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.

9 Pro Tips for Selecting a Custom Home Building Contractor

Planning to build your custom home that matches your personal taste in architecture? First, you have to find a contractor you can rely on. Selecting between different residential contractors can be tricky at times, because every other company claims to be the best in business. Here are the 9 pro tips that you need.

1. Ask around. When you are looking for custom home builders, references always count. Talk to your friends, colleagues and neighbors to know about the services that they have tried so far. Ask them about the experience and why they liked or disliked a service.

2. Check if the company is genuine. Don’t be surprised to find that many of the contractors don’t have any experience working with clients. They often offer the best discounts and sell the contracts to smaller subcontractors to make some easy money.

3. Make sure the company is licensed, insured and bonded. You need to check if the contractor has the required permissions to work in your city and area, and they must be insured, as well. These are basic aspects that people often ignore while comparing the options.

4. Are they open to your ideas? A good and reliable general contractor will take the time to understand the needs, expectations and requirements of their clients. They will also discuss the ideas that you may have in mind, and depending on the practical aspects, they may suggest the right things.

5. Will they offer an estimate? As a client, you should be extremely careful about your choice of contractor, especially with regards to the estimate that they provide. Check if their prices are genuine and in sync with the standards. Getting an estimate is also important because you can compare the options.

6. Specialization counts. Always work with a contractor who has worked on and managed projects similar to yours. Not all commercial contractors deal in residential projects, so ask them about their areas of expertise.

7. Check their previous projects. You can never rely on a service that doesn’t have enough clients. Check the work they have done so far, so that you know the kind of experience they have with residential projects.

8. Ask for references. It is not enough to see a few pictures of their previous projects. You need to know the experience of their clients with regards to their services, and for that, nothing is more important than references. A company that has been doing business for more than five years will have enough clients.

9. Ask why you should hire them. As a client, you need to know why a company believes that they are better than others. Know about their highlights and ask them questions about their work. They should be able to convince you about their highlights and the kind of things they do.

Finally, take the time to set up a personal meeting. You may need two to three meetings before you can give a nod for the project.

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.

Commercial Building Inspections – Tips for Finding a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector

If and when planning to purchase a commercial property, the question often arises, ‘How Can I Find a Reliable and Competent Building Inspector for Conducting a Commercial Building Inspection?’ While one could easily write an eBook on this subject matter, this article offers several tips to help you hire a reliable and competent inspector for the purpose of obtaining a thorough and diligent commercial building inspection. So without further ado, let me begin by telling you ‘What Not to Do’.

Never hire a commercial building inspector who was referred to you by the real estate agent or any other outside party who has a vested interest in and stands to gain from the sale of the property.

Although this statement goes without saying, it’s worth mentioning simply because many of those looking to purchase commercial real estate believe it is standard protocol to rely upon the realtor’s recommendation for hiring an inspector. In reality, this practice poses a conflict of interest that can have dire consequences for the party purchasing the property. Unfortunately, real estate agents who knowingly partake in this practice along with inspectors who continue to burn the candle from both ends know exactly what they’re doing and how to get away with it. While there may be a few exceptions to what I am telling you, I can assure you that the majority of inspectors who rely heavily upon referrals from real estate agents for their business are not going to rock the boat by disclosing any information to the client during the course of an inspection that may later serve to jeopardize their relationship with the broker or real estate company who referred them in the first place.

Never hire a Home Inspector to conduct a Commercial Property Inspection.

As for hiring a home inspector to conduct a commercial building inspection, suffice it to say that in most cases, conducting a commercial building inspection is altogether different from performing a home inspection for reasons too numerous to list in this article. However, the proliferation of home inspectors over the past twenty years (everyone wants to be one, especially in those States where home inspection licensing has become mandatory making it relatively easy for anyone to become licensed), hasn’t helped either as this has spawned an increasing number of home inspectors who are still unable to properly inspect a home, much less a commercial building, even if their life depended upon it. Moreover, given the number of significant and distinct differences between residential and commercial property, while experience in inspecting homes may well serve as a prerequisite, it is by no means a substitute for the vast amount of knowledge and experience required and yet to be learned by most home inspectors before they can even begin thinking about conducting a diligent and thorough building inspection.

Aside from ‘What Not to Do’, there are also other criteria you need to consider or at least be aware of in your quest to hire a reliable and competent commercial building inspector. namely:

Know the fundamental difference between a Commercial Building Inspection and a Property Condition Assessment (PCA).

Although this topic warrants a separate discussion, it’s important to note that the terms ‘PCA’ and ‘Commercial Building Inspection’ are often used interchangeably in the commercial sector. This in turn has resulted in a lot of confusion not only among real estate investors and others looking to purchase commercial property but real estate agents as well who more often than not simply do not know much less understand the difference. To make matters worse, the ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials) has also gotten in on the act by promulgating their ASTM Standards for Conducting a Baseline PCA. What this means is that since they happen to be a nationally recognized organization in the construction industry, in certain respects they’re similar to the AMA in the medical profession meaning anything and everything they write on a particular subject happens to bear a lot of weight. The problem arises in that the Standards for Conducting a Baseline PCA are often misunderstood by many in the profession and seldom if ever read by those buying and selling real estate.

