What is Project Controls?

By Tony Marks, CEO 20/20 Business Group

Project Controls has long been perceived as a subset of and stepping stone to, a career in Project Management. But in the recent years it has become its own profession, recognising the valuable contribution it makes to project success – providing management with the very data that makes decisions possible.

Project Controls’ role in generating cost/schedule information and possible issues/recovery plans is fundamental to project success. It also includes a range of specialise roles from risk management to project governance. Whilst often seen a set of technical disciplines, the ability of project controls experts to identify and manage risks, schedule conflicts, costs and scope changes are critical to project delivery.

In recognition of the profession, Dennis Lock, one of the World’s leading authors of project management handbooks has recently released his new book “The Practitioner Handbook of Project Controls’, published by Routledge. Eight expert contributors have worked on this comprehensive guide to the procedures needed to ensure that projects will be delivered on time, to specification and within budget.

To support the professional a wide range of Professional development opportunities are now available including a Level 3 Project Controls Technician Apprenticeship Standard , with a Level 6 Project Controls Professional Apprenticeship Standard in development.

For those already underway in their Project Controls careers 2020 offers an Introduction to Project Controls and the ECITB Certificate in Project Controls, delivered in a unique partnership with The Engineering & Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) – all available via a Virtual Classroom. Further progression is then available via the Level 3 Diploma in Project Controls Practice & Techniques (RFQ) and Chartered Project Professional (ChPP). For specialist roles there are focused short courses such as Project Document Managers and Risk Management. For those interested in academic progression there are pathways to M.Sc. level.

Since 2011 the profession has also had its own Project Controls Expo which has just had its global virtual event this month and is set to re-commence physically in London, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne in 2021 and is the world’s largest project controls event.

All the foundations are now in place for a career in project controls, supported by a wide range of lifelong learning and development options to aid progression from trainee or apprenticeship level through to Head of Project Controls. The ECITB are leading the way for their sector with supported project controls career entry and progression paths, but we are increasingly seeing the professional being promoted in sectors as diverse as Aerospace & Defence to Infrastructure and Renewables.

All the pillars are now in place for Project Controls to emerge from the shadows as unique and fascinating profession, providing the chance to work on some of the world’s more interesting projects and forge a lifelong career.


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