Construction Project Management Tips

A really good project manager can manage most if not all construction projects fairly easily. That being said sometimes even the best project manager may need to be reminded about the best practices for running projects smoothly every now and then. In this article we take a look at 4 very important keystones for a construction related project manager.

Planning for success

This point sounds very obvious but the fact is that the majority of construction projects fail because their project manager had no clear plan to complete the job. In order to be successful you need to take four very important steps:

  • Outline a clear goal
  • Make a list of all the milestones you need to meet to reach your goal
  • Publish a clear schedule
  • Make a daily list of things to do and mark the completed stuff off

The Pareto Principle

Also known as the 80/20 rule, the Pareto Principle is one of the most important keystones. The principle talks about 20% of the work required to yield an 80% result. In order to achieve this, project managers need to know exactly what core milestone needs to be completed to complete 80% of the job.

Have meaningful meetings

Construction project managers need to have meaningful meetings to provide valuable information which is instrumental in pushing the project forward. There is no point of drawn out meetings except that it wastes valuable time and accomplishes very little. The meeting should not feel like work, rather the meeting like the project as a whole needs to work for the team. The aim should be to:

  • Outline a clear agenda for the meeting
  • The setbacks faced should be explained in detail
  • There should be focus on opportunities that a project presents
  • Ancillary groups should be established for debates, external input and technical issues

Always think Big

In order to manage any construction project a successful project manager needs to always look at the big picture. You need to keep each and every milestone in mind but at the same time also the project as a whole. The biggest aspects of this ‘big picture’ focus for any construction project are: to stay out of all the work itself and to avoid micro management.

Conclusion

The team which is hired for a construction project is always chosen for a particular reason. A really good manager is able to take a few steps back and allow the architects to chart out any design details with the client. The architect should be allowed to finalize the design of everything from the external look of the structure to each and every beam. The person in charge of delegating jobs, balancing priorities and efficiently managing time which does not mean that you have to be the best code interpreter or client handler.

5 Tips for Choosing a Contractor for Your Construction Project

With the economic outlook so bleak these days, how is Los Angeles construction doing? Well in looking at the numbers we are doing pretty well against last year. And this year it is only going to get better with leading indicators giving us hope for a better future. Looking for a contractor is not any easier though.

Every day you hear of some contractor scamming someone out of money. How can you avoid this? There are many things that you can do as a prospective client to protect yourself from a bad deal. Here are 3 tips to get you past through that process:

1. Get references. Ask your friends and co-workers. Los Angeles construction is varied and sometimes specialized so don’t just rely on one person, ask a lot and look for reviews of the contractor. The more feedback you get the better your decision will be and the happier you will be. DO YOUR RESEARCH. You are going to be spending a lot of money so spend the time and check them out. Go online, call the better business bureau, and the Builders association.

2. Design. Try not to start with an architect as they draw pretty pictures, but they have little regard for the bottom line. If you do start with an architect involve the contractor along the way. If you can find a contractor with “in-house” designers and architects, as they will have a better grasp on the budget components of the job.

3. Building Site. Another thing to consider in Los Angeles construction is our topography. With the varying terrain in the LA area it is imperative that you consider your surroundings. Ask the questions that need to be asked about the costs and process of building on your specific site. What experience does this contractor with hillside construction if its on a hill?

4. Ask questions. Can I talk to some of your past clients? Can I see some of your work? Can I see pictures of similar work to my project you have done? The answer to these questions could save you years of grief if you do the work of checking them out.

5. Multiple bids. You should get 3 bids to make any kind of rational decision unless the contractor comes from a very reputable referral. You are not obligated to anyone, don’t be pressured by a sales person, friendship, or any other emotion. Your goal here is to get the best value for your dollar. Does that mean that you are going to take the lowest bid? Not always, there are a lot of factors in play and you need to look carefully and the bids. One contractor will include things that another will not. Be careful of things not included, they can add up to be staggering amounts of money and heartache.

A good reputable builder will sit down with you, go through the construction process, timelines, and budgets, and answer all the questions you have. If, they don’t make you feel completely comfortable that they have total control of what is going to happen, MOVE ON.

The most important thing to remember about Los Angeles Construction, is that is can be specialized and know the ins and outs of the area and its challenges is important.

