During a recent jobsite visit to check on his electricians, Glenn Taverna, regional safety manager of Starr Electric Company, Inc., was haunted by what he saw. Hoisted from a crane directly outside of the executive trailer was a crash test dummy in a safety harness. In its hands was a sign that read: “Two days ago this harness saved a life on this jobsite.”
Typically, disruption in the workplace is counterintuitive to productivity. But in terms of creating innovative ways to manage people, processes and technology, the concept of “disruption” isn’t such a bad thing for the construction industry. Change is stirring whether contractors are ready for it or not, and firms that have adopted new ways of managing scheduling and workflows are seeing stellar results—earning the accolades of repeat projects for key clients, as well as happy project partners.
Construction projects involve a lot of moving parts. From start to finish, dozens of subcontractors, vehicles, tools and chemicals may be brought into the fold. Digital project management solutions make it easier to keep these components aligned. However, the different types of risks they introduce are often left unaccounted for.
If business owners have found themselves in the position of needing to hire a new project manager for their team, congratulations! Not only does this mean they are doing well enough to afford to bring on a new employee, but also that they have a new opportunity to re-energize the project team with fresh, savvy and competent leadership.
Construction companies, general contractors, developers, and property owners involved in land clearance and disturbance activities will want to take note of the new Stormwater Construction General Permit (Construction General Permit) issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that took effect Feb. 16.
As construction companies look to expand, it’s imperative that forward-thinking executives consider adopting modern approaches that transform business functions and drive growth. The availability of state-of-the-art technology and easy access to data provides construction companies of all sizes with unique solutions that allow them to grow exponentially.
“Winning is not a sometime thing…it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while…you don’t do the right thing once in a while…you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.” ~ Vince Lombardi
The tough-minded approach of what it takes to be successful as quoted by Coach Lombardi easily translates to building a winning bid. Getting the estimate right isn’t something you should do once in a while… it is something you should do all the time. The results of this type of focused effort and consistency should pay off on bid day. Unfortunately, for many companies, winning on bid day is a sometime thing.
When it comes to bid day, here are some tips to improve your chances of winning. Following these simple guidelines will result in a stronger relationship between you and your client (general contractor, construction manager, owner, or trade contractor).
- Be intentional with your documentation – Make your attachments clear and relatable, meaning add a snippet of a drawing to show specific things you have covered in your bid, specifically those hidden items others might have missed.
- Show your real scope – Don’t hold back. This is the time to make sure you are telling the client about how your work will be complete against what they asked for.
- Disclaim with care – Don’t emphasize the “Disclaimers” or “Not Included;” sure they need to be there, but the point is to sell your strengths and specialties first and disclaim after establishing value.
- Remember your mistakes – What did this client berate you on last time? Did they complain that you didn’t include clean up, layout or some other unique item this client needs? If you can’t think of any mistakes made, you’re probably not getting the critical feedback that you need.
- Show your real details – Yes, show your quantities! Do you really think that you are the only one who knows how to take off concrete curbs, door frames, volume of rebar or whatever your scope is? How many times does your client call you back to ask, “Hey, did you include XYZ?” Pro tip: When you over communicate to your client as to what you include, it will overshadow your exclusions.
- Show the project schedule – Submitting number of days to complete isn’t the end. They want to know what to expect by seeing an itemized project schedule and check scope for efficiency. Such level of detail is not easy to produce, but that’s how you win. Imagine giving your client not only the number of person hours but also the sequencing of when you expect them to be ready for your crews.
- Show that you read the specs – Demonstrate your respect and knowledge of the project’s goals by referencing the specs as part of your decision-making process. Of course, this means that you actually have to read the specs.
- Don’t just go through the motions – Respond promptly to the RFI, RFQ or ITB request by fully completing the form. You should have already asked them prior to bid day why they need the information they’ve requested. That way, if there’s any issue with the information they ask for, you can respond with a note reminding the client how you already resolved this issue.
- Check in on bid day – Call them earlier in the day, advise them you are completing your bid and you will have it to them by a certain time. Ask once again if other things have changed with the bid, due date, time of bid, duration of the project or other questions that show them you are not only interested in but also knowledgeable of the project.
- Anticipate the other trades needs – If you really want to get out there, think how your trade/scope of work interrelates with another contractor’s trade/scope of work and show the client some specifics of how you will accommodate their interactions with your work. For example, you could say, “We have included a plan for the electrician to deal with their significant main conduits in the hallway and we will frame and rock the hallway side immediately so they can have access.” Though it may seem premature for the project, it makes you look like a better fit. Not only are you concerned with completing your work on time, you’re a team player interested in seeing the work of others succeed.
Now that you’re prepared to win a spot on the team, learn how to improve your game.
With the Trump administration in full gear, hopes are high the new president and Congress will enact legislation supporting and expanding investment in U.S. infrastructure. While the two political parties may disagree on the details of President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, the overarching goal of putting Americans to work through the construction of highways, bridges, rail, airports, tunnels and other projects is a rare area in which bipartisan compromise might be achieved.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has published standard form agreements since 1888. AIA Contract Documents have long been viewed as the industry standard in reflecting current industry practices and fairly balancing the risks and responsibilities of all project participants. To keep up with legal and practice developments, AIA has put together a comprehensive set of revisions to its 2017 owner-contractor agreements. Continue »
As research continues to bring forth new ideas and techniques to promote healing, one idea specifically aims to create sustainable medical facilities that improve the health of patients as well as the environment.
The construction insurance industry is constantly changing and the number of available insurance products continues to grow. The result is an increasingly complex insurance market for construction project participants to navigate. In response to these developments, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) undertook an extensive examination of its insurance and bonds requirements for the 2017 update to key AIA contract documents. Working with industry experts on construction insurance, the AIA has put together a comprehensive set of revisions to the insurance and bonding provisions included in its 2017 owner-contractor agreements.
Can you get away with using a letter, or even handshake, agreement when performing construction work on a small project? After all, you may have used them in the past, so what could possibly go wrong? Contractors should be aware that even their first lawsuit could be the one that sinks their company and risks their professional livelihood. Continue »
Technology has drastically changed and improved all aspects of our lives over the course of the past 10 to 20 years. For building product manufacturers in particular, technology has significantly changed the way business is done. The technology behind the products has also changed; new compounds, materials and manufacturing methods have improved performance, strength and longevity of industry products. These new benefits must be communicated to potential customers through advertising and marketing.