Construction Monkey

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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 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 ...

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 ...

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? ...

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 ...

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 ...

The most frustrating experience for a project management team and the owners of a construction company is project fade. The process of margin disappearing as the project becomes more complete deteriorates moral, the balance sheet, and may threaten the ability for an organization to continue as a viable concern. Fade comes from many causes: optimistic estimates, poor team performance, work outside ...

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 ...

We have recently decided to introduce an incentive program for our superintendents in order to improve productivity and ensure that the schedule is met and customer satisfaction is attained. Here is a synopses of the program... Bonuses are to be awarded and evaluated on a project by project basis. In order to qualify for a bonus the projectmust have a contract amount of $30,000 or greater and pass ...
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