The Malaysian mega-project announcement (31 Oct) is a reminder of a previous project, of similar magnitude, that did not get the manpower numbers right, fell several months behind schedule and did not recover. To put the problem in context, the photo (inset) is of just the PMC team, employed on behalf of Owner to oversee construction of his refinery. The team’s +/-50 members represented only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of manpower requirements, being responsible for monitoring the progress and quality of workmanship of a major EPC contractor and many sub-contractors, employing more than 7500 people at peak and ‘liquidating’ 30 million manhours over the life of the project. In ball-park terms, had a peak of 8000 people been reached 6 months earlier(say), the project could have been completed on schedule. Recovery actions described herein (see Manpower) were recommended, but unfortunately the main parties involved were reluctant to take advice on board and by the time that steps were taken to increase labour levels significantly, it was too late. In fact, plant areas were by that time so congested with workers that getting more people on to site during the final months became virtually impracticable!