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Risk Management and the California Kitchen, Essay Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1784

Essay

Introduction

A California home owner secures construction management for a kitchen renovation. During the initial, pre-planning and feasibility study phases of risk analysis, the home owner and renovation team are optimistic and eager to begin; the pressure builds. The owner wheedles and coaxes and constantly points out that all that has been completed is months of planning and that they could get “this guy down the street” to complete the kitchen renovation in less time and for less expense. Yet the calculation of risks cannot be too hurried, because the final results of the renovations determine the owner’s satisfaction and the company’s liability for preventable repairs, and a project manager’s very supervisory integrity is at stake. Meanwhile, risk management considers the potential challenges of schedule, cost, quality, and safety (Hu, 2009). Risks are never eliminated—only lessened, but taking the proper time to manage risks involves both explicit and implicit positive effects for the project team and the home owner (Arrow, 2008).

Risk Identification

The Hillcrest area of San Diego has mild risks of the majority of petty crimes, such as vehicular theft and burglary, but the rates of murder and aggravated violent offenses are higher in this area, presenting a moderate risk for homeowners—not necessarily for the renovation team. Because the residence is located in an area occupied mainly by housing, the risk of terroristic threat is very low. Additionally, the nearest cities are not adjacent to major waterways, and the potential targets of major airports and mass transportation systems are distanced. The home may be subject to minor earthquakes. No foundation work should be necessary for this renovation, but the proper arrangement and attachment of new cabinets, doors, windows, etc. will be crucial to the management of this moderate risk. Droughts have occurred recently in the area, but this risk bears little effect on construction until April. The cabinet replacement and attachment presents a minor threat to worker safety, because the old cabinets are worn and possible molding. Since the kitchen seems to retain humidity, securing possible sources of water output is necessary. Prior to beginning the construction, the area to be renovated should be inspected for vermin, lead-based paint, asbestos, and any other harmful interior dangers. Due to the cabinets’ condition, the risk of encountering dangerous fungi is high.

Background

This renovation should take 6 weeks and include: the customized attachment of cabinets, the addition of a bay window, replacing linoleum flooring with grouted tile, and exchanging the worn stove and dishwasher for new appliances of comparable quality, price, and function. The home owner also expresses the desire to allow in much natural light and to utilize eco-friendly arrangements and technologies. They have no children, so containment is low-risk. Since the owner will purchase their own appliances after the majority of the renovations are complete, eco-friendly is interpreted as indicating that the customer is conscientious regarding the chemicals used to secure the tile and the kitchen island and to preserve the wood surfacing of the cabinets. The diagram below is to scale and depicts the final layout once renovations are complete (with the exception of the tile flooring). The kitchen area is 24’x16’x10’. The bay window will extend on the exterior of the kitchen as well, and the new dishwasher and oven will be placed in the same areas as the old appliances.

RENOVATION PLAN

DIAGRAM 1: RENOVATION PLAN

Supplies and labor hours will comprise the majority of the cost and risk. These estimates should form the upper range of the actual costs. The first step in renovation is to conduct a thorough inspection of the site. (This also protects against the risks which infestation and fungi pose to both workers and the family.) Engineer inspections cost more and are unnecessary for a smaller renovation, so the inspection will require an experienced contractor to view the foundation, ventilation systems, electricity wiring, plumbing, etc. Since the cabinets are being custom-made to fit the owner’s needs, the bay window and dishwasher would need to be installed next. It should be noted that the cabinets on the left wall, the lower left corner, and the left bottom are the only cabinets which require customization, but the owner requires the cabinets to be entirely new and matched.

The bay window itself will only run the risk of damage to the glass. However, during the process, a space must be cut in the wall with a circular saw, a frame must be built and leveled, support braces must be added, a roof frame must be made, insulated, secured, and covered with shingle paper and shingles (to match the remainder of the roof), and then weather-protected with caulking. The sink area and cabinets are then built under the bay window, so thorough protection against leaks will prevent future liability. The bay window will take about one week (and 20 labor hours) to complete.

The cabinets and island will be made from mahogany, an extremely durable and water-resistant wood which is extremely susceptible to stains. These need to be assembled in a sheltered environment and will take four workers about four weeks to measure, customize, cut, and attach. Because the wood is so expensive, there is no margin for error. These cabinets will also include concealed cabinet latches to prevent damage in the event of an earthquake. The home owner has yet to select a sealant for the wood, but this must be applied as soon as the boards are cut to protect against stains and the humidity of the kitchen. In total, the cabinets should require no more than 80 hours of labor.

