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formally presented works. It is also true that, in reality, projects are not neatly compartmentalized. Estimat- ing, planning and managing are iter- ative processes, with the same issues needing to be addressed at different times during a project's life. Never- theless, I would have preferred a more structured approach, together with diagrams, tables and lists to illustrate, clarify and summarize the text. There are too many reproduct- ions of printouts from commercially available software that are too small, and do not relate fully to the text. The book varies from a basic 'how-to' guide to a more philosoph- ical analysis of many facets of pro- ject management. This is both its strength and its weakness. It covers a lot of ground, but only super- ficially in some areas. For example, the book is written primarily from the viewpoint of contractors prepar- ing tenders, planning, and then man- aging their work to meet their tendered prices and schedules. The


owner's view is rarely mentioned. At one point, however, Ward concludes that, since the owner does not have to worry about failing to win the work, and does not have to worry if his/her estimate exceeds the

contractor's price, '

anxieties should be far less than the contractor's'. How often do the ten- ders exceed the owner's estimate, even before variations are added and claims are settled? What of the owner's anxieties then? The book would benefit signifi- cantly from sympathetic editing, greater use of diagrams to illustrate the text, the breaking up of the text into smaller sections by the use of headings and subheadings, lists, tables, bullet points and sum- maries, and a more comprehensive index. The book is not the definitive work on this subject, and, at £45.50, it is not cheap either, but it is worth perusal by anyone interested in man- aging projects, although some lateral thinking will be required by those



without knowledge of the construct- ion industry. Students should find it useful as an overview, and owners could find a useful insight into the problems that contractors face every day. Despite its faults, I enjoyed this book; it contains a lot of wisdom and distilled experience. On the last page, Ward says the following:

The fundamental theme of planning is

reductionof risks. It is virtuallyimpossible

to prognosticatewhenand if specificprob-

lems willcrop up during the executionof

a project but the wisdomacquired from

the experience of completed projects should be utilised to effectuateintelligent
















P E Jobling W S Atkins Project Management Epsom, Surrey UK

Engineering Construction Risks, to Project Risk Analysis and Risk Management

P Thompson and J Perry (Eds.)

A Guide

Thomas Telford, UK (1992) £17, 56 pp, ISBN 0 7277 1665

This booklet is a report on the find- ings of two research studies on how risk analysis and risk management may be used to improve the financial success of engineering construction projects. The research work was sup- ported by the UK Science and Eng- ineering Research Council. The results of the first study were pub-

lished in 1986 as Risk Management


publication contains the findings arising from the second study, which was undertaken in 1990/91 as a follow-up to the previous work.


Engineering Construction.


11 No

3 August 1993

It spells out the importance of

tackling project risks, and shows how this can be done. It also pro- vides an introduction to the litera- ture of the subject. The aim of the publication is to increase awareness of this vital issue among the industry

and its clients, in both the public and private sectors.

A principal conclusion of the re-

port is that, all too often, risk is

either ignored or dealt with in an arbitrary way through the use of overall percentage contingency allowances. The report provides a

systematic means of progressively assessing and refining risk estimates throughout a project, from the early stages, when the work is ill defined and uncertainty is greatest, to the later stages, when any remaining risks can be closely identified and tackled. The report explains how the initial listing and qualitative analysis of risks can be developed as necess- ary by such quantitative techniques as sensitivity and probability analy- sis using specially prepared com- puter programs. The value obtained from risk-analysis modelling de- pends, of course, on the realism of the assumptions underlying it, the skill of the model builder, and the accuracy of the data used. When an appropriate degree of analysis has been conducted, risk management operates to provide responses and policies to reduce and control as far as pos- sible the main risks identified in the analysis. Contract strategy is briefly covered, followed by a look at the risk implications of different pro- curement systems and methods of



payment. It is in these areas that more research could usefully be un- dertaken to assist all the parties in- volved in construction projects to give a greater and more productive input, and thereby alleviate the problems of lack of performance and dispute escalation. The report introduces the concept that the client should consider set- ting a 'minimum acceptable risk' contract price, below which a bidder will not be awarded a contract. This idea may not gain favour in a free-market competitive economy

in which contractors thrive on their expertise and value their reputations. Careful vetting of ten- derers and an open, collaborative attitude to the distribution of risk among contracting parties may cre- ate better conditions for successful projects. This booklet puts forward many well researched ideas, and offers a valuable contribution to the under- standing of project risk for clients, consultants and contractors. The construction industry will benefit from the greater awareness of the

effect and handling of risk that the booklet provides.

B CurtL,


In the Publications section of the May 1993 issue of the Internationa~

Journal of Project Management, the

book 'Managing People (Including Yourself) for Project Success', by G Culp and A Smith, is published by Van Nostrand Reinhold of New York (imprint Chapman and Hall) and not as stated. We apologize to all concerned for this error.


International Journal of Project Management