6 Rules for Smooth Commercial Construction Projects
Rule 1 – Before you even start on the project, spend some money! Pay for a competent, experienced Planner to come up with a Detailed Programme to Completion (DPC)! Doesn’t matter whether they are permanent staff or a freelancer taken on for the project – as long as they are competent and experienced. Remember that these guys are the highest paid in commercial construction and, when I used to do it, the cost for a £5 million project was about £20,000. Per annum, permanent staff member will probably be cheaper as long as you have enough projects to keep them busy. With your DPC you are almost guaranteed to complete on time, to budget and to standards. The cost of that DPC then palls into insignificance against LAD if you finish late!
Rule 2 – As the Main Contractor the number of your own men you will use can vary. But, without a doubt, you’ll have some Sub-Contractors. When you are placing the Contract with them, don’t go for the cheapest! They will almost certainly let you down and the project will be a disaster! Research all applicants and make sure they have the experience and skill for what you require of them. Guidance on this I was given many years ago is this:-
“Go to 5 subbies. Ignore the dearest; they are just greedy. Ignore the cheapest; they don’t know what they are doing. Go for the second dearest and you’ll have no problems on the project!”
Rule 3 – Commercial construction is complicated and fast moving; we all love that about it! Now this sounds stupid but, if you want it to run smoothly, make sure you have Site-Based Management on the job that are up to it. I have walked into umpty-dozen commercial construction projects in a freelance Turnaround role that were up the creek without a paddle, simply because the guys who had been running the project were NOT up to it. I insisted, if I accepted the job, that they be removed from site. So good site management cost more than inexperience or incompetent ones? Good ones are still cheap if they avoid LAD for you!!!! An example of this is one job I had. It was running 5 months late on an 8 month contact. We finished 5 weeks late but got a time extension due to extra work done. The contractor got paid for that 5 weeks! Surely that made me very cheap compared to the £600,000 a month LAD they had been looking at!
Rule 4 – Because you have that DPC, and have handed it out to everyone, your Subbies know what they are supposed to be doing and when. Before they are due on site, call them and make sure they have got all their materials ordered in good time and won’t be stood around waiting for it! Once they are on site get it I your head that the ones actually building the project are their skilled tradesmen. All we be-suited guys are there for is to organise them. Get out and about and establish good personal relationships with the tradesmen. Do that and they’ll advise you of potential problems days, even weeks, before you’d find out the hard way! On top of which this will encourage them to De-Snag as you go off their own initiative. This is simply because they know you are out and about and looking at their work!
Rule 5 – Now this is a commercial construction project which we want to run smoothly. So far we haven’t mentioned one thing; the Client and their Team! So a bit of the old Folk Wisdom – “The big problem with a business is the customers!” We want a smooth running commercial construction project so how do we sort out our “customers”, aka “the Client”? Simples! Go out of your way to establish a good working relationship with their Project Manager and, if possible, their Director with over-sight of the project! Make them a part of your Project Team! That way there will be quick decisions made whenever there are changes made or if problems crop up. On top of which, if you need, say, drawing revisions or clarification on some technical point, you’ll get a quick answer. It is the Client who is paying their Architects, Engineers and any other Consultants! If the client’s PM asks them, they’ll be on the ball a darned sight quicker than if you do!
Rule 6 – For a smooth running commercial construction project there are a couple of principles that have to be considered:-
- Everyone has to get all the information they need fast if there is to be no Delay.
- Disseminating information by word-of-mouth and with bits of paper costs time and money! – Over £60,000 for a £5 million project!
So how do we ensure that everyone knows everything instantly and also save that £60k? Simple in today’s technological world:-Use GenieBelt