The common denominators in Rossi’s practice in Project Management, are communication and presence. These are two key important factors for a project to be successful: without effective communication with all involved stakeholders, contractors, and workers on-site, the project is bound to fail.
Joseph Rossi is passionate about the Metrics Management Theory. It inspired him to include “Metrics” in the name of the project management company, Projekt Metrics, of which he is co-founder and senior project manager because it measures the quantitative assessment commonly used for assessing, comparing, and tracking performance on production. “This summarises the role of a project manager”, says Rossi.
Rossi arrived at his goal of a career in project management in a tortuous way. His most important role model was his father, project management professional with 40 years of experience, who passed on a love of and passion for the built environment and, as a child, he dreamt of becoming an architect. But, as he grew older, he found himself studying Accounts and Economics and subsequently, reading for a Bachelor of Commerce in Management degree at the UOM, “ most probably because all my friends were attending the same course “. After a stint in the financial sector, he soon realised that this was not for him at all, so he decided to follow his childhood passion, by looking for a job that could give him confidence and knowledge in the construction industry. It was his wife, who encouraged him to continue studying and, in August 2020, he was conferred with the Master of Science in Construction Project Management by Edinburgh Napier University.
But, what is the idea behind Projekt Metrics? It is to support individuals or companies throughout the project life cycle and provides a single point of contact. Projekt Metrics believes that cost control and effective time planning are essential to creating an impact on the construction industry.
The Project Management role is split into 8 key services that the clients receive when using their services. Projekt Metrics maintains that all of these services are crucial to reaching the project goals. These are Quality Assurance Control; Cost Management; Procurement; Tendering; Design Management; Time Management; Project Management; Site Management; and Risk Management. Rossi describes Projekt Metrics commercial and residential projects as “archetypical and evocative”. In particular, he refers to his work with Mapfre, when he was charged with overseeing the refurbishment of an iconic building that was designed by Perit Ray Demicoli. The Mall Building in Floriana is well-known for its facade features, where Perit Demicoli kept the old features whilst also introducing a contemporary approach. MJMDA’s Perit Matthew Mercieca was responsible for the interiors, which were crafted to inspire, connect and create a lasting culture of collaboration in people working and visiting the company while upgrading the general well-being. Mapfre’s personnel attributes, namely those of being ‘Dependable, Solid, Approachable, Friendly, Impartial & Dynamic’ were interpreted and embodied in the spaces of the offices in a dualistic manner. This according to Rossi embodies “archetypical and evocative” features, which leave a mark in architecture.
The common denominators in Rossi’s practice in Project Management, are communication and presence. These are two key important factors for a project to be successful: without effective communication with all involved stakeholders, contractors, and workers on-site, the project is bound to fail. Today, email and other forms of virtual communication are important, especially during this pandemic, but physical presence on-site and face-to-face communication with workers and contractors are undeniably essential. Rossi underscores the importance of listening to workers who express their opinion and suggestions, as their extensive experience can lead to better solutions. Rossi believes that a project manager should be supported by robust contracts, with well-established and clearly specified terms and conditions which a project manager can resort to if a contractor is at fault. Such actions are necessary to benefit the project, eliminate delays, and reduce variations and overspending whilst improving the quality of work.
Complex projects require management across teams of professionals in various related sectors that contribute to the built environment. Coordination between all professionals is always a challenge, especially when one is dealing with a complex project. Keeping up with revised drawings and ensuring that all contractors and workers have the updated versions to work with, is always the major challenge. Therefore, design management is an important key element. It is also important to note, that design management also includes, setting out timeframes for professionals and ensuring that they have them on time to avoid having any bottlenecks which would cause unwanted delays.
Projekt Metrics, as project management professionals, do not actually participate in the decision-making on the selection of any materials, as this is the expertise of the architect and/or designer. They offer to monitor and ensure that a proper procurement process has taken place, which is favourable and unbiased to the client. They also offer the service of tender comparisons and highlight to the project stakeholders if more tenders need to be presented.
Today, most are becoming more aware of their environment and where possible Projekt Metrics does recommend the use of eco-friendly and energy-saving materials. Sometimes, upgrading the apertures, changing light bulbs to LEDs, or upgrading appliances to energy-efficient quality can also contribute to safeguarding the environment. Rossi laments that Malta lags behind other countries on the awareness and implementation of risk management and quality assurance and control as a well-developed concept in the construction scenario.
In most countries, there are established standards for every little detail, from a door hinge to a concrete slab. In Malta, we do not, unless the company does it voluntarily and genuinely wants to provide very good quality and service. For example, in the UK, a welder needs to have a licence even for a simple railing. In Malta we do not, you get that by “experience”. Therefore, in construction, all the professionals need to be extra careful on quality, finish etc. and also work constantly on risk management to avoid any obstructions during the implementation stage, Rossi insists.
As a certified fire warden, and health aider, Rossi feels strongly that having a Health & Safety consultant engaged on site and constantly highlighting any health and safety risks is crucial in all kinds of projects. Inevitably, safety onsite costs money and project stakeholders and/or contractors see it as a waste of money and an extra cost, rather than as an investment. In reality, everyone needs to understand that having an injury on-site results in delays, and more money spent in fact, outside the scope of the project budget and reputation. And of course and more importantly, the tragedy and suffering of an injured worker or a fatality an onsite accident/ incident should be avoided.
The more recent spate of onsite worker injuries and fatalities is a grave concern and should be immediately addressed. Rossi has experienced situations, however, where contractors provide the necessary protective gear to their workers but the workers do not wear them, putting themselves and the ones working around them at risk. Whilst enforcement appears to be lacking, one must not forget that project owners, contractors and professionals are all liable and must take responsibility if anything happens to a worker.
Rossi sees the construction industry positioning itself in the next few years to harness new technologies which have been used across the design and engineering, construction, and operation stages including big data and analytics, simulation and virtual reality, mobile interfaces and augmented reality, BIM (Building Information Tools) and processes, 3D scanning, AI (Artificial Intelligence), robotics, and drones.
He notes that based on studies and statistics, there has been a consistent decline in the construction industry’s productivity since the late 1960s, but innovative technologies can contribute to better productivity and place the industry in line with other production industries.
One must not forget that the construction industry is one of the main pillars of the Maltese economy and therefore investing in these resources is crucial in the coming years.