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 ......

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 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 ......

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 ......

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 ......

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 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 ......

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 ......

Best and Final Offers (BAFO) are probably the fastest growing trend in construction, especially given the economy today. In a previous blog, I talked about the ethics of the BAFO process. There are legitimate reasons to utilize the process, but you have to have integrity from everyone involved or you may just be another bid shopper. When dealing with vendors you need to ask yourself several questions ......

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? ......

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 ......

Analytics is simply the science of analysis. In construction, and probably more specific in the subcontractor community analysis of data is few and far between, even though our industry is ripe for analytics. In for analytics to be worthwhile, there are two conditions that really need to be met: (1) that there is a lot data generated and (2) that the data is coming from events that repeat themselves. ......

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 ......

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 ......