BETWEEN THE LINES BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
Title: Construction Made Easy
Author: Stanley Pilime
Publisher: Royalty Books (2021)
WITH very little comprehensive literature on the local construction industry, retired veteran contractor, Stanley Pilime, has taken the bold step to publish a detailed compendium rich with information and experience, which is likely to become handy for any player in the construction industry.
Reading the book demonstrates that it carries a lot of weight that comes with experience. Given the specialised nature of the construction industry, Pilime comes across as an authority, detailing the unique processes, procedures and culture, which, when followed properly will result in profitable operations.
The book also highlights how non-compliance with the set procedures is likely to result in heavy financial losses to the contractor. The publication of this book is likely to mark the beginning of the end of the scarcity of construction literature and both veteran and emerging contractors will be able to access detailed information to acquaint themselves with the necessary knowledge needed in honing their skills without having to learn the hard way through their expensive mistakes at construction sites that inevitably result in financial losses.
Construction Made Easy is written in a simple, easy-to-follow style that will make even college graduates bereft of experience grasp the concepts. It also covers all the important processes required by a contractor to bid competitively and successfully execute projects with a high degree of workmanship and professionalism.
The author pays attention to detail as he explores a wide range of subjects that include bidding for projects, understanding construction contracts, initiating projects and managing project risks, quality control, project financing, time dynamics, handling disputes, managing construction companies and understanding policies, systems and procedures relating to the successful operation of construction companies.
The book is a handy tool for artisans, supervisors, head office support staff, project managers, section managers and company heads.
According to Pilime, the trauma and torture he experienced when he first ventured into the construction industry was the inspiration behind the publication of the book.
“As a freshman, I then discovered that there was a severe absence of written material to learn from. Much of the learning was through either word of mouth from more experienced construction personnel or trial and error at construction sites which mostly had financial implications on the company through penalties,” he told NewsDay Life & Style.
The book explores how at independence in 1980 the construction sector virtually had no experienced black players as those available were admitted through affirmative action. It was a herculean task to extract information from the experienced contractors who viewed the new contractors as opponents. Such a development was costly, as Pilime admitted.
“I, therefore, had to operate from gut feeling and information acquired from informal sources which inevitably led to expensive errors on site. The available written information or short courses on offer were suited to project management for developers rather than addressing the specific needs of contractors,” he recalled.
After acquiring substantial knowledge and skills over three decades, Pilime condensed the information in this book in a bid to improve the lot of up-and-coming and experienced contractors who never had the same learning opportunities.
The writing, quite clearly, was fuelled by the passion for the industry and the desire to contribute meaningfully to the wellbeing of contractors.
The real-life experiences that the author captured in the book will prove invaluable to users who deal with real life problems and situations addressed through the book.
“I am grateful for the wide experience I had which covered all components of construction such as estimation, invoicing, project management, contracts management, defending claims, contract law, risk management, leading a company, human resources management, financial management, marketing, purchasing, staff development, among others. This wide experience was useful in that I was able to write a book which offers a complete package on construction activities, suitable for all levels,” Pilime said.
This book will address the gaps left by foreign literature on construction since the mode of operation is different between a contractor who is operating from a developed country with no significant inflation and another in an inflationary environment like Zimbabwe and much of African economies.
Quite certainly, Construction Made Easy will also serve as a tool to educate contractors on the requirements and actions necessary to achieve budgeted profits, avoid penalties, build a project to client’s specification, complete the project on time while building and maintaining good corporate relations, all resulting in a satisfied client who is willing to invite the contractor to the next job.
Through this knowledge, a lot of contractors will be able to prevent losing money and future business due to ignorance, but become efficient and professional players with capacity to generate enough financial resources to develop their companies into a well-resourced, futuristic, high-performers able to compete successfully with international contractors.
- Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe