Creating History in Quality Construction, Dr. Abdul Razzak Rumane
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Dr. Abdul Razzak Rumane, a Registered Senior Consultant (RSC) with The Chartered Quality Institute (UK) and a Certified Consultant Engineer, is currently associated with SIJJEEL W.L.L. Kuwait as Advisor & Director, Construction Management. After graduation in Electrical Engineering from Marathwada University (now Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University), he did his Ph.D. at Kennedy Western University, USA (now Warren National University) on "Quality Engineering Applications in Construction Projects". Dr. Rumane has authored the books titled "Quality Management in Construction Projects (2010)" and "Quality Tools for Managing Construction Projects(2013)" published by CRC Press (A Taylor & Francis Group Company) Florida, USA. Recently, he got his third book titled "Handbook of Construction Management: Scope, Schedule, and Cost Control", from the same publisher, in his credit which got released in December 2016 by His Excellency Sheikh Rakan Naif Jaber Al Sabah in presence of other dignitaries. Here we have a glimpse of moments shared with Dr. Rumane.
IIK: Congrats Dr. Rumane on your new book release. Could you share the experience at the book release?
Dr. Rumane: Thank You indiansinkuwait.com for the support and encouragement. Getting appreciated is always a matter of joy, especially when the effort behind it is so tremendous. The third book is more of a handbook, a unique and exhaustive one, with checklists, tables, figures etc., which anybody can refer as a text book. Everything to be considered starting from the inception of a project till the handing over is included. The book is handy even for a common man who appoints a contractor for building his house. He can find the things he should take care of, starting from the risks in appointing a contractor. His Excellency Sheikh Rakan Naif Jaber Al Sabah appreciated my book as worth enough to institute in the university curriculum. That doubles the joy.
IIK: How did you come up with the idea of a handbook?
Dr. Rumane: It was suggested by my publisher. Usually when we want to write a book we have to submit a proposal. But when my second book was published, I got an invitation from my publisher saying that they felt me as the correct person to write a handbook on construction management, and I was supposed to be the editor who has the authority to choose the contributors.
IIK: What was the challenge in such an endeavor?
Dr. Rumane: For a handbook like this, as an editor, I can avail the guidance of experts in each area, as contributors, while writing a particular section or a chapter. But it was not as easy as expected. Considering the field in which we are attempting a handbook, it was very difficult to get one. My idea was that, as a contributor if a person writes a section or chapter, then he/she will get recognized for that and if he/she happens to be an academician then they will get an upgrade in their career. I tried to get contributors from different parts of the world. But unfortunately no one came forward, even from India. Then I had to finalize with four contributors, three from different universities in US and the fourth person, an architect. The major portion was written by me.
IIK: What could be the reason for no one coming forward as a contributor?
Dr. Rumane: Maybe people are not thinking in that point of view. They may be happy with what they are. When you want to write a book, you need concentration and time. A minimum of one hour daily is a must to write a book. For my first book I sacrificed my evenings. Another issue can be the language and communication ability. Maybe a subject expert can talk for hours but not able to put in simple and clear paragraphs with correct usage of grammar and vocabulary.
IIK: What was the feedback from Kuwaiti and Indian community?
Dr. Rumane: Response was really good. As a handbook, all the procedures to be followed in practice are also included. A professor from Kuwait University called and told that this book made their job easy. Indian community also accepted the book very well and many of my colleagues have requested a copy and we are waiting for that.
IIK: Being a graduate in Electrical Engineering, how come you are now into quality management?
Dr. Rumane: After graduation when I was preparing my dissertation on ‘quality engineering applications in construction field’ for the Ph.D., lot of reading was needed. It was almost like a research to prepare the dissertation. During that period I realized that the literature on quality in construction was very limited compared to other industries. Thus I decided to share what I gathered through my experience and learning. Also, in dissertation we have many limitations including the number of pages. The information which I could gather was more than which could be incorporated within that limit and at the same time it was highly beneficial for the industrial professionals to make any project qualitative, competitive and economical. That’s how the concept of writing my first book evolved.
IIK: Was that book easily accepted by the publisher, to support such an attempt to publish something on quality in construction.
Dr. Rumane: No. Different publishers rejected it for their own different reasons. Then I approached American Society of Quality where I was also a member. They were more than happy to have such a topic for a book. But later, even they could not take it for publishing on the ground that the economic situation was bad and they won’t be able to market my book. Also they lack resources.
IIK: Did you find it discouraging?