7 Ways Construction Firms Can Hire and Retain Quality Tradesmen

Whether you are a construction recruitment agency or a construction firm itself looking to hire the best of talent industry has to offer, here are a few important tips to help you in this quest.

Hire in the off season:

Conventional wisdom has it that you must never go grocery shopping while you are hungry. You tend to buy whatever you get at the earliest and that’s almost never a good bargain. The same is true for hiring tradesmen when you need them.

So the best time to look for a tradesman is when you don’t require one. It will help you scan wide range of talents, be more selective, and acquire the kind of worker you exactly want. As an added piece of advice, aim for the off-season when many construction workers are out of work and you might get a bargain.

Pay the market rate:

When you pay peanuts, you get only monkey! Firms who pay below-market wages not only have the least-qualified and least-productive employees, but they are also the ones always in need of new workers. Why? Because competitive tradesmen will leave you the moment they get more lucrative opportunities. Do I need to tell you what a dent it makes to overall productivity?

Provide a safe work environment:

Don’t underestimate the value of a safe and healthy workplace in retaining workforce. Too many workers falling sick on site might force others to look for a safer option. A major accident on site and the resultant bad press might turn away potential hires.

Develop a great work culture:

There is something more than a good salary a qualified and talented tradesman look forward to. Bonuses, paid leaves, company outings, work-life balance, and retirement programs are some of the perks that entice the best of talents. The more people want to work for your company, the easier it will be to attract (and retain) quality people.

Invest in your workforce:

I haven’t met a tradesman who doesn’t like adding on new skills or getting a pat on the back for a job well done. So it’s a good idea to invest in your workforce. When you provide them a chance to learn, grow and develop they can help your company do the same. Training improves the efficiency of the workers and quality of the output. This is also a great way to identify the people with potential to take on bigger roles within the company.

Be in step with time and technology:

Embracing technology not only makes the company more efficient and productive but it also attracts younger and tech-savvy workforce. You can also publicize it as your USP to entice people buying your product or services.

Character can pay more dividend than the skill-set of a hire:

Characters can’t be built, skills can be. People with character can make the most of the training you give them. Such workers are more likely to stick with you in bad times as compared to those with only skills and potential.

Make Cleaning Easy After Construction Work With These Tips

Every building, whether it is residential or commercial requires renovation work after a period of time. Homeowners usually hire professional construction workers to do the renovation work. It’s a well known fact that only professional construction workers have the ability and skills to build a new building.

So, you don’t have to do any hard work when it comes to the construction or renovation of a building, but what happens when the construction or renovation work is over?

Now, when the whole work is completed and the last worker has left the property, they leave behind muddy footprints on the new floor, then you realise that after cleaning work is far more stressful than you thought before.

There’s dirt, sawdust, paint spills, marks labels, and smudges on windows, bits of plaster and cement, etc. The list is simply never-ending. Most of the time homeowners have simply no idea about where to start the cleaning work. In such situations, it’s better to hire after builders cleaning services.

Here are few things that will help you to understand why it’s important to hire after builders cleaning services.

  • It’s vital to ensure the new and fresh surfaces of floors, walls, trim and installations from getting scratched or generally harmed amid the cleanup work. The garbage can result in issues if not dealt with effectively.
  • For floors, it’s best to vacuum instead of sweeping because if you sweep the untidy area, then you might drag the debris on the new surface, which might result in scratches.
  • It can take a long time for all the dirt to settle after a major renovation or new construction work, and proper repeated cleaning is vital.
  • You can do vacuuming and mopping alternatively and wet-wipe walls and baseboards after doing dry-dusting on them.
  • Utilize spirit and blades to expel labels and paint spills from windows and doors. Utilise a mild cleaning solution and a clean cloth for paint spills on floors.

It’s such an easy decision to make that you need to allow an expert handle the cleaning work, in the event if you can afford the cost of it. A reliable after builders cleaning services can help you to save time and energy, and they’ll also do the job far more effectively than or your family members would have performed.

After builders cleaning services offer help to homeowners who have smaller cleanup tasks, and some services even specialise in after renovation home cleanup.

You need to figure out how much you’re willing to pay, and then check how much cleaning work can be done within your budget. Many professional cleaners offer customisable cleaning services, if you ask them politely. So, figure out your requirements and get your home cleaned within your budget.

