A construction project management knowledge model: The type and level of knowledge required

  • Michelle Burger University of Pretoria
  • Benita Zulch University of Pretoria
Keywords: Construction project management, knowledge model, type of knowledge, NQF knowledge level, South Africa


Construction project managers come from diverse backgrounds and may, therefore, lack the knowledge set currently required in order to be competent and effective in practice. The aim of this article is to establish the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level of each type of knowledge area required for a competent and effective construction project manager in South Africa. These levels of knowledge are important, in order to develop a proposed construction project management knowledge model to be used by the construction industry. A mixed methods research design was used, including structured questionnaires (n = 40), interviews (n = 10), and a single case study. The questionnaire survey, using close-ended questions measured on a 5-point Likert scale, tests the importance of and rated the NQF qualification levels of each knowledge type fit for project managers in the built environment. The rating assisted in knowing to what knowledge depth project managers need to be educated and trained. Interviews were conducted with 10 construction professionals to obtain their views on the importance of industry-specific know ledge of a construction project manager and to critically review the form of knowledge considered essential. The case study of a building project to the value of R35 million was used to gain understanding of the impact that industry-specific knowledge, or the lack thereof, may have on the successful completion of a project. Results showed that qualifications to gain industry-specific knowledge should at least be on NQF level 6; a qualification on NQF level 7 is recommended to gain adequate project manage ment knowledge (theory). These findings are important, as some construction project management courses in South Africa are currently below NQF level 6. This may be contributing to industry not producing construction project managers with the required knowledge set. The proposed model outlines the adequate knowledge sets and level thereof that can be used when designing training and educational degrees for construction project managers. The proposed model could also be used in practice as a guideline for placing or promoting construction project managers.


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