We have probably all heard the saying - 'you get what you pay for'. Well in construction this is often the case. The cheapest supplier or contractor ends up delivering the product late, sometimes an inferior product or their are hidden costs and expenses which add to the overall cost. Of course in some cases there are suppliers and contractors who are really good at what they do, and can deliver their product on time, with the required quality, and still be cheaper than their competitors.
To ensure you will be getting the required product at the best price it's usually essential to obtain three or more quotations or bids. More importantly these bids need to be adjudicated properly. Part of this adjudication process is to check that the contractor or supplier has:
It may be pertinent to check on the supplier's/contractor's previous experience and even conduct reference checks with their past customers.
In addition ensure that you have allowed for and added any additional costs that you may incur; such as for additional supervision or facilities and equipment which the contractor hasn't allowed, or travelling to visit their off-site manufacturing facilities.
Finally compare the best price (including the additional costs you may incur), with your budget or allowable. If your budget has been exceeded it may be necessary to revise the budget, look for other suppliers, or even adjust your specifications or scope of work to reduce the price.
(To read more on this subject see 'Successful Construction Project Management - The Practical Guide' and 'Building a Successful Construction Company - The Practical Guide'.)
It’s important you provide both positive and negative feedback to your staff. I often have Project Managers complaining about the quality of a person, even saying ‘they are incompetent’, however on most occasions when I inquired if they had spoken to the person and explained their short comings, they normally haven’t. In fact, the problem person often thinks they are doing a good job. It’s therefore important, to tell a person when they have done something incorrectly, or aren't performing according to expectations. If you do this you may find a dramatic improvement in their performance.
Poor performance may also be related to the person having insufficient knowledge to perform the task, so their performance may improve if they are given additional training or coaching. Certain people are also better at certain jobs than others, and if the right niche is found they may perform well.
Give feedback in such a way that:
1. it doesn't always appear to be negative and critical
2. negative feedback isn’t presented in a public place in front of other staff and workers
3. it isn’t shouted or given in a rude or abrupt way
4. the problem is explained with a suggestion on how you think they can improve their performance
5. Supervisors should be involved when one of their workers is praised or criticised
If a person’s performance doesn't improve, and they can’t give a reasonable explanation of why they will not, or cannot, improve then consideration must be given to following the disciplinary process.
People appreciate being thanked for their efforts, and positive feedback should be provided if a task is done well, a milestone is met, quality standards are exceeded, or a task is done safely. This praise can be public, but not an everyday event or it will appear that you praise anyone and everyone, and it loses its impact.
(an extract from ' Successful Construction Project Management - The Practical Guide')
Projects often incur unnecessary costs because deliveries aren’t planned or coordinated.
These costs are as a result of:
1. trucks standing waiting to be offloaded because:
a. suitable offloading equipment is unavailable
b. the offloading area isn’t ready
c. there isn’t suitable access to the offloading area
d. the documentation, including risk assessments or lifting studies aren’t available
e. personnel required to offload are not available
2. materials being offloaded in the incorrect place requiring double handling to move them to the correct area
3. trucks are turned back empty because:
a. they are the wrong size or type of truck
b. the item isn’t ready
4. the delivery trucks are too big, or awkward, to access the site
5. trucks going to the incorrect delivery or collection address
6. the materials not arriving in the correct order, with the materials required first arriving last
7. materials arriving late
8. materials arriving too early resulting in them being double handled
(an extract from 'Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide')
When the contractor prepares an estimate for a project it's important to diligently prepare a schedule (program) for the project. This schedule will provide the duration of the project which normally dictates the amount of overhead costs that should be included in the price.
Some clients provide a schedule or milestone dates with their tender documents which the contractor must comply with. However, in some cases the dates may be too optimistic and unachievable. It's therefore imperative that the contractor prepares their own schedule to ensure they can meet the stipulated dates. Should the contractor agree to dates they cannot meet they may find themselves incurring penalties because they completed the project late.
Preferably the contractor should resource their schedule so that they allow the costs for the resources required in their price. In addition they can ensure that they will have sufficient of the required resources for the project.
Copyright 2016 - The attached articles cannot be reproduced for commercial purposes without the consent of the author.
The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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