Dr. Rumane: Never. I had the habit of carrying introduction of the book with me whenever I go for a conference and ask the speaker to review and comment on it. In one such conference the series editor for CRC press read the introduction and expressed his interest. But that time I had almost finalized the word with another publisher. But later when that also got rejected, I approached CRC press. They were so happy. When you are writing any book there are a number of questions to be answered. What you want to write, why you want to write that, whom you are targeting as the readers, what are the competitive books in the market, what is the difference between what you have and that already exists, and why you feel that your book will be adopted, how many pages, figures, tables etc. Addressing all these questions I had a proposal prepared in my style. But they asked me to prepare it in their format. Long story short, finally, after all the discussions with production, marketing, other departments and with subject experts, to confirm the technical and commercial feasibility, the proposal for my first book was accepted for publishing.
IIK: And how was the response for that big effort?
Dr. Rumane: Excellent. It was in 2010 and even now it is the best seller. It was internationally accepted and the sale is 51% in American market and 49% world market. It got recognized by Korean publisher and no similar book was available in their language. I am happy that my book in their language fills the gap. Also, after releasing the third book, I am going to write the second edition of my first book. Usually a second edition such a book will be published with a minimum of 30% additional information.
IIK: What was the second book about?
Dr. Rumane: When I was studying the materials for project management professionals from PMI, I realized that they have number of tools which are applicable in different processes. But how it can be applied practically into day-to-day work was not there. For example let us take how to apply the cause and effect diagram in daily work. If you have made masonry construction and it is not coming as per your expectation, or, if you have published a paper and something has gone wrong and it has not come up to the quality of your expectation, then how you are going to analyze it on a cause and effect basis. Normally such an analysis involves the scrutiny of 5 to 6 criteria such as method, machinery, manpower, measurement, environment etc. This was not known to the people. So I felt I have to write a book on the tools which are applicable in the construction field. So again I wrote to the publisher about my idea of a second book. Since my first book was already a best seller, they never had a problem in accepting that. The book explains the different types of tools and its application exclusively in construction industry and it is also well accepted by the industry. Then came the third book, which got released recently.
IIK: Completing more than 3 decades in Kuwait, tell us about your journey in this profession.
Dr. Rumane: I was into manufacturing industry for almost 10 years, back in India. Then I went to Iraq on a project for two years, again for an Indian company. Then in 1983 I came to Kuwait and from that time onwards I am into construction field where I contributed in areas like designing, supervision, construction management etc. You can find all these experiences in my book.
IIK: How do you see the changes that took place in the construction field over years?
Dr. Rumane: Construction was simple, years before, compared to present day projects. They are getting more and more complex. All the clients are looking for a construction at an aesthetic point of view. Then, technically speaking, we will have to have so many crossings, from that we should have openings for the crossings. All these are complicated and require good coordination. You have to make the composite drawings or the coordinative drawing and during the construction if the coordination fails, then whole project will be affected. The duration of the project also changed. People want the project to be completed very fast.
IIK: Which is your most challenging project till date?
Dr. Rumane: Every project is a challenge in itself. But to name some in Kuwait, the new building for State Audit Bureau was completed within time. When getting delayed is a normal practice for any projects in Kuwait, completion on time is a commendable achievement. I have also contributed towards many of the MEW projects, Bayan Palace etc.
IIK: What are the R & D activities going on in this field?
Dr. Rumane: Here we don’t have much scope for such research. Construction Industry Institute in Texas is more into the research in this field. They come up with new construction methods, quality aspects, planning methods etc.
IIK: Incorporating the R & D results, is there any unified set of rules to be followed in construction, worldwide?
Dr. Rumane: There are different codes (set of rules specifying the standards) like building code, international codes, codes for documents, quality codes etc. to be followed by any construction. Every country and every industry will be having their own codes. Kuwait is following mostly British or American codes. The formulated codes are general and it has to be implemented taking into consideration various factors like climate. All the works are done according to these codes.
IIK: What are the positives that you feel while working, being a combination of an engineer and a project management expert.
Dr. Rumane: Be it a project manager or construction manager is a huge responsibility. Being the leader, who controls the whole project, he should be aware of every aspect including all the processes involved in the construction. Not only planning and supervision, he should know how the construction is going on. He has to know the design and what the shortfalls in it are and be able to identify and correct the errors. Not only that, he should know how to manage the scope, stakeholders, contracts, schedules, resources, quality, risk, safety, cost, finance and even claims. When there is a claim the construction/project manager is the first person to discuss with. In short the subject knowledge along with all other related aspects is an added quality. Otherwise it will affect the project adversely.
IIK: One of the most important aspects which should be considered with priority in any work is safety and unfortunately it is taken for granted most of the time until something goes wrong. What is the role of safety in construction? Is that something which comes under quality of a construction project?
