Construction Monkey

Construction Blog

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 ......

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 ......

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 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 ......

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 ......

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 ......

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? ......

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 ......

As subcontractors we buy the vast majority of our material through Distributors. The system was established well before my time and benefited almost everyone along the supply chain. Manufacturers had someone that could stock their materials locally and provide credit and payment for delivery (thus insulating manufacturers from Owner's, General's and Subcontractor's inability to pay). The subcontractor ......

Well, we are almost done. We have now compiled all of our revenue and gross margin amounts for our 2010 year. You should have a spreadsheet that has totals that mirrors the following: Revenue Jan Feb etc... Flow $3,000 $3,000 $3,100 Backlog $2,000 $2,500 $4,000 Pipeline $600 $2,900 $3,400 Total $5,600 $8,400 $10,500 Gross Margin Jan Feb etc... Flow $300 $300 $310 Backlog $200 $250 ......

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 ......

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 ......

Last week I wrote about how proposals could help you win work more than numbers. I know that this is a controversial issue and most contractors are convinced that low cost will win the project every time, but in my career that is simply not true. Your customers are looking for the "lowest responsive bidder" and outside of someone buying the project or being smarter than you if they are much lower ......

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? ......

Construction is a massive industry and has promoted innovations in tools, equipment, products, and of course the structures that are built. With all of that said it is not hard to state that Construction is a science. Of course to those of us in the industry we would argue that it is also an art form. What I would really like to focus on the is the science part of construction and see if we really ......