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Suggest ways of manpower planning short and long terms including any
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PCPM Ltd where George became the Managing Director and his younger brother
Arthur, Production Director. George and Arthur were soon handling contracts in
excess of $12 Million. At this point in time, the fortunes of the company seemed to
waver. Both George and Arthur were convinced of the importance of moving faster into much larger contracts, but Arthur was privately wondered if they had the right staff to
A recent contract of $12 Million on a new multi-residential development seemed
to be precipitating trouble of all kinds. Colin Thompson, Project Manager at the time
of taking on this contract, had handed in his resignation and left soon afterwards. His
reason for this was simply that he could no longer work with George. Colin Thompson had been in the habit of holding meetings once or twice a week which he had chaired to which he had invited the site agent, the section foreman and the concrete ganger.
The discussions at the site meeting detailed progress, problems, action plan together
with a short term program were given to site personnel in an endeavour to keep within the time schedule. These meetings usually lasted most of the morning.
Colin Thompson had also attended monthly official site meetings chaired by the
architect to which Consultants, Sub-contractors, the Clerk of Works and the Quantity
Surveyor came. These meetings invariably lasted all day. But all was not well. This particular project had a main section with a reinforced concrete framed building cladded from the first floor with precast units. A part situated adjacent
to the main section needed special services. This too had reinforced concrete up to the ground floor but had brickwork above.
The site manager, a man of 52, called Jason Fisher had worked his way up from
an apprenticeship with the company. He complained that it was impossible to control
things because he was unable to get the foreman to see the need to work to the given programs, and that he never seemed to hear about mistakes and poor performance until it was too late.
One of the three trades foremen, Toby Parry, an ex-apprentice of 38, complained, that the programs he had been given were unrealistic and that too much time was spent talking about them and not enough time doing the job. His words, in fact were “How can I control my gangs when I’m in the office listening to everyone else’s problems?” Arthur admitted that he had not realised the job was in such a bad way until George had told him of the way the architect has reacted and how confidence was been seriously undermined. During George’s last conversation with Colin Thompson, the latter had been uptight – “Why blame me?” he had said. “I can’t get the site staff to work to my programs – and I have certainly spent enough time trying to get the details across.” On the contract itself, he admitted to not knowing about the poor performances until it was too late. The first valuation had been late and this was the first indication that money was being lost. Colin Thompson had hoped that things would improve with time but they had only seemed to get worse.
Arthur had given the site staff a severe reprimand when he told them that Colin
Thompson was leaving and he had assured the Architect, Jean Humphreys, that
things would improve. The section engineer, John Gregson, responsible to the site agent, an ex-apprentice of 26, Cert IV in Building qualification and the planning engineer, Terry Clarke, responsible for producing short term programs, were quite upset to hear that Colin Thompson had left. “He never really had a chance” was their comment.
The concrete ganger, an ex-labourer of 37 who was responsible for all concrete
work, access, ordering stock and so on, was less troubled by the impending change
of project manager “That fellow Colin talked more than he did” was his laconic
statement. The two site engineers (both with Bachelors in Engineering, and have
responsibility for setting out on medium and large contracts) and the site Surveyor
(who is responsible for monthly valuation and variations and is looked on as a senior
man with considerable experience in contracting), were all quite shocked to know that Colin Thompson had “walked out” after “a quarrel with George”.
Within the week, Arthur arrived on site with Alex Robinson, the newly appointed project manager. Alex quickly becomes aware that the contract is seriously behind programme and that both the commissioned architect and the managing director are aware of this.