Book Reviews: Modern Construction Management


Title:      Modern Construction Management
Categories:      Construction
Authors:      Frank Harris, Ronald McCaffer
ISBN-10(13):      9780470672174
Publisher:      Wiley-Blackwell
Publication date:      2013-02-28
Edition:      7
Number of pages:      572
Language:      English
Picture:      cover           Button Buy now

Modern Construction Management

F. Harris, R. McCaffer and F.T. Edum-Fotwe

This book has been around for a long time. My guess is that it is going to with us for a very long time. Why? The answer is obvious. The authors keep adapting with the times to keep the book ‘ahead of the curve’. Sure, ‘the species that fail to survive are those that fail to adapt’. Adaptation has kept the book in the market with the times. The book first hit the construction scene in 1977 when there were few construction schools. I did not have the priviledge of reading it until 1982 as a master degree candidate. Modern Construction Management (MCM) and Roy Pilcher’s principles of construction management (PoCM) were the only books available in the emerging field of construction management in the early eighties. Whilst MCM appeared then to be more technical or production oriented, PoCM seemed to be more management oriented. The distinction between the two today is rather ‘academic’. This seventh edition of the book is very ‘modern’, and maturely so. Any book in its seventh edition has withstood the test of time. Having gone through the chapters, I can confidently say to all in the international construction club that ‘it is still very fresh’ and refreshing. Reading the book is a pleasure rather than pain. It is accessible to different levels of readers.

The current book has addressed newer areas like knowledge management, lean construction, international construction logistics and risks, information management, information and communication technologies, Building information management (BIM), carbon accounting, sustainability issues, corporate social responsibility, six-sigma, relational contracting, supply chain management, etc. The book is rather topical.

The book has been arranged to maximise its appeal to different readers. Undergraduate students, master degree candidates, doctoral degree and industry professionals will derive much benefit from its contents. Undergraduates will find it an encyclopaedia providing answers to those questions they need to master before the examinations. Master degree students find the book a source of knowledge on those financial matters they are learning for the first time in their second coming to university. Doctoral degree candidates will find it a source inspiration on topics to consider for doctoral degree research. Professionals will find it a ‘how to’ book for the management issues they did not learn at university. University lecturers will find it a place to run to when preparing lectures and tutorials to meet increasingly tight deadlines. There seems to be something in it for everyone. The authors, Frank Harris, Ronald McCaffer and Francis Edum-Fotwe should be commended for this seventh edition of the book.

The book is structured into 18 chapters: (1) Introduction; (2) Quality management; (3) Production Process Improvement; (4) Planning Techniques; (5) Workforce Motivation; (6) Project Cost Control; (7) Management of Equipment; (8) Project Procurement; (9) Estimating and Tendering; (10) Competitive Bidding; (11) Budgetary Control; (12) Cashflow and Interim Valuations; (13) Economic Assessments; (14) Administration and Company Management; (15) Market Planning and Business Development; (16) International Construction Logistics and Risks; (17) Information Resources and ICT Systems; and (18) Financial Management.

The book comes with a companion website full of additional resources for students and lecturers. There is a directory mapping questions to chapters. Lecturers preparing test and exam questions and students revising for exams will find the directory very useful. Solutions to self-learning exercises are excellent for students revising for exams. Power Point slides are also added for tutors preparing their class presentations and there is an impressive list of Journal and web references.

I have not been hired to praise this book; but rather, I have been asked to review it. Therefore, it is my responsibility to point out what can be made better. The eighth edition shouls use coloured charts and texts. That is what we should aspire to. The financial management sections should also consider modern portfolio theories like the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) and arbitrage pricing.

The seventh edition of Modern Construction Management promises to be a best-seller amongst construction books if, as I am clearly aware, construction people know what is good.

Stephen Ogunlana