Commercial Construction Basics

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a top level supervisor for a commercial construction company? If your answer is yes, that is fine and dandy. However, we strongly urge you to start at the beginning of your possible new career. Before you become a leader you must be a construction worker; then gradually earn your way to the top. The only way you will succeed in doing that is if you learn the basics of commercial construction along the way. The purpose of this article is to get you on your way to doing that. Along those lines we have some helpful tips for you. Continue reading in order to see what they are.

In any trade you need to collect the proper tools of knowledge over a long period of time. This is not any different in the commercial construction industry. Your understanding of the technical aspects of it and the terrific people skills are just a couple of those tools. One basic quality of a commercial construction boss is that he must be able to effectively communicate with other people. In addition to that, he has to possess good organizational skills so that he can accurately plan the different aspects of the current project. Of course those things go hand in hand with the technical problem solving abilities. These tools are more than likely to be only the tip of the iceberg.

So what are some other basic qualities for a commercial construction worker or especially a boss? We urge you to already possess a love of building things. That might sound rather trite but it is a fact and an important part of commercial construction basics. Are you a person who has always enjoyed working with his hands? If so, this industry may be right for you after all because you will most assuredly develop a love of building things like construction projects.

Do you derive enjoyment from watching other people acquire and utilize your company’s finished projects? This is not really a tool that you can learn; but instead is a true passion inside of you. Maybe you love to encounter children who have graduated from a school that you helped to build. You don’t necessarily have to have been born with this passion; however you should’ve acquired it at some point during your life. After all; this is the ongoing goal of any commercial construction company – to finish their buildings and in a timely fashion.

The other basic principles of the construction industry are things that you will learn over time. These are things such as any tricks of the trade or the project checklists of the Superintendent. One crucial thing you need to learn is all of the safety guidelines and procedures. You will need to learn what supplies to order and how to properly proceed with your tasks every day; all the while keeping safety at the forefront of everything. If these details sound mundane and boring to you then the commercial construction industry is not the right one for you.

Tips When Hiring Building Contractors Or Construction Companies!

In this article you will discover a number of the most essential things to seek out when appointing Building Contractors or Construction Companies.

Construction is a very specialized subject so you must be sure that you employ skilled and authorized contractors for your house or project.

Certainly one of the imperative factors when trying to hire a building contractor is to check them out scrupulously. The very first thing you need to verify is that they are approved and accurately insured within your state or country.

You’ll need to make several calls but it surely can save you numerous of head-aches down the road. Moreover request the contractor that you finally choose, to give you an insurance certificate.

Make sure that the construction company you intend to appoint has a website, this demonstrates that this company is professional and serious about what they do. A website may also permit you to acquire additional information about those building contractors, what they can do and the work they have done in the past.

You will also be able to examine the credentials of the management of this company. This adds credibility and shows that you will be dealing with professionals.

Prior to you signing a contract, ask the contractor how they hire their sub-contractors. Do they bid out the jobs, have they got insurance and licensing information on them, how do they pay their sub-contractors?

One thing you need to request from your contractor is release of lien from all of the sub-contractors that shall be on your work site.

This will preclude you from a potential fiasco later as we now and then, hear about building contractors that get paid from you or your financial organization and then fail to pay their subcontractors.

Subsequently what transpires would be the subcontractors liens your house for the amount they may be owed and you could possibly wind up paying twice for services.

Construction companies could also be checked by contacting the Business Bureau in your area or country.

You’re able to ask if there had been several complaints or official measures taken against the builder from the past.

In addition, try to check for a record of poor debts and/or preceding bankruptcy.

Be acquainted with constructions that the contractor has lately completed or projects in development and try to go and see that specific construction site.

Contractors may possibly even voluntarily provide you with the details of their best satisfied clients as recommendations, but furthermore ask about the completed work/constructions from earlier years.

Prior to signing the agreement, read it precisely . Just be sure you understand it and the whole set of conditions are comprehensible to you.

The building plans have to include all that you really want affirmed in the bid. This can allow it to be a suitably written agreement and can request awareness to definite details of the expectations.

Tips for Managing Construction Cleanup and Debris

Construction sites generate a lot of debris and waste, most of which is hazardous to human health. Some of this waste is generated directly as a result of construction activities while others are created indirectly. The non-hazardous waste materials on construction sites can range from bricks, rubble, wood, concrete, insulation and wiring waste, nails and rebar, etc. The hazardous waste often consists of lead, asbestos, plasterboard, etc. While construction site clean-up can be done meticulously, materials such as plasterboard release toxic gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, when they are broken down in landfills.

