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Unit  Project Control & Monitoring for Construction


Section 1. Procure, Monitor & Control Materials
Section 2. Procure & Monitor Plant & Equipment
Section 3. Monitor & Control Work
Section 4. Monitor & Control Costs


Information and Guidance is available on how you should study

Study Guide


Assignment for Unit 2

Before Submitting your assignment you MUST read and conform to

Instructions for

Submitting Assignments


Additional Learning Resourses



Additional Information

You should relate your responses to any of the tasks set in this unit to the documents listed below; these will provide information about the type and size of the project.  

Section 1



Section 2



Section 3


Section 4


Unit aim:  This unit is designed to meet the needs of construction managers, to provide them with knowledge of how to control and monitor operations.

This unit has an Introduction and is divided into 4 study sections

2.1 Procure, Monitor & Control Materials
2.1.1 Assess the quantities, quality and costs of the materials
2.1.2 Material compliance to Requirements
2.1.3 Records and administrative procedures for materials
2.1.4 Dealing with sub-standard materials
2.1.5 Protecting the work and environment and preventing waste

2.2 Procure & Monitor Plant and Equipment
2.2.1 Assessing plant and equipment
2.2.2 Procurement of plant and equipment 
2.2.3 Records and administrative procedures for plant and equipment
2.2.4 Ensuring correct use and maintenance 

2.3 Monitor & Control Work
2.3.1 Assessing and recording performance 
2.3.2 Variations to the contract programme and specification 
2.3.3 Monitor, control and record site activities that affect the environment.
2.3.4 Collecting and using feedback

2.4 Monitor & Control Costs
2.4.1 Procedures for Monitoring Costs
2.4.2 Maintaining Records of Expenditure

Unit Recommended Reading

Cooke, B & Williams P, (2009) Construction Planning, Programming and Control, Wiley-Blackwell; Chichester.

Books can be ordered from most bookshops or online from Amazon.

Before starting you should read the ‘Study Guide’ accessible from the link on the left.


Project Control and Monitoring

In Unit 1 you learnt how to plan the way a job was to be done and programme the work and in the establishment of the administrative systems.  Once you have a programme it is essential to establish the systems which will enable the work to be organised, monitored and controlled.

The object of control is to check current achievements against predetermined targets, and adjust deployment of resources to attain desired objectives.

A good control system should establish:
•    Realistic standards in terms of output, cost and quality.
•    A good system of measuring and checking current performance against plans, goals and objectives.
•    Action to be taken quickly by someone with the necessary authority.
•    It should concentrate on essentials, be economical, comprehensive, timely, and acceptable within the organisation.
It relates to materials, labour, plant and finance so will include:
•    Work programme
•    Quality
•    Finance

Monitoring involves ensuring the programme and all requirements are progressing according to plan and that resources are supplied as and when required. 

In this unit, you will learn about assessing and organising the requirements for materials and plant and in the maintenance of records related to the work. We will start by looking at the Requirements related to the procurement, monitoring and control of materials.

Please Note

All information contained in this Study Unit was considered correct at the time of writing but Students must not rely on information contained in the Study Unit and/or references for any purposes other than use within this CIOB qualification aim as legislation and working practices are constantly being revised and updated. Students are advised therefore to continually up-date themselves as to current legislation and construction practice and must not to rely on information contained within the Study Unit and/or references for practical applications in the workplace. Where legislation or construction practice has been superseded to that contained in the Study Unit Students should note this within their responses to the tasks.

Section 1 Procure, Monitor & Control Materials

Learning outcome: On completion, the learner will know how to assess, record and administer materials for construction operations.

2.1.1 Assess the quantities, quality and costs of the materials
2.1.2 Material compliance to Requirements
2.1.3 Records and administrative procedures for materials
2.1.4 Dealing with sub-standard materials
2.1.5 Protecting the work and environment and preventing waste

2.1.1 Assess the Quantities, Quality and Costs of the Materials
The size and type of the organisation that you work for will determine how products or materials are procured. In small organisations it is possible that the person carrying out the work will be responsible for assessing the amount of materials needed and in acquiring them. In larger organisation these are obtained through the purchaser who is responsible for the procurement, storage, and monitoring of goods, machinery, supplies, or other raw goods used for the fulfilment of a contract. The purchaser is the person in charge of this aspect of the contract. For a contract to be profitable it is important that the function of purchasing is carried out effectively. However, this does require the involvement of all staff on the contract and the supervisor must feed back to the purchaser any factors which have an effect on the contract as to its efficiency, costs or the quality and suitability of the materials obtained.
Before placing orders the buyer must ensure that the material will comply with the requirements of the contract with regard to quality, costs and availability.

In determining the materials required the person responsible for this will assess the Bill of Quantities or the specification and the drawings. This will enable the amount of materials to be ordered. The specification will also determine the quality of the materials as different standards will be required according to each project i.e. a 5 star hotel will required a higher quality of materials and components than a hostel for the homeless.

Materials may be described as:
  • Materials
  • Components
  • Goods

All materials must conform to the specification in the contract and meet the requirements of performance and quality.

The source for obtaining materials may be left to the contractor or it may be nominated by the architect.

Nominated supplier are usually suppliers of goods not widely available such as some traditional building materials or a particular brand or something that the architect considers is the most suitable for the particular job.

If the supplier is not nominated the contractor is not obligated to purchase from one particular supplier or to use any nominated brand. This gives them access to a wide selection of alternatives. This allows the contractor to purchase from local or national suppliers, enabling them to take advantage of the market and obtain the best price.

