Thinking out LOUD! - Use in Heavy and Civil?

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Article Index
Thinking out LOUD!
Primary Intent
Long History
'Element' Misunderstood
Use in Heavy and Civil?
Not a WBS!
Think Modular Use
Usage of the term 'level'
Omit Reference ID's
Think 'Planning'
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Is  UNIFORMAT II Applicable to Heavy and Civil Construction Work?

The decision by the ASTM E06.81 Building Economics subcommittee to extend the remit of UNIFORMAT II to include heavy and civil engineering entities, in addition to buildings, has caused this writer much ‘heart-burn’ over the years. Primarily because he had not seen the need for such an approach in those industries.

Why the difficulty you may ask. Well I’m still not reconciled to what I see as a fundamental difference between the ‘light’ and the ‘heavy’ construction industries. Buildings (light construction) are put together from a very wide range of available materials and components, used in relatively small quantities. Civil works (heavy construction) on the other hand are largely put together from relatively few materials and construction techniques, often in very large quantities.

With light construction a wide choice of methods and materials permits an almost limitless combination of solutions, sometimes very complex, with a consequently endless struggle to maintain specified work and changing expectations within budget during design. This contrasts with heavy construction where the choices would appear to me to be far more limited. Indeed, they might even be obvious at the outset, and while certainly not devoid of budget control difficulties these may well be more associated with quantity as opposed to content.

Do note that the setting of light (building) construction budgets, using UNIFORMAT II, is a form a parametric estimating. Those familiar with members of the Institute of Parametric Analysts will recognise their abilities in managing the design of complex aerospace vehicles by using parametric estimating, their need to control cost during design (high choice, low quantity), and their ability to use past experience (analysis) when planning new work. These processes are essentially the same in building cost management using UNIFORMAT II.