- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 25 Jan 2019
A project is a series of related a tasks which when they are carried in the correct order will lead to the completion of the project. Projects are temporary, generally resulting in the creation of a tangible product or outcome. This is as opposed to a programme, which is a series of interrelated projects that may be carried out repeatedly or continuously in order to support an ongoing process. For more information, see Project v programme.
A construction project, sometimes just referred to as a ‘project’, is the organised process of constructing, renovating, refurbishing, etc. a building, structure or infrastructure. The project process typically starts with an overarching requirement which is developed through the creation of a brief, feasibility studies, option studies, design, financing and construction.
Construction projects are typically one off's. That is, a project team, brief and financing are put together to produce a unique design that delivers a single project. Once the project is complete the team is disbanded and sometimes will not work together again. This can make it difficult to develop ideas or relationships, and so lessons learned are often not carried forward to the next project. The exceptions to this are repeat developers such as supermarket chains, housebuilders, and so on.
Typically, a construction project comprises many smaller projects which require a wide range of different disciplines working in collaboration. Large numbers of people are involved on a typical construction project, with the structure and composition of the project team usually changing through its duration. Projects may be coordinated by a project manager (or by a lead consultant) who is supported by professionals such as an architect, engineer, cost consultant and so on. For more information, see Project team.
This separation of project roles into different disciplines, and contractual arrangements that further separate the client, consultants, contractors and subcontractors can make construction projects adversarial. This can result in conflict, opposition, confrontation, dispute and even hostility.
Solutions that have been put forward to combat the adversarial nature of construction projects include:
- Partnering and collaborative contracts such as NEC
- Alternative dispute resolution.
- Careful consideration of selection criteria.
- Integrated supply teams.
- Fair payment practices
- Other collaborative practices.
For more information, see Adversarial behaviour in the UK construction industry.
- a 'public project' is one that is financed by the government and is typically owned, and may be operated by the government. This can include major infrastructure works such as roads, bridges, dams, railways, tunnels, and so on, or public facilities such as hospitals, schools, prisons, libraries, leisure centres, and so on. For more information, see Public project definition.
- A ‘private project’ is one that is financed, controlled or commissioned by a private party, i.e. one that is not a government. Private parties can include individuals, corporations, charities, privately-funded institutions, schools, hospitals, and so on.
Some projects involve both public and private entities. Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are a very broad range of partnerships in which the public and private sectors collaborate for some mutual benefit, which can include the completion of a construction project.
- BIM project plan.
- Construction manager.
- Design and build.
- Management contract.
- Public project.
- Self-build home.
- Traditional contract.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Adversarial behaviour in the UK construction industry.
- Collaborative practices.
- Construction project funding.
- Construction site.
- Construction team.
- Construction works.
- Integrated project delivery (IPD).
- Integrated project team.
- Integrated supply team.
- Lead consultant.
- Notifiable project F10 form.
- Project manager.
- Project team.
- Project v programme.
Featured articles and news
Consider a career in the electrotechnical industry.
Exploring local assets of community significance. Book review.
Wood-burning stoves should not be used in thatch-roofed buildings.
Servitisation, smart systems and connectivity.
What happens to the Construction Products Regulation if there is no Brexit deal.
The first step to long-term prosperity.
The status and rights of employees in construction
Continuing to share environmental best practice
The employee assistance programme EAP
HMRC's Construction Industry Scheme
What 'net-zero emissions' means for civil engineers