It is most important that suppliers are selected to ensure that you are able to produce the work according to programme and price.

Task 2.1.1 Assessing Material Quantities
Explain how you assess the quantities of materials required for a job

2.1.2 Material Compliance to Requirements

It is important to check and confirm that all materials proposed or provided for the contract comply with the relevant specifications and requirements, and also that they are available to meet the contract programme of work. A good understanding is required on the specification requirements before materials can be sourced.

The Specification (often abbreviated as spec) is an exact statement of the particular needs to be satisfied, with regard to materials, product, or service. They are essential characteristics that a client requires and which the contractor must deliver.

Specifications are usually written in a manner that enables both parties (and/or an independent certifier) to measure the degree of conformance.

In construction, it is vital for suppliers, purchasers, and users of materials, products, or services to understand and agree upon all requirements. A specification is a type of a standard which is often referenced by a contract or procurement document. It provides the necessary details about the specific requirements.


Task 2.1.2 Specification
Discuss the purpose of a Specification and explain how it will influence the requirements for a job.

Purchasing Procedure

Products and materials are normally obtained through the purchaser who is responsible for the procurement, storage, and monitoring of goods, machinery, supplies, or other raw goods used for the fulfillment of a contract. The purchaser is the person in charge of this aspect of the contract. For a contract to be profitable it is important that the function of purchasing is carried out effectively. 

The people responsible for purchasing must stay up-to-date on new and emerging products on the market. They will also need an understanding of the products that are available and where they can be obtained.  

Cost of Materials

In many cases, purchasing will involve negotiating with manufacturers or wholesalers in the process of buying goods or materials in order to obtain the best possible price.

The cost of materials will depend on the economy and the supply and demand of these materials and their availability. Details of this can be found in the constructionsite units listed in the column to the left. It will also depend on the buying power of the firm as a company spending many hundreds of thousands of pounds will have a greater prospect of negotiating better rates than one spending only a few thousand. 

The same principles also apply to the acquisition of labour in that if there is not much work available due to the economy then the cost for the labour element is likely to be significantly lower than in a boom time.

Task 2.1.3 Purchasing Procedure

Outline a procedure which can be used to ensure that materials and plant are obtained in the best possible way.

2.1.3 Records and Administrative Procedures for Materials

In order for the work to progress smoothly and on time an efficient system must be employed to ensure that all materials are available on site at the appropriate time. This entails the site manager working with the purchaser and suppliers and the coordination of the work programme.
Maintaining an inventory is also a big part of purchasing in order to compare the stock held against that ordered and purchased. It will also enable the future requirements to be assessed.

Calling forward of materials

The supervisor or site manager should check the programme and ensure that any materials which will be required are available when required. This may mean calling for materials and progressing them in order to ensure that they will be available when required. Failure to do this can result in hold ups in the production process which can result in additional costs and a knock-on effect.
Progressing and calling forward materials is particularly important for “Just in Time” construction when the materials or units are delivered to site and fitted straight into the building.
In such a case, there will be a need to ensure that the supplier is periodically chased in order that the delivery will be on time. This will also ensure that any plant and operatives are available when required.
Receiving Materials onto Site
Supplies from whatever source must:
  • Be checked off on delivery to site by a competent person who has an exact understanding of the materials being delivered.
  • This site check off should be checked against the original purchase order to ensure that materials delivered are correct in quantity and specification etc and that all ancillary parts of a given article are delivered at the same time as the main original article itself.
  • Any damaged or missing items should be noted on the driver’s delivery note and a letter sent to the manufacturer requesting either immediate delivery or replacement of damaged or missing items.
It is not advisable to offload damaged articles, these should be sent back as soon as they are delivered, and this will avoid ambiguity and disputes at a later date. It should be noted that deliveries once signed for are accepted as being in good order.
Any deliveries which cannot be easily checked off at the time of delivery should be signed for as un-examined. This will generally give the recipient time to check quality of consignments and notify the supplier of any discrepancies or breakages or materials which do not meet the order/contract specification. It should be noted that all communications should be in writing – e-mail, letter or fax.
All materials transferred from stock to site or from site to site must be recorded on a stores issue note (see Figure 2.1.1 below).

Figure 2.1.1 Stores Issues or Transfer Note
The use of a stores issue note ensures that materials are credited from on site and debited to another. The stores issue pads should consist of a master copy and two duplicates. The master copy will accompany goods transferred, one duplicate will be sent to Head Office for accounting purposes, the third copy will remain at the point of origin for record purposes. Upon receipt of transferred goods on site the procedure previously outlined for receipt of materials should be adopted.


Task 2.1.4 Availability of Materials

State how you would ensure that materials are on site when they are required.


Recording and Monitoring Materials on Site

All materials on site should be recorded. They will need to be recorded in order that a detail inventory can be produced though it will also be needed as a means of reducing loss and wastage. It will also enable an audit trial for the materials and project costs.
It is essential that materials are monitored to ensure that all materials delivered are suitable and that they meet the specification of the contract. The system will match up delivery notes to orders which in turn will be matched to invoices for payment. A system should be in place to deal with any defects or deficiencies delivered to site.

Keeping Records of work done and resources used

It is essential that records are kept of any materials used on a contract in order to ensure that costs are monitored. This will also enable an update of stock to be maintained and any replacements ordered. It is also needed in order to ensure that only materials received are paid for as this will enable a cross checking of materials ordered, delivered and used.

