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Arlene, it is a very basic question you have raised. Construction project Management is something more than Project Management as it not only includes all dimensions of Project Management but also focuses on technical application area of construction. As you would know project management skill alone is of no use until and unless you are able to marry it with some application area and have learnt properly that technology skill.
Second question, about constructions being programs, I think that is a very questionable statement you are making. Hope you understand the difference between projects and programs. Construction Industry may have either of them, but in most of the cases, these are projects as they deliver a product, service or result, not the benefit being realized directly. There can be construction programs like realizing the benefit of populating an area to a certain capacity, you may decide in your construction program, what products would be delivered in each of the projects of your program.
Construction projects are tracked and managed in exactly the same way any project is tracked and managed. Yes, I agree, there could be some custom approaches or systems that can be employed for tracking nd monitoring such projects. Last Planner System (LPS) and Location Based Management System (LBMS) are two such systems.
How does Construction Project Management differs from regular project management?
Normally there isn't such difference between Construction and other project management - project life cycle has the same phases. The engineering, technical solutions, technical approach and HSE is taking more time for approval from customer and/or government authorities. For example: For big construction project you have to make an environmental impact estimation; or to make an employees insurance and etc. prior to get approval for construction.
Construction project has stated norms, standard which has to be achieved. For example: you have to build according ASME xxxx or pipes have to be in accordance to ANSI. The colour of the paint has to be RAL 4100.
Do you treat construction projects as a 'program" (collection of different projects)?
I would refer construction projects as cumulative sub-projects (packages). For example: Project - Construct an Office Building - you have to make Civil Work, HVAC, Water Supply, E&I. Drainage and etc. All these is under main deliverable - Office Building and they are in the same budget. So if you dont perform some project you could achieve program goal, but if dont perform some sub-project (package) you can not achieve project deliverable.
How do you track the progress of the project?
You could track by manpower (total hours for the project), SPI = EV/ PV. The project baseline compare to the actual.
For example: you have to paint an office of 100 sqr.mtr., and you paint 20 sqr.m. - 20%
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