The home owner has selected recycled, textured cement tiles in 6”x6” measurements for the kitchen flooring and to trim the island. The tiles (which are viewable at ecofriendlyflooring.com) are LEED certified and approved for use in wet areas, so the humidity in the kitchen should not pose a significant threat to its lasting power. The sealant is a high-quality, eco-friendly solutions which repels stains and dirt, absorbs some impact, protects against the UV rays of the bay window, and resists corrosion. It is mixed and painted on and dries in four hours (“Nano Tile Sealant”). This process should require three hours of labor.

Risk Management Process

In this renovation, the owner selected and purchased their own materials prior to the first consultation. While this relieves much of the cost and responsibility of the renovation, it also introduces new risks, because many of these eco-friendly choices are unfamiliar to most workers. The owner may be resistant to advice against the use of these materials, but the kitchen’s humidity poses more of a threat to itself than do outside criminal or environmental risks. The bay window is high and no more susceptible to tampering than any other window. In particular, the installation of the flooring tiles on the island may be a problem. Open lines of communication between the project team and the home owner will be vital to maintaining satisfaction with the completed project.

The personal interactions of the team members should affect the progress of the work only in a minor capacity provided that there are not extreme personal connections which distract from the work. A pre-existing team is preferable but may cost more. However, they are less likely to become involved in altercations or other distractions. As the one of the greatest assets to the project, the team should be carefully selected to ensure more benefits (Arrow, 2008; Cano & Cruz, 2002).

Risk management is an active and evolving process which involves attributing certain expectations to aspects which can be controlled and to aspects or assets which cannot be wholly controlled. The diagram below illustrates the complicated nature of risk management.

PHASES AND STAGES FLOWCHART

DIAGRAM 2: PHASES AND STAGES FLOWCHART (Hu, 2009)

This diagram presents risk management as a predominantly linear process, but the phases of learning, maintenance, and balancing occur throughout the project cycle and greatly influence the results of a project. The diagram only presents the larger ‘units’ of the flow of risk management, but Hu (2009) notes that the quality of the staff selected impact the project as greatly as do the selection and use of assets.

Risk Planning

In total, the renovations should take four workers about seven weeks and 250 hours of labor to complete, including expected lapses for short breaks. At fifteen dollars per hour for the four workers and a construction management fee of five percent, the total cost would total about four thousand dollars. In such a renovation, time and expense are the two greatest risks to completion. The selection of the workers is paramount to the ability to fulfill the home owner’s expectations, as set out in the pre-planning phase. Against project management recommendations, the owner pre-purchased the majority of the supplies and requested to be informed prior to the purchase of new materials as needed. An example of extra supply expenditures is likely to occur during the fabrication of the frame for the bay window and for the construction of the cabinets below. While the owner’s prior approval improves communication, it also slows the progress of the renovation, as the home owner may be concerned by the progress or the cost of more supplies.

Conclusion

The risks of this home renovation are typical: mild possibilities of natural disasters, high risks of asbestos and other harmful environmental factors, and the mild likelihood that the project will either go over-schedule or over-budget. Wide risks are moderate and may change over time (Hu, 2009). Anticipating the shifts of risks provides both immediate and long-term- or ‘hard’ and ‘soft’- benefits. As Arrow points out, the documentation of the project process reveals the differences between good and bad luck and good and bad management and provides opportunities for improvement (2008, p. 1). It also identifies the necessary changes which occur and what risk factors are most commonly encountered (p. 2). Cano and Cruz (2002) suggest that project managers develop their own weighted cataloguing system which includes generalized direct and indirect complex factors which influence a project (p. 474). Hillson (1997) reminds inexperienced project managers to compensate for the expected risks which ‘novice’ risk management may entail (as cited by Hu, 2009). Nonetheless, risk is not indispensable despite years of experience and may serve to make a team complaisant.

References

“Nano tile sealant”. (n.d.). Paint Protection Systems. Retrieved from http://www.paintprotectionsystems.com/tile-sealant.asp.

Arrow, J. (2008). Knowledge-Based Proactive Project Risk Management. AACE International Transactions. Print.

del Caño, A., & de la Cruz, M. (2002). Integrated Methodology for Project Risk Management. Journal Of Construction Engineering & Management, 128(6), 473.

Hu, X. (2009). Analysis and Evaluation on the Risks of the Construction Project. Canadian Social Science, 5(2), 25-34.

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