Construction Monkey

Construction Blog

By now most of us have seen the change order and contract boat image that has been circulating around the internet over the past several years. The big boat is rightly called the change order and the small dingy is called "Original Contract". This brings forward a very interesting question about how people think. When you view the image it enters into your mind that this must be Contractor's set-up ......

For subcontractors, the best way to control and increase profit is by managing labor productivity. Too often, project managers, foreman, and executives focus on material buyouts, squeezing subcontractors, and cutting back on overhead to make gains on profits, but these actions pale in comparison to what can be accomplished by having highly productive labor. There is no doubt money to be made by being ......

Business management for years has taken the advice of statisticians: that if you don’t or can’t measure something, then you can't manage it. In construction, this simple truth is the key to being successful. Management of bidding, projects, labor, or profits is not just a group of tasks that you must perform, it is taking in facts, analyzing those facts, coming to conclusions, taking action, and then ......

Measurements are critical to good construction. Not just in constructing walls, placing tiles, and balancing mechanical systems, but also in tracking contractor's performance on the project. A minute cannot go by where workers are not measuring boards, conduits, walls, concrete volumes, and hundreds of other things on a construction site, but are contractors measuring things for their own betterment? ......

In part 1 we covered the basics of the Acquisition Team (A-Team), in this installment I would like to discuss some of the mechanics of procuring work. Like the construction of a building, procuring work does not just happen, it comes about through hard work and planning and a very focused effort. The most skilled craftsman without engineered drawings cannot accomplish as much as those with detailed ......

MEP Coordination: It’s Expensive to be Cheap. You’re a contractor and you have been awarded a contract to do what your good at, build a building. You assemble a team to manage and grow it during its life cycle. You’ve done this a million times before and you’re good at it. That’s why you got the job right? But, things are different now aren’t they? Times are tougher in this difficult economy and ......

When managers in construction start beating the drum of more production, the message that is typically received from the crews is “you need to be working harder”. While this may be true in some instances, most of the time this is not what is being said. In construction, especially for subcontractors that are performing the labor, money is made or lost in the amount of work being put in per hour charged ......

In construction, talk to anyone about the single greatest challenge in surviving in the industry and it is risk. "Based on the risk, add more profit to it." "I am not going to do a job that difficult for that amount, I need to cover my risk." "We shouldn't bid that project, it is too risky."Just some of the common quotes you can hear around the offices of contractors nationally. Risk is more ......

As spring approaches so does one of the two trade show seasons. With the economy difficult, it begs the question: Should we spend money on attending a trade show? Just a business question my friends. Like any other expenditure it depends on whether you can achieve more value than money you spend. So I guess the real question is what kind of value can you get from a trade show? Trade shows take ......

So what does it take to be a good estimator? Being great with numbers? Having a desire to color on drawings all day? There are a few key traits I have found in my career that really separate the great estimators from the rest of them. Let's recall how I defined an estimator's job as: finding the lowest cost solution to the project as would be acceptable to the client while identifying the potential ......

No matter where you sit in your organization I would like for you to take a different look at your job duties. Over the years the titles for different positions have become pretty standardized, Project Manager, Superintendent, Estimator, Salesman, Manager, etc. The actual duties of these positions vary drastically from company to company and as you are aware may vary from employee to employee. We ......

So what does weight loss and construction productivity have in common? If you track the inputs you are much more likely to get better results. In 2008, a study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that shows that keeping a “food diary” may double your weight loss. What they actually found was that the more participants recorded what they ate, the more weight they lost in the ......

If you have been involved in bidding work you have probably at one point in time been apart of the Best and Final Offer (BAFO) routine. In private work it is typically called "scoping out" the sub numbers. It is a process where you are expected to give your best and final proposal for the work after you have turned in your actual bid number. It may be preceded with a list of questions or changes in ......

Measurements are critical to good construction. Not just in constructing walls, placing tiles, and balancing mechanical systems, but also in tracking contractor's performance on the project. A minute cannot go by where workers are not measuring boards, conduits, walls, concrete volumes, and hundreds of other things on a construction site, but are contractors measuring things for their own betterment? ......

For those of us in the construction industry, we know the Estimators that are more cynical than the average Joe. They appear to be more prevalent than the fun loving young estimator. The duties of an Estimator change that fun loving young kid into the cynic through years of performing one of the most difficult jobs in construction. So what makes it such a difficult job? The most difficult part of ......

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