Monitoring and evaluation as performance management tool
A successful project is expected to meet three key performance indicators. The three key indicators, also referred to as the triple constraints of projects, are described as project cost, quality and schedule (Rahschulte & Milhauser, 2010).
Several performance indicators have evolved over the years. Pinto and Slevin (1988) identified project schedule, budget, performance and client satisfaction as the parameters with which to measure the success of a project. Several other studies have mentioned project success factors to include environmental factors, health and safety, effective project management and governance practices (Mirza, Pourzolfaghar & Shahnazari, 2013; Akanni, Oke & Akpomiemie, 2015; Das & Ngacho, 2017). However, to ensure success of project, thus meeting the agreed performance measures for the project, monitoring, evaluation and controlling of the project have been topical in the field of project management (He et al., 2012; Zhao, Mbachu & Domingo, 2017). Igbokwe-Ibeto (2012) adds that due to the tedious nature of construction projects, it is imperative to monitor and evaluate projects in order to achieve success. Unfortunately, M&E as a performance measurement and assessment tool is missing in the literature. The role played by M&E in contributing to the broader spectrum of successful construction project delivery is essential and, as such, should be recognized across sectors of developing economies (Tengan & Aigbavboa, 2018), particularly in the construction industry. In the current economic constraint, particularly in developing nations, project M&E has become topical in demonstrating accountability and project impact (Barasa, 2014). M&E prompts the conditions under which projects are likely to succeed or falter and can serve as an early warning tool for potential problems. It can also lead to ideas for potential remedial action. The combined effect of M&E on a Construction Project (CP) will result in rich knowledge generation, construction programme improvement, accountability, transparency, resource allocation, advocacy and impact assessment. The above is brought to bear through the diversities of stakeholders that are usually involved in the monitoring and evaluation of every CP. The lack of integration of M&E models and practice in the Construction Industry (Cl), particularly in Ghana, into mainstream CP management has accounted for many CP failures in project delivered according to time, cost, quality and meeting set health and safety (H&S) standards. This book attempts to fill this gap.
Emerging trends in project monitoring and evaluation
Monitoring and evaluation generally has been largely recognized as a humancentered activity. In the construction industry, project teams (consultants) consisting of professionals such as engineers, architects and quantity surveyors are contracted and tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that designs and other development objectives are implemented within the framework to achieve the objectives of the project. Personal site visits are undertaken by stakeholders to ascertain progress and sometimes the quality of projects. Projects also require the submission of photographs as an evidence of the progress made. Other traditional approaches have been employed off site to verify and validate other key performance indicators such as cost and laboratory testing to validate quality.
With the emergence of technology, stakeholders on a project are able to work remotely and still ensure the right things are done and are also able to access any relevant information required for the purpose of evaluation and decision making. Emerging/emerged technologies that are facilitating M&E in complex project environments are the use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Building Information Modelling (B1M). As confirmed in the literature, the construction industry has been slow in embracing new technologies as compared to others such as manufacturing, even though the long-term advantages are well known. PwC asserts that the use of drones or UAVs in a construction project offers an unparalleled record of all activities, cuts planning and survey costs, increases efficiency and accuracy and eliminates disputes over the status of a project at any given point in time in the life cycle of the project.
Drone and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
A drone, also referred to as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), is a flying robot controlled from a remote unit and due to its intelligent software programming, it can manage all things in air. The high inefficiencies, poor safety, project delays and cost overruns reported in the project management literature can potentially be improved with the deployment of drones in the monitoring and evaluation process. Drones have the potential to increase impact of the M&E process through data acquisition, processing and management for projects. Managing a construction project is no small task. From tracking site progress and monitoring safety and security to overseeing subcontractors and keeping stakeholders informed, there is almost no end to the amount of coordination you face on any given day, hence the need for project managers and M&E teams on projects to include drones to their toolkit. On a construction site, drones can assist with pre-construction site review, aerial surveying and mapping, measurement of excavation depths and material stockpiles, monitoring and documenting job site progress, productivity and inspecting work that is difficult or dangerous for human inspectors to reach. Not only can drones ensure efficient utilization of project resources, but they can also give your team a rich set of data for more informed communication and decision making, i.e. data taken by drones can be used to assist a design team in understanding the project site orienting structures and locating utilities.
Building information modelling (BIM)
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an innovative technology, a repository of digital information, a modeling technology and a global digital technology which enhances the management of project information and the construction process. It helps in the creation and maintenance of an integrated collaborative database of multi-dimensional data concerning the design, construction and operations of projects, with the aim of improving collaboration between stakeholders and reduce the time needed for documentation of the project and producing more predictable project outcomes (Abanda et al., 2015; Fazli et al., 2014; Olawumi & Chan, 2019; Sampaio, 2015). The impact of BIM on the construction
Project management 7 process is enormous, ensuring that B1M provides “single, non-redundant, interoperable information repository” capable of supporting every stage, process and functional units in a construction project (Olatunji, Olawumi & Ogunsemi, 2016; Olawumi & Ayegun, 2016; Olawumi, Akinrata & Arijeloye, 2016). An integrated M&E approach will he enhanced with the introduction and adoption of B1M in the construction process. The call for relevant competencies in B1M application on projects needs immediate attention.
Geographic information system (GIS)
A G1S is a set of tools comprising hardware, software, data and users. This set of tools allows for capturing, storing, managing and analyzing digital information or data and also making graphs and maps and representing alphanumeric data (Lopez Trigal, 2015). In the simplest terms, GIS merges cartography, statistical analysis and database technology. In M&E, data or information on project progress, quality and cost are collected, analyzed and decisions are taken based on these data. In recent times, project delivery objectives are more aligned to ensuring sustainability indicators such as health and environment. This requires the adoption of an approach or system and technologies that will facilitate the collection of such information for decisions to be taken. Towards achieving that, a GIS readily comes to mind. GISs’ application in the construction industry is limited, compared to its application in addressing land and natural resource management problems and environmental issues. In the construction industry, GIS has been applied in construction safety planning to understand the execution sequence in safety planning (Bansal, 2011). While the merging of M&E and GIS into a single assessment tool to display useful information to support successful project outcomes is acknowledged as a challenge, the complement of the two activities can be seen in their distinct applications. M&E focuses on measuring the changes and the outcomes occurring over the project duration, while GIS is concerned with identifying where these outcomes occurred.