Essays on Sydney Opera House: Project Management Failures Case Study

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The paper 'Sydney Opera House: Project Management Failures" is a good example of a management case study. Joseph Cahill, the premier of New South Wales provided the requirement for the construction of opera house in Sydney in 1956. This building was to have a large hall for symphony concerts, ballet and dance and a large scale opera hosting about 3000-3500 people. It also constituted a restaurant and meeting rooms for about 450 people (Jain, 2011). In 1957, Utzon designed the opera house based on firsthand accounts, shipping maps and photographs. Designed using computer-aided design, Sydney opera house was estimated to cost AUD$7M within the duration of four years.

The opera house is undoubtedly one of the iconic buildings and a global symbol of Australia. 1.2 Main problem/issue Sydney opera house goes down as one of the most disastrous projects not only from the whole management plan but also from the financial point of view. First, instead of falling within the estimated budget of AUD $7million and scheduled in four years, the project cost AUD$ 102 million and took 14 years to complete (See Appendix I).

In this case, architects were allowed total freedom while costs and time limits were not provided. Although the funds came from a lottery fund, time planning was a total failure as the project which was deemed to open in 1963 took another ten years to complete in 1972 (Lester, 2003). Second, entrants into the project were not evaluated on the basis of their experiences in the design competition. However, there were no known methods to construct the roof proposed by John Utzon which required a ceiling of structural ribs and roof spanned without columns (Dixit, 2011).

Third, the project did not have a project manager to undertake design, construction, and evaluation measures. Since implementation methods and goalposts kept changing, Haughey (2012) observes that some sections of the project were built gain, re-designed or demolished. Fourth, the expectation of the government on the project delayed the construction as design requirements changed from having two theatres to four theaters and the associated increase in project cost. In 1966, Utzon withdrew from the project due to frustration and discouragement and went along with modifications, new designs and initial blueprints (Murray, 2004).

As new architects took over, the cost estimates became highly inaccurate as costs skyrocketed 15-fold. 1.3 Objectives of the study To assess the political, social and economic impacts of the Sydney Opera house To investigate the organization and management of Sydney opera house during construction To assess the impact of Sydney opera house on the local community To evaluate the time, technical performance and cost constraints in the Sydney opera house construction project To find out the impact of innovation and construction technology on costs and sustainability of the Sydney opera house 1.4 Key stakeholders During the initial construction period, the key stakeholders were the government of New South Wales, the judging panel, architect John Utzon, structural engineer Ove Arup, Australian broadcasting corporation, Sydney Opera House Executive Committee, and the ministry of public works.

The government of New South Wales was tasked with creating the project to serve the arts and had the urgency, legitimacy and power (Lester, 2003). The judging panel lacked the power once the design was chosen as they could only choose a design for the opera house.

John Utzon along with Ove Arup oversaw project construction and design aspect of the structure. When Utzon resigned, Littlemore, Tood and Hall took over the roles of a project manager (Mitchell, et al. , 1997). Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) as a dependent stakeholder with urgent and legitimate concerns wanted the proposed opera hall changed into a concert hall. Lottery contestants also contributed a larger part of the funds but had not power, urgency and legitimacy and can be classified as non-stakeholders (Mochal, 2009). The Opera House Committee (SOHEC) of 1957, a definitive stakeholder, was the main client of Utzon which addressed both constructional and architectural concerns to suit drama, music and traffic (Mitchell, et al. , 1997).

The Minister of Public Works had the role of supervising the construction work.

References

Anter, V., Hansson, E., McNaught-Reynolds, O., Tessar, A., (2009). The Sydney Opera House, Stakeholder Management and Project Success, Retrieved on March 1st, 2012, from: http://www.iei.liu.se/fek/svp/723g18/case_material/1.111101/SydneyOperaHouseProjectStudy.pdf.

Dixit,P. (2011). Project Planning A Step by Step Guide, Toostep, Retrieved on March 24th, 2012; from http://toostep.com/trends/project-planning-a-step-by-step-guide

Edwards, L. (1995). Practical risk management in the construction industry, Thomas Telford, London

Haughey, D. (2012). Project planning and step by step guide, Project Smart, Retrieved on March 24th, 2012; from http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/project-planning-step-by-step.html

Jain, N. (2011). Sydney Opera House, Office of the Chief financial Officer, Retrieved from: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/civil-and-environmental-engineering/1-011-project-evaluation-spring-2011/projects/MIT1_011S11_proj_ex01.pdf

Lester, A. (2003). Project Planning and Control, 4th ed. Oxford: Elsevier Ltd.

Lientz, B.P. & Rea, K.P. (1995). Project management for 21st century. california: Academic Press, INC.

Mitchell, R. K., Bradley, R., Agle, D. J. (1997). Toward a Theory of Stakeholder Identification and Salience: Defining the Principle of Who and What Really Counts. Academy of Management Review, 22(4): 853-886.

Mochal, T. (2009). 10 best practices for successful project management. Retrieved on March 25th, 2012., From http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10things/10-best-practices-for-successful-project-management/904

Murray, P. (2004). The Sage of the Sydney Opera House. New York, New York: Taylor & Francis, Opera House, 2012. Retrieved on March 1st, 2012; from http://www.aviewoncities.com/sydney/operahouse.htm .

Philip, D. (2002). Sydney Opera House Site, Design, Construction, Costs, Retrieved on March, 1st, 2012; from http://www.twf.org.au/research/drew3.html .

Strategicppm, (2009). The Sydney Opera House and Project management. Retrieved on March 2nd, 2012; from http://strategicppm.wordpress.com/tag/sydney-opera-house/

Ziegler, O. L. (1973). Sydney Builds an Opera House., page 25, Oswald Ziegler Publications.

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