I am frustrated that there are only a few more months left before the contract for this project ends but I cannot seem to see the light at the end of tunnel. Each day I see more problems cropping up, but the Project Manager and Site Supervisor do not seem bothered by them, or rather they seem oblivious to the problems cropping up, despite my constant reminder to them that there are issues which needs immediate attention. They do not seem to understand. They do not seem to be able to appreciate the problems we are facing and will be facing. I am nervous. I am worried.
I am only the Design Manager. My design team have worked hard, very hard, to come up with the best possible design we could, to the best of our capabilities. We did the design in under 6 months. Six months is a very short period of time, considering the size and the cost of the project.
I was overcomed with emotions when my Diretor General gave me only 6 months from the day of approval of the design, to finalize the design and to come up with the working drawings and design details. It is a huge project with over 25,000 sq meter in floor area, not including the supporting buildings, at a cost of over RM100 million, including the equipments. My management skills and capabillities were stretched to the limit. It was the one of the toughest times of my career. This wasn't the only project I was resposible for. I had 20 odd other projects to manage as well. I cried a silent cry almost daily during that period of time when things got so tough and I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to carry the project through. I am a perfectionist. I do not want to disppoint anyone. Certainly, I do not want to fail. My boss expected me to deliver. Both she and the DG expected the best from me.
I thank God that I had a good Design Team who gave me full support and cooperation to get the project done on time. My staff worked overtime to get the designs and drawings ready for tender. We sat and discussed daily to ensure that all works are coordinated and thought through.
We tendered the project as per schedule. I thank God for giving me the stength to carry it through. My Design Team and I look forward to the project taking off and seeing what we had worked so hard to design materilize the way it was designed. We knew there were still some details that needs to be worked out, but, we knew that with a good Project Manager and Contractor, whatever issues that needs further detailing could be settled professionally, if we all work together to find the solutions. We couldn't be more wrong.
As the project progresses, it was becoming more obvious that the Project Manager is 'incapable' of handling projects of that size, cost and nature. While we discussed the big issues like the roof systems, wall cladding systems, ceiling systems, mechanical and electrical systems and many more big issues, he was more concerned about the colour schemes. The walls are far from being completed in order for them to be ready for plastering work to receive any coat of paint.
There are far more urgent matters that needs to be looked into and resolved to get the building completed for delivery. Coordination of works on site need to be done, and it has to be done by the Project Manager. The services coming in needs to be coordinated to ensure that all services work together. The Project Manager has to undertake to do all that, but, alas, he expects everything to be done for him by the Design Office, expecting that everything be served to him on a silver platter.
The Design Manager only coordinates the design related issues, and I have undertaken that responsibilities by calling for Design Review Meetings almsot weekly to resolve issues of all trades related to design matters. So many of these meetings that I call, on top of my other projects, that my calendar is filled up two months ahead of time. I feel like I am not breathing at times when I run from one meeting to the next to the next, at times, 3 meetings colliding at one time, for some of the meetings for other projects I am involved in, are called by my boss who sets meetings according to her own schedule. There are also the travelling outstations that I have to do to manage my other projects all over the country, at times doing a marathon of travelling from north to south to the east coast. I am stressed out. So stressed out at times that my mouth ulcers would not go away for weeks.
To add to the 'incapabilities' of the Project Manager, the Contractor is, in my opinion, simply 'incompetent' to handle projects of this mega size and yet he says that he has done numerous big projects, far bigger then this one. Really? He has me fooled. Going by the way he is managing this one, it looks like this is his first big one, or rather, his first unstandard and complicated one. Before this, the big projects he has done must probably be just standard designs. *sigh*
I pray that God will give me strength again to see through this stage of the project. My sleep is getting shorter. I wake up in the middle of the night, worrying. I am nervous. I am anxious. I am worried. Most of all, I am frustrated.....I am crying a silent cry again........