Author: Jamil Soucar

Publisher: Dorance Publishing Co

ISBN: 978-1-4809-4139-7: eISBN 978-1-4809-4162-5

When I practised as a Civil Law Title Attorney in Montreal, Canada from time-to-time I had occasion to become involved with construction projects, particularly residential renovations and project residential construction. While witnessing the many disputes that cropped up and sometimes led to litigation, I came to appreciate that successful construction projects were all about teamwork, good communication and a construction manager who has a deep understanding of the various phases of project management. The latter needed to figure out how to diplomatically handle all of the players such as the architects, owners, construction managers, inspectors, community members, city officials, general contractors, subcontractors and others that all make it happen. This required finely tuned skills as well as cleverly interpreting and reading emotional cues to attain successful results.

If you search Google for project management textbooks, the bottom line is that you probably will find dozens, yet, very few are able to deliver the nuances as to why some constructions succeed while others fail.

Jamil Soucar, with his broad experience in the construction industry that dates back to 1983 fully understands the science behind project management and he has put together an excellent guide book, Real Life Construction Management Guide From A-Z that provides readers with a different perspective on the various aspects of construction projects.

It should be noted that in addition to his practical experience, Soucar holds a Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering from American University of Beirut (AUB) and a Certificate in Project Management from UCLA. Given his vast knowledge of the business, he is also frequently asked to be an expert witness in court for construction-related claims. He has worked both sides of construction projects, gaining knowledge from the perspective of an owner as well as from a contractor's point of view.

Soucar realizes, as he mentions in the first page of the manual: “that the human factors and personalities are big factors in managing construction projects.” Although he does acknowledge the usual common problems such as a bad set of plans, a contractor not performing well, unforeseen conditions, delays, change in orders and other issues, he also believes that over and above these difficulties there exists “undisclosed causes” that often contribute to problems and disputes. It is these “undisclosed causes” as well as human factors and personalities that are big components in the success or failure of a construction project.

Soucar divides his comprehensive manual into twelve chapters and merges the practical and theoretical as he explores the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques involving a broad range of activities such as initiation, early estimating, budgeting, work breakdown, scheduling, construction, risk management, and close out. Moreover, the manual offers a real-life insight pertaining to undisclosed factors, the anatomy of a construction project and its players, construction manager and being an owner's representative, planning phase, design phase, various project delivery methods, bid and award phase, construction and close out phase, scheduling, delay analysis, construction claims and various methods for dispute resolution.

Each chapter of the book comprises three main sections, “principles” that teach the concepts of various construction management topics, “real life gauge” that give the reader a real life perspective of how things work, and “best practice tips” that give a summarized set of tips for best practices. You can well appreciate that with over thirty years of construction experience, Soucar has accumulated a ton of these helpful tips which he shares with his readers. These are fully analyzed in an easy flowing read devoid of confusing and painfully technical language. No doubt, delving into greater detail concerning the various topics covered would take a work many times the size of its one hundred and eighty-three pages, nonetheless, the manual succeeds in summarizing and condensing the essential full range of project management in a clear, well-organized authoritative manner. If you are a student and are in the process of studying to become a construction manager, or a project manager, architect, engineer, construction manager, builder or anyone involved in construction projects, then an investment in a copy of this book would certainly be worthwhile.