Successful Management of Large-Scale Projects is not an impossible Task

Ralf Molter

Statement from Ralf Molter, Associate Partner at Drees & Sommer

Construction and renovation projects, especially in the public sector, repeatedly provide a focus for public interest due to delays or soaring costs. Very complex decision-making structures and differing interests, lengthy approval procedures and ineffective planning and construction processes - these are some of the reasons why major public-sector projects often fail. But principal contractors in the private sector are also stretched to their limits by the progressive digitization and increasing complexity of projects. The result is a lack of clarity in the principal contractor's organization, a loss of transparency, incorrect cost estimates and lack of a risk assessment. Even one of these problems on its own is generally enough to throw a project off-course. If several arise at the same time, they often exacerbate each other. However, as Drees & Sommer's practical management experience shows, cost-effective, timely, high-quality execution of large-scale projects is indeed possible. This is demonstrated by projects such as the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, the new trade fair center in Stuttgart and the refurbishment of the Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt am Main.



Courage to embrace innovative concepts

Today more than ever, the successful implementation of large-scale projects requires professional project management. Innovative methods and approaches such as Lean Construction Management® (LCM) are extremely effective aids, and enable project and construction processes to take place more efficiently and quickly. They provide project management and site management teams with a powerful tool for controlling processes. Building Information Modeling (BMI) also represents significant added value for large-scale projects. This digital planning method changes the way a project is executed: decisions and their impacts become transparent for all those involved, errors can be identified at an early stage and measures can be taken to counteract rising construction and running costs.

In addition to these tools, an innovative approach known as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) can also contribute to the success of a project. This focuses on the idea of partnership, with the aim of involving all participants in the project at an early stage. Together they form a project firm that shares opportunities and risks. This enables planning and execution knowledge to be networked better and manufacturing and logistics processes to be incorporated into the planning at an early stage. In turn this ensures that few changes, if any, are made during the construction process, so the construction costs remain constant. Those open to such innovative concepts and methods or who incorporate them into their practice, are creating a strong basis for the success of large-scale construction projects.

Ralf Molter

Ralf Molter studied civil engineering at TU Darmstadt university. In 1995 he joined Drees & Sommer in Frankfurt am Main as a project manager. Since then he has executed several major projects, from which he gained considerable experience in planning coordination, user and tenant management, and setting up of processes and methods. He has been a member of the management team at the office in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, since 2003, and since 2013 he has been an Associate Partner of the Drees & Sommer Group.