For whatever reason, there is a whole list of names given for Project Review meetings in Construction. Depending on where you’ve worked, you’ve likely heard them referred to as ‘Project Reviews’, ‘Cost to Completes’, ‘MPR’s’, ‘CVR’s – the list goes on.
What shouldn’t change however, is the importance placed on these meetings and your preparation for them. Too often these meetings are paid lip service, which isn’t good.
Project Reviews, as I call them, should be held monthly with the key players from the design, construction and the commercial departments getting together to review the programme, the budget and any major commercial, contractual or site issues.
The Project Review template should summarise the project on a single page for discussion with Senior Management and it must, as a minimum, include the following:
- The Cash Flow status
- Planned Progress vs. Actual Progress
- Variations and Claims
- Forecast Spend vs. Actual Spend
- Anticipated Margin
It is critical that the budget and programme are reviewed as a team so a collective responsibility grows. Too often there is a disconnect: the Project Manager thinking the QS doesn’t understand site, while the QS feeling budgetary pressures the Project Manager doesn’t.
Project Reviews should reduce this and if done correctly they will protect and improve your margin.
So what’s the best approach?
1. Quality Front-End Budgeting & Forecasting
Following the Contract Review, the Project Team should understand the Scope of the Works in detail. From here a budget can be set.
The forecast by the Estimating Department should be considered as part of this process, but the Project Team should complete its own forecast that becomes their ‘bible’. If done right, this will then become an excellent document to be reviewed and updated each month.
2. Risk Identification
We’ve already spoken in previous weeks about how, too often risks aren’t identified until it’s too late. Project Reviews should prevent this.
By reviewing costs monthly, you will see month-to-month where you’re spending and why. Often this won’t be your fault and in reviewing spending together (Site and QS), you’ll quickly identify variations, delays and claims that you can take to the client.
3. Give it Time
Everyone is busy during a Project, but really successful teams know how to detach. Take yourselves away from site for half a day or a day each month and work in the office to review things away from the pressures of site, your client and your subcontractors.
If the key team members do this, the budget and strategy can be reviewed with a clear and focused mind. Simple, but effective.
4. Know what you want
Going into meetings without a clear set of outcomes you want to achieve is a waste of time.
Project Review meetings are a rare opportunity to sit down with Senior Managers to get their input. Your Directors are busy people, which means getting their time during the month is not always easy. But, in the Project Reviews they’re always there and they’re always listening.
Make sure you understand exactly the result you want from the meetings and make sure you get it.
Project Reviews are the staple of any successful project. Working together as a team on the budget and other key matters will deliver results and gives shared responsibility.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss Project Review templates, or access some budgeting documents, please get in touch via email and we will send you one.
About Paul Heming
Paul was a Quantity Surveyor who gained 10 years experience of managing £200 million worth of flagship UK projects, including 20 Fenchurch Street and Battersea Power Station. In 2015, Paul founded C-Link with the intention of sharing his expertise of managing major projects with the SME market.