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Tech and planning skills vital for construction leaders

Home Infrastructure Construction & Civils Tech and planning skills vital for construction leaders

THE Project Management Institute (PMI) has introduced a series of seven courses to improve project management skills in the construction industry. Leading to a Construction Professional in Built Environment Projects (CPBEP) certification, the courses are designed to help project managers improve margins in the industry often plagued by cost overruns and project delays.

The CPBEP is PMI’s first industry-specific solution designed for construction professionals.
PMI created the certification in collaboration with construction industry leaders and consultations with project managers who face the twin challenges of balancing technology and talent. Both the Lean Construction Institute and the Construction Industry Institute were integral to developing the certification along with Saudi Aramco, the United States Department of Energy, DPR Construction and BHP amongst others.

Technical skills needed to improve project performance

The construction industry is seeing a rise in the use of new technologies such as drones and artificial intelligence, mobile apps, cloud communication, and data management, which demands different skillsets to complete projects successfully. Add a diverse workforce, and a new skills landscape begins to emerge. Companies today need professionals with technical to navigate the changing workplace.

George Asamani Business Development Lead at PMI Africa says “We see improvement in technology adoption, but technology is just an enabler. It’s still people and their skills that are critical to improving project performance.”

A recent PMI survey of more than 40,000 certified project management professionals working in the construction industry found that a significant number of construction projects experience scope creep and delays and ended over budget.

GCR Ratings South Africa in its Corporate Sector Risk Score records that risk in the South African construction industry is characterised by the complex nature of work undertaken as well as the relatively low margins that can be extracted. It further goes on to add that lack of skills is especially a risk in the country’s construction sector.

Construction companies also face the continuous threat of delays and cost overruns resulting in loss making contracts and substantial unanticipated cash outflows. Safety and environmental factors are also concerns often leading to large, unexpected, liabilities that damage reputation and add costs. GCR expects that a gradual adoption of technology will increase operating efficiencies, enhance skills, improve sustainability, reduce costs and improve profit margins.

Globally construction has not been performing well, and the local construction industry has been depressed for several years even before COVID-19 brought the sector to a halt.

Wasteful expenditure

Even in good times, PMI’s Pulse of the Profession report suggests that the sector’s wasteful expenditure sits at $127M for every $1bn spent. This amounts to over $1.6 trillion wasted annually due to capital projects not being delivered on time or within budget.

“But this doesn’t have to be the industry’s future. With more than 50 years in the project management industry, PMI is uniquely positioned to help equip professionals with the skills needed to transform the industry through developing these innovative learning methods and practices,” adds Asamani.

To be eligible for the certification, professionals need three or more years of experience as a project manager, lead or contributor in the construction / built environment.

The courses can be taken in any order and present an opportunity for professionals to focus on topics they are interested in. Students can either complete individual courses and earn specific micro-credentials or complete all courses in preparation for the capstone exam.
Three of the seven courses offer micro-credentials on completion of a post-course exam.

The micro-credentials award a digital badge to show the user’s mastery of the content. Each course explores a specific area of construction project management, such as communication and risk management.

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