Staffing Alternatives on the International Scene

By Scott Pfeffer, RA

Today's international airport construction programs are expanding in scope and complexity while being subjected to greater demands for expedited completion.

At the same time, the economic environment is exerting greater pressure on owners to deliver these programs on time and within budget. This results in increased facilities management responsibilities for the owner while they are forced to manage their facility programs with reduced staff because of uncertain economic conditions.

Significant construction programs normally result in short- to mid-term needs for additional owner's project management personnel. Due to the shortage of qualified local labor at many international locations and costly relocation expenses, these positions can be extremely difficult to fill.

In today's market, the owner is presented with a number of different alternative project delivery methods to solve this problem. One of the most cost-effective and low-risk options is to utilize a core group of seconded owner's representatives to supplement the owner's staff, filling the project management roles for the duration of the project.

Contracting for these roles can be easier than finding temporary or long-term staff to assign. The risk for the employee is reduced because they are not forced to accept new employment in a foreign country. Due to the lower risk for the employee and financial incentive of the assignment, higher quality staff are more readily available.

Project representatives are fully integrated into the owner's staff working hand-in-hand with existing owner's facility managers to execute the overall goals of the program. These project representatives can fill a variety of roles, including construction inspectors, design managers, project coordinators and even the project director if required.

Burns & McDonnell routinely assigns staff to projects of this nature. For example, we have provided design and construction representatives on-site for the New Doha International Airport from the early design phases through construction.


Contract project management staff can take on these and other roles:

  • Phasing and coordinating project planning, design and construction
  • Establishing overall program budgets and schedules
  • Developing design and construction packages
  • Developing design standards and criteria
  • Developing quality control programs
  • Developing RFPs and RFQs
  • Managing consultant and contractor selection
  • Administering A/E contracts
  • Coordinating construction contracts
  • Performing site investigations
  • Performing quality control reviews
  • Establishing, monitoring and controlling budgets
  • Monitoring schedules and performance
  • Overseeing the work of local and overseas consultants
  • Conducting project meetings
  • Site logistics planning
  • Developing and managing construction safety programs
  • Labor relations/productivity management
  • Public agency liaison
  • Performing post-construction close out
  • Startup/operations planning
  • Maintenance and training programs

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