Construction Monkey

Construction Blog

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 ......

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 ......

If you read the first part of this series, you have looked at the photo of two boats and hopefully gained a different perspective about the photo that has been circulating around the internet. Let's take a deeper look into this photo from the Owner's point of view or that the change order boat was purchased from profits off of change orders and the base contract profits could only afford to purchase ......

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 my last blog, I discussed the need to track productivity to increase the performance of the company which now comes up with the natural question: What do we track? It is actually not too difficult to figure out, unless you make it too difficult. Since there are so many items in construction from 1/4 x 20 nuts to duct work, the scale of what we are tracking is immense. Keep it Simple With the ......

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? ......

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 ......

So why would anyone BIM, or Building Information Modeling? Unless you are doing a power plant or some very specialized industrial job, our guys in the field can work things out, right? Not exactly, first let me start with some definitions so we can all be speaking the same language. Building Information Modeling (BIM) - The science/art of putting the building elements that will be constructed on ......

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 ......

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 ......

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? ......

It appears with 2010 behind us, the worst year of this economic calamity is behind us, that is good news. This upcoming year should show new projects being started which should allow for expansion in revenues and margin. This increase in construction work however will not be dramatic and increases will be slight over one of the worst years in a generation. So how are you going to handle the increased ......

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 ......

So we went through all of the steps of producing a good business plan for 2010, now what? First let's review what we have covered so far. Part 1: Building our Flow Work Part 2: Projecting our Current Backlog Part 3: Dealing with Our Pipeline Part 4: Projecting Overhead and Calculating ProfitIf we have taken time to calculate each of the numbers and analyze each step we have a very realistic ......

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 ......