Why visiting the project site before submitting your construction Price (estimate/tender) is important
Some contractors price construction projects, yet they’ve never seen the project site before submitting their proposal. This can be dangerous unless the RFP (Request for Proposal) document is very clear as to the specific site conditions, including the neighbouring properties. I know it’s possible to view much data on the internet, including aerial views and even the underlying geology. However, to really get the full appreciation of potential problems nothing beats actually visiting and walking the project site before pricing the construction project – kicking the dirt and literally feeling the project conditions.
You don’t want to be awarded a project and the first day you arrive to find there’s a low level suspended power cable across the entrance road, or that the local authorities are digging up the road and access to the property is blocked, or the project site is steeply sloping, jammed in between neighbouring high-rise buildings and the site was an old landfill. Damaging existing services
The project site conditions often dictate the construction methods and the types of equipment that can be used and it will determine the construction schedule.
Of course visiting the project site often also provides an opportunity to meet the client or their team. Meeting those involved with the construction project enables relationships to form and provides a sense of who they are and what’s important to them. In construction it’s important to know your clients. It could save you.
We once sent a young engineer to attend a site inspection for a project we were pricing. When we came to review our price we called the engineer in to explain to us what the project site looked like. It was frustrating as they couldn’t provide any useful information about the site. I was quite annoyed, but in hindsight, we should have given them a better briefing and explained what to look for and note during the site visit.
"You are the eyes and the ears of the estimator. It's important to accurately convey everything you see and hear."
When someone, other than the estimator, attends a site inspection, it’s important that they remember that they are acting as the eyes and ears of the person formulating the price and they need to note as much useful information about the project site and its immediate area as possible. The quality of the information provided could substantially influence the way the RFP is completed and may end up helping to win the project, or contribute to losing it. Potential problems which are missed during the site inspection could later be costly to the company because they weren’t taken into account when formulating the price or in preparing the construction schedule.
When inspecting a site it is important to remember that first impressions count. Clients won’t be impressed with contractors that are sloppily dressed, or that arrive late for the meeting. Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to be dressed in a suit either, in fact, suits can put some people off. Come prepared with a notebook, camera, and tape measure. Always ask permission before taking pictures. Some projects require personal protective equipment to be worn, so confirm what’s required before setting out for the meeting. Before visiting the project read through the pricing documents and information so there is an understanding of the project scope of work. Note questions to raise with the client and points to be specifically looked at on the visit.
#constructionestimation #constructionestimates #constructionprofessionals
What to check when visiting the project site
During the visit note the following for us in your proposal:
Check the area around the construction project
After visiting the project site explore the surrounding area and check for:
1. Possible suppliers and contractors, noting their size, equipment, facilities and contact details.
2. The general safety of the area – projects in high crime areas can mean that extra project security is required and employees may be reluctant to work on the project.
3. The general neighbourhood. Is it quiet, is it busy? Are the roads congested.
Prepare a brief report on the visit, including all relevant information and photographs, and submit this to the estimating team.
The winning edge for pricing your construction projects
Visiting a project site before formulating your price can provide much valuable information, information which will help to avoid expensive mistakes, information that can provide insights into the project that will give the company a winning edge. Visiting the project site also provides the opportunity to start building a relationship with the client. If the contractor appears knowledgeable and well informed it will give the client comfort that the company can do the job.
Some contractors get a good feeling, or pick up a bad vibe, when they visit a project site. Call it intuition or a sixth sense! But it’s often more than this, walking the project, kicking the dirt, talking to the client, provides a sense of project conditions and future working relationships. Sometimes savvy contractors can almost smell trouble in the air!
Have you submitted a price without visiting the project site, only to uncover an unpleasant surprise after landing the project?
#pricingconstructionprojects #constructionprojectmanagement #contractors
This article was first published on the ClockShark website.
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