Terms & Conditions

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Residential construction

The construction of dwellings (such as freestanding houses, townhouses, and apartments).

Non-residential construction

This is the construction of buildings for commercial use (such as offices, malls, supermarkets, and banks). It also refers to the construction of institutional amenities (such as schools, stadiums, hospitals, and libraries).

Project managers

The project manager on a construction project is responsible for the planning and coordination throughout the project life cycle, from its initiation to its closure. As part of their day-to-day activities, project managers:

  • Plan a project by working out time lines and setting goals and milestones;
  • Manage the human resources on the project;
  • Serve as the primary point of communication for the project team;
  • Evaluate the risks to projects and plan risk mitigation strategies; and
  • Draft and oversee project documentation.

Project managers working on construction projects usually have some specialised knowledge of the industry, since the administrative and supervisory duties they need to carry out require them to understand construction and design processes.


While the client and the professional team initiate and plan the construction project, the actual construction work is done by contractors. A contractor is any person or legal entity that enters into a contract with a client for the execution of work (SACPCMP, 2009).

  • Plan for the construction project by consulting with the client and the professional team;
  • Select the construction methods and strategies to maximise success on a specific project;
  • Control the cash flow on the project (covered in greater detail in Module 7);
  • Coordinate the work that needs to be done on-site;
  • Oversee any subcontractors brought onto the project; and
  • Supervise the construction personnel working on-site.

The main contractor is responsible for building the structure within the constraints outlined in the tender document. Due to the competitive nature of the industry, and the more than 50 trades associated with the construction industry (Windapo, 2012), it has become very rare for a construction firm to fulfill all the construction needs of a structure with its own employees. A common practice for main contractors, then, is to outsource the portions of the work that they do not do to other single-trade contractors. Some examples of trades that are regularly subcontracted are electrical work, plumbing, roofing and cladding, and paving.

The CIDB grading system. (Source: CIDB, 2017)

Grade Associated value

he professional team draws up the documentation for the invitation to tender, which includes:

  • Construction drawings;
  • Construction specifications; and
  • Bills of quantities for the project.

The invitation to tender needs to contain drawings that are clear and detailed enough for contractors to understand the nature and scope of the work involved. Drawings should always include at least the following elements:

  • Floor plans: Floor plans are drawings that show a bird’s-eye view of the structure and the dimensions and layouts of the rooms within a building. Contractors can see, from looking at the floor plans, the position of building elements relative to each other (such as where the building’s service shafts are relative to its fire escapes).
  • Sections: Sections show a slice of the building as if it were cut vertically. Sections provide a vertical image of the layers of the structure and show how the different layers fit together.
  • Elevations: Elevations are detailed drawings that show the structure from the outside. While elevations are only two-dimensional, they provide a good idea of what the building will look like once it has been completed. Elevations of the structure’s north, south, east, and west sides can be included in the drawings.
  • Site plans: Site plans are drawings that show the proposed structure in relation to the property on which it will be developed. These are large-scale drawings that show the position and orientation of the proposed structure as well as the existing or proposed developments that are relevant to it. For example, site plans can contain information about nearby roads, parking, and sewage systems.
  • The preliminaries trade bill, in a bills of quantities, describes the various costs related to the establishment and management of a construction site. This includes costs that cannot be attributed to a single activity, such as providing temporary accommodation for staff or providing the site with water and electricity. These costs need to be considered carefully, as they are a cost to the contractor and can have a large impact on the tender price (Construction Industry Development Board, n.d.).

The three main types of subcontractors are as follows:

  1. Domestic subcontractors: Domestic subcontractors are subcontractors who are freely selected by the main contractor. The main contractor selects them to do part of the construction work and is ultimately responsible for the output and quality of their work. Domestic subcontractors contract and deal only with the main contractor and not the client. In a simple scenario, the main contractor may hire a subcontractor who specialises in plastering works, since the main contractor doesn’t have the expertise to do their own plastering work.