2.1.4 Dealing with Sub-standard Materials

Materials which are damaged or of the wrong quality or specification must be returned as soon as possible. Most suppliers have a policy with regard to these situations which the site manager should be aware of.  In many cases, it is not possible to check all deliveries though as soon as something becomes apparent the supplier should be informed and a record kept.


Task 2.1.5 System for Reporting Sub-standard Materials

Explain the system used by your company regarding damaged or sub-standard materials.


2.1.5 Protecting the Work and Environment and Preventing Waste
The efficient use of materials also relates to the handling, storage and issuing of materials in order to reduce damage, loss and waste.
Handling should be reduced to the minimum so double handing should be avoided as the more times you handle materials the greater the chance of damage.
Storage of materials will depend on the type of materials as all materials need to be stored in the appropriate way. In some cases, this will need to be covered and a way of using materials in rotation i.e. plaster, will ensure that materials do not “go off”. It is also necessary to ensure that valuable items are secure removing the risk of pilfering.
It is also essential that the use of materials are also considered whereby appropriate lengths of i.e. timber, are used reducing the wastage of off cuts.


The correct procedures related to the storage, issue and handling of materials will reduce the amount of waste on a contract but security must also be considered in relation to the storage of materials. Valuable and desirable items need particular attention although other materials can also be pilfered. Care must be taken to ensure that it is not easy for people to enter the site and remove items. The security of the site, both during and out of working hours, must be considered and all appropriate means employed to reduce the risk of theft and vandalism.

Protection during Construction

It is also important to ensure that materials fixed in position are protected from the elements during the course of construction, i.e. insulation in cavity walls is covered over night during the construction of the wall and concrete is protected from frost.

It is also important that work completed is protected during the construction process i.e. the protection of stair treads or plaster arises.

Task 2.1.6 Record of Materials Used

Describe an effective and efficient system to record the materials delivered to and used on a contract.


Section 2 Procure & Monitor Plant and Equipment

Learning outcome: On completion, the learner will know how to determine and monitor plant and equipment for construction operations.

2.2.1 Assessing plant and equipment
2.2.2 Procurement of plant and equipment (L3 – 2.3.3)
2.2.3 Records and administrative procedures for plant and equipment
2.2.4 Ensuring correct use and maintenance

In this section, we will look at the processes and procedures relating to Plant and Equipment. To get an overview of the factors that need to be considered you should watch the video Use of Plant in the multimedia box below.  Once you have worked your way through this section you should watch it again to ensure that you understand all the factors.

Considerable improvement in productivity and economy is possible when machines are used in building operations. The economic aspects of using plant require that mass production is used in order that the use of plant is economical, which means a standardisation and repetition of work. A piece of plant will become expensive if it is standing idol for long periods of time so maximum use must always be obtained. This need to maximise the plant will determine how it is procured and used.

2.2.1 Assessing Plant and Equipment

Prior to the selection of any plant or equipment it is necessary to determine what work it is required to do. The type of plant will be influenced by the type and amount of work and any time requirements. It is important to obtain the appropriate plant for the job as there can be a significant cost implication if the wrong plant is obtained. There can be a tendency to try and make do with the companies own plant rather than hire, something that can be counter-productive.

It is also important to consider its’ availability which will depend on the current economic situation and the amount of work that is going on at the time. It should also be borne in mind that high demand leads to higher prices, something which needs to be considered when estimating the cost of a job.

Maximising its use in accordance to the work requirements will save on the need to hire a piece of plant on a number of occasions thus saving on hire fees and in the transportation of the plant to and from site and the appropriate plant operators.

Details of the specification of the plant can be obtained from plant manufacturers and hire companies and their literature and from their websites.

It is essential that a piece of plant is maximised while on site and removed when it is no longer required.  The programme must plan for this by arranging the work to take advantage of the plant while on site.  This can mean rearranging non critical activities so that this can be done. 

Task 2.2.1 Maximising the use of Plant

Give examples where the work can be organised to ensure the maximum use of plant and reducing the need to bring it to site on several occasions.



Any plant must reduce the cost of construction. It is important to consider the alternative methods and plant available for a specific job. It must also take into account the amount of capital tied up in the plant, consequently interest on any money borrowed must come into the calculations, or loss of interest if paid for with cash.

In order to tender for a job costing of plant is important.


Costing may be obtained from hire rates or schedule of rates issued by the Contractors' Plant Association.  These rates may not reflect the actual operating costs due to supply and demand affecting the rates.

Hire or Purchase of Plant and Equipment

The decision to purchase plant should consider the following:
  • The working life of the plant   depends on use and maintenance.
  • Utilisation of plant. A rate is set by the time it is available for use on a contract. Standing time and maintenance time must also be considered.
  • Depreciation. This will be greater in the first few years. 
  • Obsolescence.  Plant can become obsolescent before it has finished its useful working life.
  • Replacement costs should allow for inflation, and this should be built into the rate set, this may mean revising the rate annually.
  • Interest charges or loss of interest.
  • Maintenance costs, including labour, materials, any plant department overheads.
  • Insurance, licenses.
To these may be added a percentage for contingencies and profit.

Management Decisions

It is normal to own plant which is used regularly by the company and to hire that which is only required occasionally.

For large projects over a long period of time it may be better to purchase plant for that contract and then resell on completion, this would be allowed for in the pricing of the contract.

Estimated output from plant obtainable from literature or experience can determine the length of time the plant is required and the cost to the contract. The cost of transport to and from the site should also be taken into account.