The non-hazardous construction site debris also poses a problem for construction site clean-up because of the lack of space for their disposal. Landfills are filling up at a very fast rate and many are closing down because of reaching their full capacity. It is important to manage and control wastage in order to make construction site clean-up easier for all concerned. There are many ways in which you can do this, which include recycling and reusing.

Recycling construction site debris can help reduce landfill waste. Some of the waste that can be recycled are aluminium, wood, concrete, corrugated cardboard, asphalt, and specific metals. Cleaning up in a recycling project takes place at the job site by segregating the waste according to specific categories such as concrete, metal, or wood, and sending them to the recycling site. Sometimes, recycling can be done on the site of the construction itself. There are instances where all the wastes with recycling potential is collected from the site and segregated later at the recycling facility.

An important way to clean up construction site debris is by reusing them, especially materials left over from a demolition project, such as door frames, doors, window frames, fixtures, etc. Before clean-up itself, these materials must be identified so as not to be disposed of by mistake.

There are different protocols for cleaning up different types of debris on a construction site. To start with, debris can be categorized into some broad areas, which are solid wastes, hazardous wastes, petroleum products, pesticides and fertilizers, detergents, etc. It is important that all employees are aware of best practices for waste management on site and adhere to these.

Areas and containers used for storage must be inspected for any leaks, spills, or other malfunctions. Workers must be properly trained in handling and disposal and must be aware of how to protect themselves when doing so.

When cleaning up different types of waste, it is important to know what to do and what not to do. For example, when cleaning up solid wastes, it must not be dumped where it can drain away to a water body or where there will be runoff from areas at a higher altitude. Hazardous materials are best disposed of with the label on them intact, and following manufacturer’s instructions. The same applies for petroleum and pesticides and fertilizers. Detergents should not be dumped into the system for storm drainage but to a sanitary sewer. Keeping these points in mind can help to successfully manage construction site cleanup optimally.

Tips for New Residential Construction

The process to entitle lots can take more than five years and is expensive. The cost of parcel maps for five lots or less is $100,000. Tract maps for more than five lots can cost more than $500,000. The number of lots and the potential size are determined by biology, health-department regulations, slope, and the zoning and general plan. Included in the cost are engineering, processing, and regulatory fees and various reports and studies.

Reports and studies include conditions of approval costs, storm-water treatment, anthropology and archeology, soils, biology, noise, and traffic. When a map is approved and recorded, there are additional fees that include, but are not limited to the following:

• Potential greenhouse gas studies

• Retention and drainage basins

• On- and off-site mitigation land

• School fees

• Parks and recreation fees

• Physical secondary access

• Fire fees

• Annual bonding fees.

Politics comes into play when obtaining the required approvals from county boards, city councils, and planning commissions. The level of public opposition or support affects hearings completion. They can be completed in as little as four months, or take years and cost over a million dollars. Property owners have three courses of action to take into consideration.

1. Entitlement and sale of the property ‘as is’ – This option brings the lowest price, but costs the least and requires the shortest time for property disposal. Under rare circumstances, the land is worth more when it is unentitled.

2. Enter into a long-term agreement – The agreement is made with a home builder who incurs the expenses of processing a tract map. This option is the most utilized. The process could take up to five years. The buyer is required to release nonrefundable deposits periodically to the seller after approving their contingencies. Escrow closing typically occurs after tentative or final map approval.

3. The owner incurs the entitlement costs – Much of the process is like option two. The difference is the owner has full control of the mapping process and bears all expenses.

The ramifications of each choice should be weighed carefully before making a decision. Owners, who have chosen not to seek advice, have made the decision to process a map and found out later the number of lots was not financially feasible. A competent engineer can determine the optimal number of lots that can be obtained and approved. Smart growth design principals call for buildings with a variety of materials, texture, and color and individuality; well-defined open space; a building and street relationship; mixed uses; and high-density development. Contractors, who specialize in residential subdivisions, can give realistic cost estimations.

The process of entitling residential property to higher densities is costly, complex, and cumbersome. Many factors must be taken into consideration. The leading concerns that communities have about increased density are the quality of life and increased costs.

