The construction project manager in South Africa: analysis of industry-specific knowledge

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 17
  • Abstract:

    English: Construction project managers in the built environment come from various backgrounds and knowledge bases; therefore, the project managers’ project management set may differ. The type of knowledge required to improve CPD training of project managers thus needs to be determined. This would raise the knowledge levels needed for built environment project managers. The aim of this article is to determine the knowledge needed for the successful management of projects within the built environment. Industry-specific guidelines for construction project management (PMBOK and SACPCMP) were obtained and analysed. Expert interviews were conducted with experienced specialists (n=10) who held a senior managerial position within project management in the built environment. A case study and email questionnaires (n=40) were also analysed to determine the type of knowledge required. Data analysis was done using Microsoft Excel 2003®. Three areas of knowledge were identified, namely project management knowledge, industry-specific knowledge and knowledge through experience. Of these, industry-specific knowledge was considered the most important, although all three were very important. Project management knowledge areas essential to project managers included the nine PMBOK knowledge areas from the PMI PMBOK guide, 4th edition 2008, four additional PMI Construction extension to the PMBOK areas, experience as well as built environment-specific knowledge. This study was limited to the nine knowledge areas and did not include stakeholder management as the tenth area. The results from all three test methods (interviews, questionnaires and a case study) indicated that knowledge was essential for effective leadership, trust and communication within a project. Without knowledge, these organisational factors were compromised and project success could be negatively affected. It is concluded that the knowledge needed for the management of projects within the built environment had to include industry-specific knowledge pertinent to the built environment. The knowledge required does not currently appear in a single document, and it is recommended that a new document or set of required skills be established.