Task 2.2.2 Hire or Purchase Decisions

Discuss the factors which will need to be considered in determining if plant or equipment is to be hired or purchased.


2.2.2 Procurement of Plant and Equipment

A number of factors must be considered when determining how plant is procured. This relates to its likely utilization.  If something is being used on a regular basis it may be more cost effective to purchase it than to hire it.

2.2.3 Records and Administrative Procedures for Plant and Equipment
Companies will have their own procedure for calling forward or hiring plant and for recording its use and off-loading in order to maximise use and minimise costs. This will need to be recorded in order that the costing can be allocated against a contract.

The way we monitor and ensure that plant is available is similar to that of the way we monitor materials. At the bottom of the bar or Gantt chart we indicate the plant that is required for each task and this shows us the dates in the programme that this is required.
As we progress the work for materials we also need to progress it for plant and equipment to ensure that it is available when required.
This is particularly important if we are hiring the plant as in certain situations not having the appropriate plant available when required can delay the programme and also have people standing around unable to do the job i.e. to ensure that a suitable crane is in position when the components of a steel frame are being delivered for erection.
When plant is obtained, it is essential that all plant is recorded as coming onto and going off site. It will also be necessary to ensure that and plant and equipment owned by the company has the appropriate licences and insurances and is fully maintained and that only people suitably trained and qualified use it. A system will be required to ensure that the appropriate records are maintained with regard to all plant and equipment.

Schedule of Plant

Once the plant required has been determined and the dates it is required have been established a Schedule of Plant can be produced. This itemises what is required and enables a record of requirements to be produced which can be used in calling forward the plant as required.  Such a Schedule can be seen below in Figure 3.2.1 or by opening the Schedule of Plant link in the left hand column.
Schedule of Plant
Figure 2.2.1 Schedule of Plant


Task 2.2.3 Schedule of Plant

Download the Schedule of Plant and complete it for two items of plant required for a contract.

2.2.4 Ensuring Correct Use and Maintenance

A number of legal requirements relate to plant, these are covered by a number of pieces of legislation including:
  • Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
  • Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994
  • Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998(PUWER)
  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
  • Work at Height Regulations 2005 (amended 2007)
It is essential that only qualified personnel are allowed to use plant and that any tickets or licences are current. The site manager should check to ensure that operators are current prior to allowing them to use the plant.  Many types of plant require that operators undergo training on a regular basis and the site manager should be aware of what the requirements are.

Various types of plant need other personnel i.e. banksmen; and plant should not be operated without these being present.

Plant should only be used for the purpose it is designed to be used for and in the conditions it is designed for.  It will also be necessary to ensure that all safety aspects are conformed to with regard to protecting the public and other operatives from the plant when it is in use and in ensuring all maintenance is carried out and recorded.


The maintenance of plant is the responsibility of the plant department if owned by the company, or the Hire Company if hired. Each piece of plant will have its own records which will be maintained throughout its’ life so that a complete history of the plant is available. This will show all usage, a record of all inspections and testing and any services and maintenance.

Although maintenance is not the responsibility of the site manager servicing is, although it tends to be delegated to the person who is in charge of the plant. It is important that servicing is carried out and recorded so the site manager should ensure that this has been done.

Task 2.2.4 Procedure for Obtaining Plant

Briefly outline the procedure and documentation used in obtaining, using and returning site plant.


Section 3  Monitor & Control Work

Learning outcome: On completion, the learner will know how to monitor and control work during construction operations.

2.3.1 Assessing and recording performance
2.3.2 Variations to the contract programme and specification
2.3.3 Monitor, control and record site activities that affect the environment.
2.3.4 Collecting and using feedback


The key in achieving success in a construction project lies with its control. Control means monitoring the project in order to ensure that it is running according to plan and in determining any actions to be taken in order to avoid or compensate for any potential deviation. From this it will be seen that a number of factors will need to be considered, these are:
  • What aspects of work need to be controlled
  • What procedures exist for their control
  • Who is responsible for their control
  • What problems can occur in the control process
  • How can those problems be overcome
2.3.1 Assessing and Recording Performance

A system will be in place to enable the site manager to assess and record performance and to compare it with the contract programme and specification.

The way that it is compared to programme is to record the work progress on the contract programme. The simplest way of doing that is to use a bar or Gantt chart which enables all work completed to be shown below that which has been programmed in, you will have learnt about this in Unit 1.4 Programmes for Operations though just as a reminder see figure 2.3.1 below.
Figure 2.3.1 Programme Bar Chart

Recording Work

Work must be recorded in order to track the work done as this is necessary in ensuring that materials and plant are available when required; the client is kept aware of the progress of the work; and that all work is valued and the contractor is paid for all work completed.

Work must be tracked to ensure that the work executed has been completed as anticipated and on time, the resources programmed have not been exceeded and future dependent activities have the resources available when required.

This tracking procedure is usually referred to as keeping the programme ‘alive’; it is all too common for the master programme to be placed on the office wall and be largely ignored from that time.

The programme must be an interactive tool of management, consulted and updated on a weekly basis and at every site meeting. The master programme will form the basis of the stage programmes and it is equally important that these programmes are maintained on a daily basis. All activity durations are based upon calculations which determine duration of the activity in combination with the resources to be used; therefore any bar chart which is unaccompanied by resource allocation usually in the form of plant and labour summaries and/or method statements is of little use to the Site Manager.