There is a need for new affordable housing to reduce recent overpayment and overcrowding. There is also a need for high-density housing that supports economic recovery, accommodates new workers and their loved ones, and economizes the costs of infrastructure. It is quite a balancing act. Open spaces need to be conserved and the distance between new jobs and new homes reduced.

Commercial Construction Tips – Is the Project Feasible?

Getting a construction project off the ground can be very tricky, as there is a lot that needs to be considered before you even lay the first brick. Making sure that the project is actually feasible in the first place is extremely important, and it should be the first thing that you do when you decide to start work.

So just how can you determine whether the project is actually feasible? Here are just a few tips to get you started.

Speak to an Accountant

Budget is always going to be one of the most important aspects of any construction project, as running out of money at a critical juncture could prove to be a fatal blow for what you have in mind.

When you have an idea of what you want to build and you have some plans drawn up you should talk to a qualified accountant who can help you set out a budget and determine what needs to be spent and where. It is at this point that you will be able to determine if the work is financially viable and if you can deliver it within your budget.

Speak to a Solicitor

There are numerous legalities that are involved in practically any type of building work, so it is important to make sure that you have all of them squared away before you begin working on the project.

Speak to a solicitor who specialises in property development and find out what permissions you need to get and which red tape you need to cut to get the project off the ground. Failure to do so could lead to you doing something illegal, which is grounds for having the entire project shut down.

Speak to an Architect

While you may be able to create your original plans without too much hassle, to really know what is going to have to be put into the project you are going to have to speak to an architect and get their expert opinion.

They will be able to tell you if what you have in mind is even physically possible and will also be able to suggest changes to the original plans to account for any issues that they see.

This is a massively important step, as you need somebody who is qualified in the field to not only sign off on the project and ensure it is feasible, but also to help you in the overall design.

Speak to Your Crew

The final step in determining if your project is feasible is talking to your building crew. You need to know that everybody that you have working for you is able to do the jobs that you need them to do.

If they can’t, you will need to have enough money in the budget to hire somebody who can. Having the right crew is tantamount to the project’s success, so skipping this step or simply assuming that everything you have planned is a risky move at best and tantamount to construction suicide at worst.

Your Simplified Guide for Comparing Commercial Construction Companies

Commercial projects involve huge budgets and big plans, and quite expectedly, you need a reliable commercial contractor for the job. Construction companies working in the commercial sector have a specific way of doing work. In this post, we will talk about that, along with tips for comparing the options.

Working with Commercial Contractors:

As mentioned above, commercial projects require considerable money and effort. As such, it is important to start with the right steps. The first obvious step in finding a contractor is to make the design and establish deadlines. The whole process of planning can take time, but with a good contractor at work, you can expect to achieve the goals as planned and intended. The concerned contractor will seek your approval for the entire design, then they will get the necessary permits to start the construction. In between, the funds and finances will be discussed, and the contractor is expected to offer genuine assistance with the immediate roadblocks that may seem evident for the project.

Investigating the Options:

Construction companies specializing commercial projects have certain traits that you should be looking for. Here are the things you need to check.

1. Is the company well-known? For big projects, you cannot afford to take the risk, and hence, it is always better to find a contractor that you can rely on. Ask around for references, its best way of moving forward.

2. Know their client. If a commercial contractor claims to be the best in business, they must have the clients to back it up. Don’t shy away from seeking references and take a look at some of the projects they have managed so far. You may want to call some of their clients to know the individual experiences.

3. Find out more about their expertise. The whole process of planning and completing commercial projects is an extensive one, and not all contractors deal with all kinds of things that are involved in the process. Check if the concerned company has the expertise and know-how that you need for the project.

4. Ask for an estimate. Based on the work, you would want to know the cost of hiring a contractor. Again, this is largely dependent on the contract and the things included, but for such projects, transparency is one of the many things you cannot afford to ignore.

5. Check the basics. Work with companies that have an in-house team of experts. You need to find a contractor that’s genuine in its approach and can offer something more than standard services. Check if the company has licenses and permissions to take up such jobs and whether they can do the paperwork and get the required documents to get the job done.

Last, do consider sustainable and green practices for your project. An advanced and renowned contractor will offer such choices for their clients, based on what they need. The initial consultation is one of the main aspects that matter in this regard because you can learn a lot about the possible solutions available.