A successful development or upgrading project will only occur if the project is planned and executed effectively. As part of the procurement and pitch development process there are four key stages. These are design, tendering, contractor appointment and site development. All stages are equally important in the successful delivery of the project.
The overall responsibility for the delivery of the project from concept to completion often falls to a volunteer member or an appointed project manager.
The project manager takes on the responsibility for the delivery and execution of the project and the processes associated with it. These processes can be categorised as follows:
The Terms of Reference are an accurate description of what the project aims to achieve. These terms help to create a measure of accountability for anyone wishing to assess or review the project during development or its success upon completion. A properly formulated Terms of Reference helps to protect the project manager from being held to account for issues that are outside the original scope of the project or beyond the project manager’s control. They also create a firm set of expectations to judge the success of the project.
The various stages and activities of the project should be carefully planned. Complex projects will have a number of activities running in parallel and some parts of the project will require other parts to be completed before they can begin.
Planning is essential if a project is to be delivered on budget and on time. Timescales should be realistic considering the nature of pitch development is weather dependent. A sense of realism at the start of the project regarding budgets and timescales can reduce the amount of problems which may arise during the execution of the project.
Gantt Charts and Critical Path analysis are two common tools used for detailed project management, scheduling, costing, budgeting, project management and reporting.
The design team members required for the project will depend upon its complexity. These may include planners, architects, mechanical and electrical engineers, civil engineers, ecologists and agronomists. Team members should be selected for their experience on similar projects and ability to work together as a team.
Contingencies should be allowed for within the overall project plan. These should have been identified at the feasibility stage of the project and discussed with the client to determine the most appropriate course of action during the delivery of the project.
The successful delivery of the project involves the “buy in” of all members of the design team as well as the stakeholders and client. It is therefore essential that the project plan is discussed and communicated to all those with a vested interest in the project. Failing to communicate to people (who might have no great input, but whose co-operation is crucial) is a common reason for a project not running smoothly.
The plan will have identified those members of the design team responsible for each activity relevant to the project. Activities need to be:
Each team member may be responsible for one or any number of the processes involved in the development of the tender pack for the tendering process. It is important that there is mutual awareness among team members in large complex projects of each member’s role and activity to avoid duplication.
In pitch development, one of the main elements of the work is the production of the tender pack. This should contain a detailed specification of works to be undertaken, a full set of contract drawings, conditions of contract, bills of quantity and instructions for tendering.
The project manager usually takes responsibility for the procurement processes. This entails liaison with the client to ascertain the most appropriate action for the appointment of a suitable contractor and the form of contract that may be used.
A pre-qualification questionnaire may be used to form a select list of contractors who would then be asked to tender for the work. Such procedures add complexity to the project and may be unnecessary where the works are of a straightforward nature.
Contractors are asked to tender in accordance with the instructions to tender issued with the tender pack. Tenders are normally returned by a stated time and date to a neutral venue and opened in the presence of the client.
Members of the design team may be invited to review the submissions and comment on any aspect of the tender applicable to their specialist area.
It is normal practice to ask each of the contractors to interview to review their submission. This provides an opportunity for the project manager and client to discuss the complexity of the project with each contractor and to ascertain his understanding of the project.
Following the review processes, the project manager will make a recommendation to the client regarding the appointment of one of the contractors who has tendered for the project.
The project manager should ensure that the appointed contractor has the ability to meet all his statutory obligations under any national or regional legislation relevant to the project, particularly Health and Safety.
Prior to commencement, the contractor should prepare a detailed project plan, which would be cross-referenced against the design team’s Project Plan. Any discrepancies should be discussed and a Project Plan Construction Phase agreed.
The Project Plan Construction Phase is used to review performance regularly and adjusted as necessary in light of performance, weather and new information. Team review meetings should be held on a regular basis to monitor this progress and to advise the project manager accordingly.
Design team members should be used to review works on the ground and highlight any concerns over progress or quality of workmanship. There should be adequate quality control measures in place to ensure that the facility is constructed in accordance with the design specification. In pitch construction, problems need to be identified as early as possible to minimise the risk to the success of the final construction.
Most projects have as part of the contract a defects correction period, during which time the contractor has to put right any defects that may have arisen as a consequence of poor workmanship. These should be listed and identified, with the contractor agreeing to rectify the defects within the stated timeframe.
At the conclusion of the successful project, a review meeting should be held to reflect on any successes, failures or mistakes in a positive and objective manner. The Project manager should formulate a report with observations and recommendations about follow up issues and priorities.
There may be a requirement for training of those responsible for the maintenance of the facility in equipment use or aftercare.
Whilst capital finance may be available to build or upgrade a facility, many clubs fail to plan for adequate aftercare maintenance. Many pitches fail due to lack of adequate ongoing maintenance and repairs. This is an extremely important aspect of any natural pitch development.