Peter Zammit

Managing Director, iAS Limited

Peter Zammit is Managing Director at iAS Limited, which has established itself as a leading firm in Design and Project Management through its involvement in major construction projects. He commenced work in 1995 as a graduate architect/engineer after completing his degree at the University of Malta in Architecture and Civil Engineering. Peter attained status as a Chartered Structural Engineer when he became a Member of the Institution of Structural Engineers. He has also obtained a distinction result in an MSc degree in Structural Engineering from the University of Surrey, UK and was also a member on the board of directors of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority where he served two three-year terms as an independent member.

Commitment vs Contractual Obligations

Monday 04th December 2017

Behind any success story is an equally interesting story of commitment by one or more that have chosen to give their utmost, irrespective of what is thrown at them. I would dare say that success without commitment is very rare, if not impossible! This basic concept applies to everything, from the simplest things in life, like sitting an exam, to the most complicated projects that mankind has ever attempted, such as putting a man on the moon.

Within this wide spectrum one also finds construction projects, where, for a defined period of time, a number of people come together to realise a project. At iAS, we do not always sit in the same role within the project team; sometimes we lead the team in a project management role, and sometimes we provide design services only. In both cases, iAS management strongly believes that we should be fully committed to the project, doing what is necessary to get the job done. This effort has over the years become an iAS trademark with clients.

One always has to keep in mind that 'doing what is necessary to get the job done' has to be seen in the context of company values and project contractual obligations. For example, if getting the job done implies ruining an archaeological find of importance, one would have to carefully consider their actions in light of the company's social responsibility value. One also has to compare the action to be taken to the contractual obligations that have been agreed upon with the client. Any project entrusted to the company is generally accompanied by an engagement contract establishing the company's deliverables.

In the majority of cases we simply get down to work, design or management, thinking that we know what we need to do. Experience has shown us that we either end up doing what we are supposed to do and much more, or, worse still, we do what we are not contractually obliged to do and leave a lot out of what we are contractually obliged to do. In both cases, our actions are generally in good faith and in the best interests of the project, as client testimonials clearly depict.

It is however good management practice for both senior management and other professionals working on the project to start with clearly understanding the project deliverables, and how these deliverables are to be attained in the context of the agreement between the company and the client. Only when this is understood can the individual concerned appreciate when they are stepping beyond the agreed contractual obligations and potentially attracting more risk to the company, risk which has not been considered at fee proposal stage.

Such an approach will not eliminate the possibility of any of us being exposed to situations where the needs of the project are not fully in line with our contractual obligations. But at least, we will be in a better position to know when we are stepping out of our contractual bubble, attracting more risks to the company which allows us to raise the alarm with our superiors so that we ensure necessary action, at a higher level, is taken.