Keeping the programme ‘alive’ may be achieved in a number of ways, largely dependent upon the type of programming used, this will be dependent upon the use to which the programme is put and whether this is office or site based and with the complexity and value of the project.
The simple Gantt or Bar chart is often the programme of choice for site use, for both master and stage programmes; being easily understood by all personnel and easily updated as required. The programme may be kept ‘alive’ by the use of various techniques; in many respects, it is not important which basic technique is used, the importance is that the contract team are constantly mindful of the programme, its requirements, the resources used or required and that they are able to accurately record information which may affect the programme or contract progress.
Four basic methods exist: 
  1. Draw in the progress of each activity as it occurs as in figure 2.3.1 above.
  2. Simply cross hatch or colour in the activities as they are completed on the bar chart.
  3. Place a clear sheet of plastic over the Bar Chart and colour this to indicate activity progression
  4. Use pins and cotton to form a line through the bar chart, the pins being placed at the point of completion of each activity, the cotton being wound around each pin.  
Clearly these are very basic methods but nevertheless they serve to act as an effective management tool. Notes may be added to the programme to record revisions or recorded on separate documents. The resources used must be evaluated to ensure that they are as planned and calculated and ensure that excessive resources have not been used to meet activity targets.
Computer systems are very readily updated but access may not be available to the Site Manager on all sites; all revisions should be superimposed onto the original, without the loss of the original data.

In all circumstances, it is important to record the existing and hold for reference purposes before the amendments are made. Revisions made to the programme must be justifiable and should be analysed by the contract team and the reasons for the revision established and noted for future reference and possible contractual claims. The programme revisions and reasons for their amendment should be fed back to the whole team in order that future contracts at all stages can benefit from the information.
Computer systems are more likely to be used in head office applications and would include Network Analysis, Precedence, Line of Balance and Cascade forms of programme.

Task 2.3.1 Tracking Work

Explain the procedure used by a company to track the work against the programme, both using a paper and a computer based system, and state the importance of the Site Diary.


2.3.2 Variations to the Contract Programme and Specification
No contract will run according to plan and it is normal for a project to change. The reasons for these changes include:
  • The planning assumptions may have been wrong
    • There may be more to do than anticipated
    • It might be harder than anticipated
    • Resources required might not be available
  • The requirements may change
  • The deadline may change
  • The budget may be cut
  • The priority of the project may change
  • People may make mistakes
  • Acts of God
The site manager will need to be able to identify actual or anticipated variations from the contract programme and specification and take action to reduce or eliminate the variation and inform colleagues of financial and other implications.

The correct monitoring and recording of progress as discussed above will enable you to track work and possible variations. A site manager needs to be able to identify actual or anticipated variations from the contract programme and specification and take action to reduce or eliminate the variation and inform colleagues of financial implications.

The sooner you are able to identify any variations the better you will be able to make arrangements to allow for it.  This may mean arranging for additional resources or changing the programme. Not to do this can have a negative effect on the programme and can result in additional costs and a reduction in profit. Although many variations may occur which can be instigated by the client via the architect/project manager.

Changes instigated by the client result in a variation to the contract.  As the contractor priced according to specific requirements any variation will have an effect on the costs and will therefore alter the contract.

A variation clause is needed in a contract as it allows for variations to arise during the course of the contract.  If there wasn’t a variation clause a new contract would have to be arranged each time a variation arose. The disadvantage is that it allows the designer/architect to delay making some decisions which can have an effect on the planning of the project and the execution of the work.
A variation applies when changes are to be applied under the following circumstance:
  • Alteration or modification of the design, quality or quantity of the works
  • Access to the work with regard to space, location or time
  • The sequence in which the work is to be carried out
Variations are subject to the contractor’s right of reasonable objection.
A variation must be provided by the architect/project manager in writing. The architect/project manager may sanction in writing any variation made by the contractor.  Contractors should not vary the works without the express permission of the architect.

Instructions are also required in the expenditure of provisional sums in the contract bills and also in nominated subcontractors.

The site manager is responsible for identifying the effect of changes or delay in the provision of contract information and Inform relevant personnel and organisations of achieved performance against programme and specification.

Identifying and Conveying Changes or Delay

It is important that relevant personnel and organisations are kept informed of all progress in relation to the programme. This is required in order that they are aware of all factors relating to the contract. This is frequently done by a progress report or progress meeting. Not only does this provide information but it also enables suggestions to be made which can have a positive effect on the work.  Each member of the team has specific knowledge and experience which can be of use in a situation and tapping that knowledge can overcome problems and improve performance. In some circumstances it may be required to obtain a consensus of opinion and therefore it is essential that all those involved have all the information relevant to the project in order to make informed decisions.

These meetings also enable any information requirements to be requested and as each meeting will have a set of minutes any requests are recorded which can be useful if the information is not provided as requested.

Task 2.3.2 Variations

Explain the process used by your company to deal with any variations to the contract.


2.3.3 Monitor, Control and Record Site Activities that affect the Environment and Sustainability

Care must be taken with regard to site activities that affect the environment as a failure to do so can have implications both legally and financially. It is essential that the site manager is aware of the company environmental policy and if the contract specifies how the environmental issues will be managed, although you should be aware that using the contract to exempt you from liability if something does go wrong will not work.

Therefore, the site manager needs to be aware of the factors that need to be considered to protect the environment and to conform to legislation and also to ensure that records are kept in order to show conformance, consequently specific records need to be kept with regard to site activities that affect the environment.

