NEC3 project managers are 'special people with special skills and extensive responsibilities', according to two leading project management experts. As such they need to be properly qualified. Writing in the March 2014 issue of Civil Engineering Surveyor, the journal of the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors, Robin Jones and Ken Chapman liken NEC3 project managers to river pilots, 'guiding projects through difficult waters to successful delivery.'
Need for certification
However, unlike many project managers, they say a fully qualified river pilot will typically have over 25 years of experience and formal training. "It seems to us that we need something similar to the river pilot career structure and that project managers should be certificated before being appointed to the role. Such certification would be, perhaps, dependent on achieving a recognised base qualification comprising both formal and practical experience in civil engineering, followed by a similar period of specialist training before final accreditation by interview and examination."
They conclude, "Both the profession and the industry need to recognise that project managers, particularly in the context of NEC3, are special people with special skills and extensive responsibilities."
ECC accreditation course
NEC general manager Rekha Thawrani agrees. "This is why we launched our accreditation course for NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) project managers in November last year. While the course is not intended to replace decades of professional experience and qualifications, it ensures that ECC project managers are fully aware of the importance of their role to the success of ECC projects," she says.
"In addition to ensuring contracts are efficiently and robustly managed for clients, and keeping costs and programme under tight control, ECC project managers must also engage the project team and foster a spirit of mutual trust and cooperation."
The ‘What is construction project management?’ series of ICES articles can be read by following the links below:
Part 1: The project manager under NEC3
Part 2: The project manager during the procurement phase
Part 3: The project manager during the tender and award phases of procurement
Part 4: Final thoughts
For further information on the ECC Project Manager’s Accreditation can be found here.