Setting the scene

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Book Chapter

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Meikle, J., & Best, R. (2015). Setting the scene. In R. Best, & J. Meikle (Eds.), Measuring construction: Prices, output and productivity (pp. 1-8). Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

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Copyright © 2015 The authors.

2015 HERDC submission




Extract: Peter Drucker, a prolific writer on various aspects of management, is often erroneously cited as the originator of the phrase, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it". Exactly where the phrase came from is unknown, but the idea remains valid. Measuring construction in the sense of measuring quantities of building work is a well-established technical process carried out routinely by quantity surveyors and estimators, and in many places there are agreed-upon rules and procedures that are used for such work. Measuring construction industries or parts of those industries is another matter. While there must have been construction managers as far back as the Pyramid Project, the discrete discipline of construction management is relatively new, and serious scientific research in the area is still evolving. Measuring construction, in the sense of measuring things such as performance and productivity, is still the subject of some of that research, and methods for doing it are far from being fully developed and generally accepted by all interested parties.

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