The issues which can have an effect on the environment relate to: 
Noise and Vibration

The definition of noise often includes vibration and noise and vibration are often controlled at the same time.

If noise causes a nuisance to the community, the local council can limit or even stop you from working. They can restrict:
  • the type of machinery you use
  • your working hours
  • noise levels emitted from your premises. 
Prior to the commencement of work you can apply to the local council for consent; this (in England and Wales) is known as a section 61 consent and allows which allows for the noise made by your construction activities.
Regardless of if you apply for consent or not it is advisable to keep the environmental health officer informed of the work's progress, the dates and times of any particularly disruptive activities and to maintain a record of all communications.
Monitor background noise at sensitive locations such as residential areas, before your works begin and periodically during the contract and maintaining. A record of all results over the period of time of the contract should include additional information with the data you collect, including records of the date, time, location and the person who undertook the monitoring, as well as a description of the activities being undertaken at the time.
You should also establish a neighbourhood comment and complaint procedure for recording and dealing with complaints from local residents.
This relates to air, land and water.
Air pollution from a building site can relate to:
  • Dust
  • Fumes
  • Odours
  • Smoke
  • Gases
All these can create a nuisance and as such the local authority or environmental agency could stop you carrying out certain activities or bring legal action which could result in a fine.
Care must be taken when using any chemicals which may pollute water courses or the ground.  All chemicals must be properly handled, stored and disposed of with the appropriate documents to show that this has been done.

Your company will have a Waste Management Policy which you should be familiar with. It will advocate procedures which must be followed in order to reduce and avoid waste, this will include segregating different types of waste and the use of different skips. At a minimum, there should be skips for wood, inert and mixed materials, although a skip for metals may generate some income. If there is a shortage of space and not enough room for multiple skips a licensed waste management company can be used to deal with waste. 

In order to conform to legal requirements you will need to:
  • Complete waste transfer notes before any waste leaves the site
  • Ensure all waste carriers have a valid waste carriers registration certificate
  • Ensure all wastes are disposed of at a correctly licensed site
  • Complete notification for hazardous waste
If the construction project is in England and over £300,000 a company is required under the Site Waste Management Plans Regulations 2008 to create, monitor, update and finally complete and analyse a Site Waste Management Plan.
Wildlife, Flora and Fauna
This is sometimes referred to as Biodiversity which is the variety of living organisms on Earth. It includes all animals (Wildlife), plants (Flora & Fauna), fungi and micro-organisms, not just rare or threatened species. It also includes the habitats these organisms depend on.
A number of species such as bats, badgers, newts and nesting birds are common on development sites and are protected by law. It is important that any are identified on a site prior to the commencement of work, and that  the correct consents for moving them is obtained.


Another factor relating to the environment that your company must be able to show is that it has provided appropriate training to site staff and operatives in aspects relating to the environment. This generally will include site induction training; Specialist environmental training and Toolbox talks, all of which will require that the person signs to confirm having received the training and this being kept together with a record of the content of the training.


It is normal also to conduct Environmental audits to confirm that the site is taking a responsible approach to environmental issues and that all requirements are being conformed to. These too will be produced in a standard format and retained to show compliance or the action that is to be taken in the event of non-compliance.

Maintaining Records

Maintaining and retaining records is essential.
  • Good record keeping is essential to proving you comply with the law.
  • Keeping and maintaining environmental records provides a basis for continual improvement.
  • Records are required to enable you to prove you have fulfilled your environmental responsibilities.
  • Good records enable you to monitor and improve compliance requirements and to introduce cost saving measures.
  • If you have a Trade Waste Agreement, ensure that it is documented and kept on file.
  • Keep records of transport certificates from the contractors and companies that take away your Prescribed Wastes. Invoices will usually do.
  • Keep records of your Key Performance Indicators (like paint and solvent usage) and use this information to monitor and track your consumption of resources and materials.
  • Use Improvement Reports to record problems, solution to problems and other improvements and keep them on file.
  • Note unusual environmental events in a diary.
  • Keep records of the employee meetings and training sessions you hold.
  • Keep all environmental records for at least 3 years.
  • Ensure that training induction records prove that all employees are assessed for their competence regarding their proper use of OHS and environmental controls.

Task 2.3.3 Maintaining Environmental Records

List and state the purpose of the documents that are kept by a company relating to environmental and Sustainability issues and include the effect these issues have on site work. State who is responsible for maintaining these documents on site.


2.3.4 Collecting and using Feedback

Records of Work Done

Every company must maintain detailed site records, some of which are required to meet statutory and legal requirements and regulations; some of which provide information for action or possible action in the future.

The recording of information and the reasons why delays or better than anticipated performance is achieved must be established; this is fundamental if timely action is to be taken to rectify the wayward and note the advantages afforded by exceptional behaviour or results.

Records on site are varied according to the contract type and value but would include:
  • Daywork
  • Drawings / Revision issued with date
  • Health, Safety and Welfare information including Near miss and accident/incident reports.
  • Architects instructions / variation orders.
  • Valuations – including contractual claims.
Poor record keeping is poor management.

Companies need to keep records for legal and statutory reasons; particularly in Health safety and welfare issues, we live in an age where litigation is rife and the evidence which is collected at the time of any incident will be of vital importance in any subsequent litigation.

Clearly there are many other factors at work and initial success at tendering may not result in maximum profitability; thus, profitability of type of contract may be the criteria.