Dr. Rumane: Of course safety comes under quality measures. Safety is a must because it is associated with human life. For any project, whatever you build, right from the designing stage, it has to be made sure that, safety is taken care of. During the execution stage of the project, all the people working on site should perform their duty in such a way that there is no risk for their life. It includes the climatic condition, free moving space, unrestricted exit, safety barriers, proper lightings etc. Normally the safety considerations will be there in the contract. Also there are certain agencies like OSHA and ASSE who has set certain safety standards, which has to be complied with. Every country will be having separate codes for safety and you have to follow it.
IIK: Is there any measure to ensure that all at the work site are following it?
Dr. Rumane: Every project should have a safety professional who will be taking care of the safety consideration. If at all any accident happens, he should be able to handle it and make sure that the same accident is not repeated. Accidents should be analyzed carefully and used for further for improvement in safety measures. Different coloured violation cards are issued for the employees who violate the safety measures and they are given warning. This helps to identify and take strict actions on repeated violations. They can even be restricted from entering the site. First of all it is not good for the employee; secondly it will affect the reputation of the company. So the practice of issuing colored cards is strictly followed at every site. Apart from this there should be regular meeting to review the adequacy of safety measures. Some sites will conduct the mock drill to train how to make the project safe, what is to be done in case of emergency, firefighting etc. In my third book, I have a separate chapter dedicated on the topic health, safety and environment. For example upon dehydration what is to be done and whom to call, what you have to consider for the environment etc.
IIK: In Kuwait lots of construction projects are going on. Do you think all are following all these safety standards?
Dr. Rumane: The only industry in Kuwait which takes precautionary measures seriously is the oil industry. In other sectors we can find many non-compliances. They are following, but often I have felt that it is not in a systematic way. At times the ratio of safety officers with that of the size of project doesn’t match with the standard. He may not be able to handle the whole project alone. At times safety measures are getting ignored also.
IIK: You are the Honorary Chairman of The Institute of Engineers (India), Kuwait chapter for the year 2016-17. You served this position before in 2005, 2006, 2013. Tell us about IEI activities.
Dr. Rumane: IEI, The Institute of Engineers (India) is having 92 centers in India and 4 overseas chapters. We are one among the four. We started the Kuwait chapter in 1995 registering under Indian Embassy Kuwait. Since then we are one of the internationally recognized active societies who follow registered bylaws of IEI. It is a fact of pride for us that we have MOU with Kuwait Society of Engineers (KSE). We conduct technical seminars, workshops, and conferences on topics related to Engineering and Technology. Actually we are one of those societies who conduct a seminar every month where we prefer our own members to talk on relevant topics. We also invite eminences outside the chapter too for a talk. Our other events include Engineers Day, Students Science Club activities, ladies wing activities and of course an open family day.
IIK: Can you describe the IEI activities for the students.
Dr. Rumane: IEI student activities are mainly for the kids of IEI members. We conduct seminars, science exhibitions where students can display their models, science magazine ‘Spandan’ where kids contribute their articles. Also we have one program called AMIE, which is recognized by Indian government equivalent to BE. The IEI (India) is the authority that prepares syllabus, conducts examination and issue certificates etc. of AMIE. With the co-operation of Indian embassy IEI Kuwait conduct the exam twice a year in Kuwait. Anyone who completed 10+2 who wish to take up engineering but lost the opportunity, because of many reasons, can write this exam. It is open to all.
IIK: We have been hearing about the trouble for an engineer from India to get registered with KSE. What is the current status?
Dr. Rumane: We are in constant contact with the KSE board to get this issue resolved. Kuwait Society of Engineers is having set rules for approval. They consider only those colleges and branches which fall under National Board of Accreditation, India list. In India we have lot of engineering colleges and most of them are not in the list even though they provide quality education. So those coming after graduation form such colleges find it very difficult. The point raised by KSE is valid and straight because NBA membership is the quality criteria in education set by our country and they are following that list only. If our colleges are not able to maintain the quality and to get into the accreditation list of our own country, then how can KSE approve. Now we are trying to resolve it by saying, anybody who is having the membership of IEI Kolkata, then KSE should approve his membership. The discussions are going on. Hopefully we will get a positive response soon.
Let us hope for a sound decision by KSE board which will benefit the Indian Engineers in Kuwait. Thank you for your time and IIK wish you all the very best for your future endeavors.
Reshmy Krishnakumar is working with Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) as Research Assistant. Having done her post-graduation in Statistics, she worked as lecturer at St.Teresa’s College, Ernakulam, until her relocation to Kuwait. As a freelance writer, she is contributing to various magazines, blogs, and websites. Her passion includes classical dance, writing poems in Malayalam and Hindi. She is a member of the Writers’ Forum, Kuwait and the Indian Women In Kuwait (IWIK)
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