Construction Monkey

Construction Blog

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? ......

MEP Coordination: why 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 downturn economy and ......

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 ......

In construction there are the general trades and then the infamous specialty subcontractors. Ever think what is so special about the specialty trades? The construction industry is one of the most challenging industries out there to perform well, yet due to regulation and general cultural thought most people believe they can do it. When it comes to the general trades (excavation, rough carpentry, ......

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, ......

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 ......

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 ......

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 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 ......

pro·duc·tiv·i·ty (pro'duk-tiv'i-te, prod'?k-) n. The rate at which goods or services are produced especially output per unit cost of labor. Or if you prefer how much does it cost to install a unit. For subcontractors this is a very critical item since the majority of our profit is dependent on the productivity rate. It is also much more difficult in construction since the units and the ability to ......

Building Information Modeling (or BIM) is all the rage in today's commercial and industrial construction markets. I am unaware of many large General Contractors that haven't invested a lot of money into developing a BIM department or sometimes called Virtual Construction. Even though they have invested money in technology and people, they rely heavily on us Specialty Subcontractors to provide the ......

It appears as if the market is recovering (at least there are more projects out there to be bidding on), so how can you win that work to turn it from an opportunity to revenue? There are three factors that weigh heavier than any other when it comes to winning new work and if you are bidding many different projects (which I would bet you are), you should be looking at which ones fit this criteria first ......

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 ......