The individual contractor will decide the criteria and those contracts which are of particular interest when invited to tender and thus concentrate resources on tendering for targeted work.
A further example would be in the management and administration of Variations and Instructions provided by the controlling authority, Architects / Site Engineers and similar.

Records need to establish when instructions were given and received and the implications of such variations/ instructions established.

If the Architect provides an instruction which revises the drainage system previously designed it is important that the contractor notes the new instruction and determines its effects. He should also record these in an appropriate manner and the following should considered:  
  • Have the originally specified materials already been delivered?
  • Are additional materials now required?
  • Will the new materials be purchased at a premium?
  • Will the newly specified materials be available in time so as not to disrupt the programme?
  • Will there be a restocking charge on the existing materials
  • Does the architect want the now redundant materials?
  • Where are the redundant materials to be stored?
All of the above questions (as examples) and many others must be asked at the time of receipt of every variation or alteration to the contract; most changes have a programme or resources implication; all changes must be recorded accurately; the vast majority can result in a contractual claim provided the implications are recognised and documented at the time of the change; it will profit the contractor very little trying to remember at a later date.

Evidence prepared in a comprehensive manner will serve very well if disputes reach arbitration or litigation; the reality is that any side being presented with a comprehensive evidence portfolio will usually concede or the evidence will serve to minimise or obviate legal or pseudo legal activity.

The importance is to ensure that the site manager has this evidence and that it has been passed on to those more senior at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner thus ensuring that your company has the evidence not the opposing side.

Obtaining and Using Feedback

Feedback in all its forms provides evidence for analysis of present and future events; the format of this information will be dependent upon the systems used within individual companies, but if this information is skilfully collected and analysed it should result in a continuum of improvements in company policy and practice from the receipt of tender documentation to the final inspection and agreement of the account.

An example of the benefit of feedback would be for a company to assess which contracts it has over a period of time been most successful at winning and against what competition, ie if its tender success rate on social housing development work is 30% of contracts and its success rate on school building contracts is 55% then it would seem logical to concentrate on those types of contract which it is gaining rather than those which are less successful.

Feedback is usually collected using standard forms and documents provided by the company, statutory bodies and the client; this provides the basic requirements to satisfy these organisations. The effective site manager will go beyond this requirement and think ahead and understand/ reason when additional records of potential and actual incidents may be required. Photograph before and after construction, video of events and witness statements will all provide much needed records of construction and events and could prove a useful source of information as the construction progresses.

Feedback information must be saved it in a format which can be understood by recipients, hence the use of terminology, statistics, computer based programmes and other forms of digital referencing may be outside of the parameters of effective record keeping. Records must be kept simple yet adequate for the purpose and future reference.


Task 2.3.4 Feedback

State how you will obtain feedback on the work carried out and list the areas that you will look for feedback on. State also how you will use that to improve the efficiency of future jobs.



Section 4 Monitor & Control Costs

Learning outcome: On completion, the learner will know the procedures that are used to monitor and record expenditure for construction operations.

2.4.1 Procedures for Monitoring Costs
2.4.2 Maintaining Records of Expenditure

2.4.1 Procedures for Monitoring Costs

As a site manager, you will be required to understand the essentials regarding cost management techniques, the purpose of which is to ensure the profitability of any projects.  To obtain an overview of the ways that costs can be monitored and assessed start by playing the DVD Financial Management in the Multi-Media box. When you have done that you will be aware of a number of methods that can be used.

In order to survive a business must, in the long term, make a profit, although equally as important is the flow of cash into the business in order for it to be able to pay the outstanding creditors as they arise. One way of tracking this flow of cash is with a Cash Flow Chart.

Cash Flow Charts

These provide a means of assessing the amount of money coming into and going out of the venture over a period of time.

These can be detailed, showing the expenditure for each individual item over the period of the project or they can be shown as a graph with total payments. Cash flow charts enable any liquidity problems to be foreseen and prevented. A cash flow chart is shown in Figure 2.4.1.
A cash flow, which is also referred to as the Income and Expenditure details all income and outgoings for the duration of the project and calculates the effect that all payments and income will have on the finances of the development at any given period of time. It enables the identification of actual or anticipated variations from the contract budget and enables action to be taken to reduce or eliminate any overspend.

A cash flow forecast is different from a Cash Flow Statement which deals with historical data, though the forecast can use a Statement as the basis for the figures used in the forecast. For instance, if the statement shows that the cost of a piece of equipment over the last year has been £100 per month, and providing that cost is not due to increase then that figure can be used in the forecast for future costs.

Forecasts may be drawn up for each month showing all out-goings and income for that month. Allowance is made for the period of time between sales and receipt of money so the cash flow should show when the money is expected to be received, not when a sale has been made.

Before going any further play the DVD Cash Flow from the Multi-media box in the column on the left.

Cash Flow Layout

Let’s assume that we have a project which is going to run over six months. The project is due to start in April and the sum of £40,000 has been allocated for labour and materials. The contract is worth £60,000 and it is expected that the client will pay for the project in October.

A breakdown of labour and materials costs are shown in figure 2.4.1 below.
Figure 2.4.1

The layout for the cash flow is as follows:

Cash Flow Forecast

Figure 2.4.2
Opening balance is the amount of money that is in the business/project or is put into the business/project at the beginning of the first month.

All items of income would be itemised and the total for each month would be totalled. Expenditure would be treated the same.

The closing balance is the amount of money at the start of the month plus the total amount of money received in the month less the total amount of expenditure during the month.

