence. The functional units track progress, schedule the work and issue reports back to the project manager. When the company does not have the expertise in a particular field, it can hire contractors who interface directly with the functional groups to ensure that their work meets the requirements of the project.
Quality control is a specialized function that usually has an independent structure parallel to the project organization. Two requirements for quality control are that the quality manager reports directly to project management and that the personnel from the quality control department have direct access to everyone carrying out work on the project. The project organization chart generally shows the quality manager directly below the project manager with a direct reporting path. The remaining access is through a matrix organization with reporting paths from each functional unit and working-level team back to the quality assurance department. Through the link to project management, the quality manager has authority over quality matters throughout the project organization.