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By Jamil Soucar

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REAL-LIFE CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT GUIDE FROM A-Z is a useful reference for a new construction manager who wants to avoid personal conflicts and roadblocks that can hinder a project's success.

The author offers advice on managing construction project, gleaned from substantial personal experience in the field.

REAL-LIFE CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT GUIDE FROM A-Z is a book written by a construction manager who has, over the course of many construction projects, come to the conclusion that “human factors and personalities” are among the most important factors in a project’s success or failure. This book was written to offer advice to construction managers as well as subcontractors and project owners both public and private, to help them evade these difficulties and bring projects smoothly to conclusion in a harmonious and mutually-beneficial fashion.

The advice offered here is generally sensible and reasonable, and is addressed evenly to all parties in a project, with respect and consideration for the important roles each has in a construction project and the constraints that may bind them in their interactions with other parties. Despite the title, the problem is not addressed alphabetically, which would be less helpful, but chronologically, exploring the course of a project from bid preparations to close-out and dispute resolutions. “Real-Life Gauges” and “Best Practices” sections give the reader a clear understanding of what might actually happen on a project, and what practical tactics to use to make sure things go smoothly and well. The author’s personal experience and understanding of the entire process at a hands-on level is apparent throughout the book, especially in the best practices he recommends.

Soucar’s emphasis on fairness, honesty, open communication and cooperative attitudes would certainly seem to foster a healthier work environment, and likely more successful projects as well. The casual and friendly tone of the book  makes it more accessible and easier to read, certainly – however, as a book written by a professional for professionals, it does sometimes cross the line into excessive informality. Among other things, multiple exclamation points do not belong in a book written for professionals, and there are too many grammatical errors and typos – “I am yet to see a perfect set of plans,” for example. The author would do well to hire a formal editor and treat them as he suggests construction managers treat inspectors – by respecting their expertise and seeking out opportunities to learn from their experience. Additionally, the author sometimes cites large chunks of California state law in the text body – these might be more usefully consigned to an index or endnote, to avoid interrupting the flow of the text.

REAL-LIFE CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT GUIDE FROM A-Z is a useful reference for a new construction manager who wants to avoid personal conflicts and roadblocks that can hinder a project’s success.

~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader