Tasks and processes of the conceptual phase for construction projects

The genesis of understanding the productivity behaviour of the construction process is underpinned by analysis and synthesis of tasks and processes within each of the main construction phases: conceptual; detailed engineering; and construction. Analysing and synthesizing tasks in any process is an accepted notion since the days of the Greeks and the Romans. It is also a common feature of many modern productivity studies, Total Quality Management, and Benchmarking. It is generally accepted throughout the construction industry that the conceptual phase has the greatest influence on most construction projects, and yet time spent during this period arriving at the correct decisions incur the least expense. Though the potential is great in terms of productivity improvements, the conceptual phase for construction projects has to date been somewhat overlooked. This paper presents a pilot study aimed at analysing the tasks and processes associated with the conceptual phase of construction projects. The projects included civil engineering, building construction, process engineering and power supply. Each of the analysed projects has a minimum value of £50 million. Exposition of the results and analyses are also given. The implications of the conceptual phase tasks are deliberated upon, in terms of productivity of site resources, time, plant, finance and labour.