New book encourages better construction management

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New Zealand’s productivity could be boosted if more people working in the construction industry understood basic management principles, University of Auckland civil engineering associate professor Suzanne Wilkinson says.

Dr Wilkinson is the co-author, with architect Rosemary Scofield, of New Zealand’s only guide to construction management. The second edition of Management for the New Zealand Construction Industry, Pearson Education, has just been released.
“The main thing construction managers need to understand is how to balance time, cost and quality,” Dr Wilkinson says.

Slow uptake
“When construction managers lack a basic knowledge of effective management, then common mistakes occur. New Zealand’s construction industry has had issues with defects, slow uptake of technology, a reluctance to innovate and poor safety records. All of this drags down productivity and causes negative flow-on effects.”

Dr Wilkinson says the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan, released in early March, paints a grim picture of low productivity in the construction industry.
“With major spending earmarked for roads and infrastructure over the next 20 years, more efficient management of major projects will help ensure the Government’s aim of increasing productivity and economic growth.”

Dr Wilkinson says the text should be used by all employees working in management in the New Zealand construction industry, such as engineers, quantity surveyors, project managers and architects.
The book discusses the project, legal and business challenges that managers face in their working environments, with a focus on the way the New Zealand construction industry operates in terms of general management principles and their practical application.

All editions of the first version of the book, printed in 2003, sold out. The second edition has been updated to include new legislation and management processes used in the construction industry. It is available in most book stores.

Professor Wilkinson is an associate professor in construction management and leader of the Construction Management Group in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The University of Auckland.

A civil engineer with a PhD in construction management, her current research is in the areas of construction procurement and post-disaster reconstruction.
Rosemary Scofield is the business development manager at the Heavy Engineering Research Association for the Composite Structural Assemblies Project.
She holds a Master of Architecture degree from The University of Auckland, and is a registered architect.