Construction Monkey

Construction Blog

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 ......

Construction subcontractors tend to be more like Aerosmith than like an airline. What exactly do I mean? Well to further the analogy, let’s look at the definition of both of these entities. Rock bands are made of a small group of talented people that perform specific functions. As the band forms it is not a big secret what each person is to do, however, there are not written rules on how this ......

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 ......

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? ......

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 ......

Productivity is defined by economists as the amount of output per unit of labor. For example the number of light fixtures installed per labor hour worked. As a subcontractor I would modify that definition to read: the amount of output per unit cost of labor. There is a specific difference and it is dramatic. Let's say we have a veteran employee that is making $30/hr and a relatively new person to ......

In the previous part to this series, I made the claim that customers look towards the subcontractors to find the best "expert" in the field (or group of them) and then select from that group. I also stated that the group of "experts" are not truly "experts". Let me clarify that statement, amongst those of us that know something about the Specialty Subcontracting trade (be it mechanical, electrical, ......

In Part 1 and Part 2, we looked at projecting the flow work and the backlog, now to get a total picture of 2010, we need to look at work we don't have yet, our pipeline. The pipeline for any company is critical and should be viewed in construction as far out as possible. A lot of times, we as subcontactors are only looking at the projects we are bidding immediately and not at all of the known work ......

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 ......

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 ......

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 ......

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? ......

None