Worked Example

Using the information in table 2.4.1 above, complete the forecast layout and place the expenditure amounts in the appropriate columns in the forecast.

Figure 2.4.3
The financing for speculative housing developments would not be required for the whole development as a number of houses would be constructed. The rate at which these houses were sold would determine the rate of build for the rest of the development. If the developer built four houses which sold immediately he would continue to build as fast as he could sell them. If they did not sell he would reduce or even suspend building operations. Money taken from the sale of the first few houses would be used to help finance subsequent houses or reduce borrowing requirements.


Task 2.4.1 Cash Flow Forecast

You work for a small building company that wishes to acquire a piece of land to build six houses on. You have been asked to produce a cash flow forecast using the following information in order to assess the viability of the project and to determine the following:
  • The amount of money that will be required from the bank.
  • When the project will be in credit.
  • The profit made on the development.
Payments over the period are: 

Month 1
£150,000 for land
£1000 for Wages and Admin

Month 2
£1,500 Legal Fees
£2000 Wages and Admin
£15,000 Roads & Sewers

Month 3
£45,000 Build
£2000 Wages and Admin
£15,000 Roads & Sewers

Month 4
£50,000 Build
£2000 Wages and Admin
£5,500 Bank Charges

Month 5
£50,000 Build
£2000 Wages and Admin
£3,200 Agents Fees
£1,600 Legal Fees

Month 6
£1000 Wages and Admin
£3,600 Agents Fees
£1,800 Legal Fees

Month 7
£1,800 Legal Fees
£3,600 Agents Fees
£1,500 Bank Charges

It is expected that the houses will sell as follows:
2 units priced £80,000 each in month 4
1 unit of £80,000 and 1 unit of £100,000 in month 5
1 unit of £80,000 and 1 unit of £100,000 in month 6

Percentage Profit

In order to calculate the profit as a percentage of money invested divide the profit by the expenses and convert to a percentage by multiplying by 100.
Total Expenses £500
Total Income £850
Profit £350
Percentage Profit:     350  x 100 = 70%


These will show the expected finance required for the duration of the project. The S-Curve shows the amount of expenditure and how it is required over the duration of the project. The shape of the curve conforms to an ' S' and shows the gradual build-up of expenditure during the early part of the contract as the contractor becomes established on site, this normally reaches a peak at 60% of the contract and then slows down towards the end prior to completion. This is due to the majority of contracts incurring the majority of expenditure in the middle of the contract.
S-Curves may also be drawn to show the requirements not only for finance (as shown in Figure 2.4.4) but also for labour or specific materials.
Figure 2.4.4     S-Curve

2.4.2 Maintaining Records of Expenditure

All expenditure must be recorded and tracked to ensure that all costs are accounted for and any wastage is minimised. The way that this is done is through a system of cost control.

Cost Control
The control of the programme will, to a large extent, have an effect on the control of costs, although costs can escalate due to a number of other factors, some of which are beyond the control of the contractor.

Cost control must include all aspects of production, materials, labour (including subcontract) and plant.

The purpose of Cost Control is to control the cost of site expenditure and administration. In order to do this a system is required which can collect and collate information from which the actual costs can be compared to estimated costs. It should be understood that there is a difference between cost control, which provides a system with some control over expenditure, and cost reporting, which just informs on the position with regard to costs.

It is important that information should be collected regularly and often i.e. each week, thereby giving early warning of any increase in costs over those estimated. This will allow remedies to be instigated and also provide data for future projects.

The most effective way of monitoring costs is with the use of forms. These should be designed so that they are easy to understand and quick to fill in.

A cost comparison can then be done by comparing work done to the bill of quantities and documentation regarding costs. This may be done by:
  • Invoices from suppliers for materials and plant.
  • Material and plant issue sheets from within the company.
  • Site wages sheets.
  • Payment sheets to labour only subcontractors.
  • Invoices from domestic subcontractors.
The work done can be assessed by:
  • Measurements by the quantity surveyor and the interim certificates.
  • Bonus surveyor's sheets.
  • Contract progress chart.
Documents can then be used which transfer the information from the other sources and allow actual costs to be seen against budgeted costs.
The cost control system can monitor costs at three levels:
  1. Daily or weekly intervals. This applies unit costing where materials are fixed into position i.e. square metre of brickwork. This would be in the Bill of Quantities and would be priced. The information obtained from the forms, as discussed earlier, would allow the actual cost to be ascertained. This is then compared with the amount it was estimated that it would cost.  
  2. Interim valuation periods. The interim valuation certificate by the Quantity Surveyor is compared with the actual costs for the month.
  3. End of Contract. Contract Account or Contract Job Cost Sheet - Reconciliation. This is used to calculate if the job made a profit and if it was in line with the profit initially envisaged. This is useful for future work which may entail the adjustment of unit rates or the improvement of site cost control.
Early awareness of excessive costs will allow action to be taken; this may be done at site level and may entail:
  • The use of alternative materials.
  • The adoption of alternative methods of construction.
  • Tighter controls on labour and materials.
  • Better incentives for the work force.
  • Changes in the type of plant used.
  • Replacement of supervisory staff.
It must be realised that poor estimating and accounting procedures can also create problems for the project.

Unit Complete 
You have now completed Unit 2, and you should complete the assignment and send it to

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If it does not conform in all respects it will be returned to you and not sent for assessment resulting in delay. ALL questions must be answered in your own words.  Any indication of plagiarism will mean that the assignment will fail and be returned to you.
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