IT serves Construction: It is Time to Return the Compliment

The IT industry has borrowed its manpower terminology from the construction industry, hence

  • Project Manager
  • Software engineer
  • Information architect
  • Software architect

and similar terms. The logical addition to address the concerns below, would be

  • Project planner
  • Quantity surveyor

Why not? Surely if the architect and the engineer(s) are required, somebody needs to attend to the suitable contractual arrangement, quantification and payment issues to ensure a fair, reasonable and smoothly operating contract. The quantity surveyor has the necessary skills, but do they possess the flair and initiave to step out of the mould?

VDDB rely on its IT partner to keep the wheels oiled informationwise. It could be time to return the courtesy and serve the IT industry with real solutions to provide a reliable agreement between client and contractor.

The following appeared in the Business Report (with Star), page 8, Friday, 11 February 2000:

IT could take a leaf from the construction industry

Service and solutions providers in the information technology (IT) industry should follow the example of project management in the construction industry, says Richard Firth, the chairman of IT consulting and software development house MIP Holdings.

“In the construction industry, every project is strictly controlled and governed by pre-determined deadlines based on the expectations of the abilities of the construction companies and allied contractors and sub-contractors to deliver.

“Every step of the construction project is documented, proportions are measured, quantities of materials and labour requirements are assessed and the attendant costs and times required to complete the project are carefully calculated,” says Firth.

In the construction industry, regular progress reports, project and site meetings ensure the project keeps to the deadlines. Unforeseen obstacles that crop up are factored into the equation.

Expectations are tempered, and when deadlines are not met, explanations are required, and penalties are levied.

Clients use these penalty clauses to ensure that contractors operate in as professional and diligent a way as possible.

“If these rules and parameters were to be transferred to the IT industry there would be a major turnaround in the modus operandi of service providers,” says Firth.

“It could become a reality if project managers were given sharper teeth and more dedicated, professional project managers were used to drive projects”.

“It is just as important for the client to have internal project managers to manage the relationship with the service providers, as is the case in the construction industry.

“Professional IT project managers are ideally people who have a strong IT background and can protect the client from unscrupulous service providers,” he says.

Firth maintains that many IT service providers inflate their price and extend their deadlines to cover up the failings of their weak internal management structures.

Leonard van der Dussen

About Us

VDDB provides project structuring, execution and control services that makes projects predictable and controllable. Some clients prefer the full project office function, including procedures, procurement, contract administration, policies and general project execution and co-ordination, and use selected services.


The concept of analytical quantity surveying is one of numerous enhanced services where traditional skills are merged with information management tooling to provide strongly enhanced project services in a fast world which is keen for optimisation.

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