To simplify things, all one really has to know is that the difference between a commercial building inspection and a Baseline PCA is like night and day since the later can be performed in a fraction of the time it takes to conduct a thorough and diligent commercial building inspection. The reasoning behind this is pure and simple in that a PCA is essentially a cursory walk-through of the property that relies heavily upon second hand information obtained through interviews and documentation (that may/may not be readily available let alone veritable) normally obtained through the owner and/or occupants of the property. Hence, my advice to anyone who is seriously considering having a PCA in deciding whether or not to purchase a commercial property is to forget it since in most cases a PCA is a total waste of time and money in providing information contained in a property condition report that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

Try to obtain as much information as you can about the company and the inspector beforehand

This is another statement that goes without saying but I mention it because many people feel uncomfortable in asking questions of this nature especially when speaking with someone they don’t already know. However, if you reflect upon what I’ve just said for a moment, the fact you don’t know anything about the company or the inspector should be reason enough to ask all the questions you can to solicit answers without being embarrassed.

Be sure to ask the company or building inspector for references

Last but not least, do not be embarrassed to ask for bonafide references regarding recent clients for whom they have conducted similar commercial building inspections. If the company or inspector is reputable and if they have confidence in the service they provide, they normally will not have any reservations whatsoever in providing you with this information.

My next article will provide tips as to what questions you need to ask and what else you need to be aware of in looking to hire a reliable and competent commercial building inspector.

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.

Purchasing Your Copper Sink – Helpful Tips & Information

Selecting a kitchen or bathroom sink use to be easy. There were just a few large companies selling ceramic, enameled steel, cast iron and stainless steel sinks. In the past decade, there has been an explosion of new products in the sink category and a growing demand for hand crafted and custom work. There have been several “new” sink mediums gaining recent acceptance – glass, various stones, brass, copper, and even wood. This article will focus on copper sinks and what to look for before making your purchase.

Copper is man’s oldest metal, dating back more than 10,000 years. Its use in the home in modern times ranges from copper tubing in your plumbing system to some of the finest cookware available. Restaurateurs, hoteliers and interior decorators look to copper and brass as naturally inviting metals that make a statement of quality, comfort and beauty. It is no wonder that copper has also become a popular material for sinks in the kitchen, bath and bar.

Copper artisans abound throughout the world, however the artisans that have gained a reputation for making sinks has been primarily centered in India, Mexico and the US. Most of the shops making “hand crafted” copper sinks are small and the methods used to construct sinks goes back centuries. The term “hand hammered” has recently become synonymous with Mexican sinks. This term refers to the original ancient techniques that artisans have been using for centuries in this area. Copper sheets are literally hammered into shape and hand finished.

The results are somewhat rustic, but truly unique and one of a kind. Copper sinks in the US are made with similar techniques but are more often “smooth” rather than “hammered”. US copper craftsmen are dominated by shops doing custom work primarily for commercial projects such as restaurants. You can see examples of all these sinks at Sinks Gallery. They specialize in artisan crafted sinks and have one of the largest selections of copper sinks available, as well as sinks from all different mediums including glass, ceramic, various stones and even wood.

There are three primary differentiators determining quality – construction technique, copper thickness and the company you are buying from. Construction quality is made up of several factors – how corners are constructed, welding technique and proper dimensions for ease of installation. Quality can vary even when considering sinks made in the same town such as many of the sinks from Mexico. The buyer should make sure they are buying from a legitimate company that knows the product and is not selling “seconds”. In the world of hand crafted products, not all sinks are created equal and oftentimes there are two or more quality levels sold by the same shop (i.e. “firsts” and “seconds”).

Copper starts out in sheets of various thicknesses or “gauge”. The thickness of the metal can also be referred to by the weight per square foot. The thicker the gauge copper, the lower the number. Most bath sinks are made from 20 gauge (the thinnest) to 16 gauge (the thickest) and most kitchen sinks range from 18 gauge to 14 gauge. When shopping for copper sinks, always ask about the gauge and be aware that a thicker gauge sink will cost more – and in many cases is worth it! A lightweight gauge metal can result in a “tinny” sound when running the faucet.

Finally consider the store you are buying from. If a copper sink seems “cheap” in price, there is usually a reason. I have seen many of the copper sinks sold on the most famous “auction site”. All I can say is “buyer beware”, or more to the point “you get what you pay for”…. If something goes wrong with your sink or there is a problem when it arrives, you want to make sure the company you purchased from will stand behind their product. Think carefully about buying internationally. Too often, a sink that is received isn’t as represented. A reputable dealer should identify their shipping location, clearly state their warranty and return policy and be available for consultation.

I am a fan of copper sinks. I think they are rugged yet elegant – especially as they age. The rich highlights and undertones of the patina process are constantly evolving. A copper finish is a “living finish” and never really stops changing in color. That being said, the evolution of a copper finish is gradual, and as it ages it becomes even more handsome. You can greatly reduce this change with the use of wax or even a lacquer product, but personally I like to let the copper evolve. Most often this process results in a mellow brownish weathered copper patina. I like to refer to it as the basins soul.

Copper sinks often come in various finishes from a bright copper finish (like a new penny) to a dark patina (we call ours “Dark Smoke”) and everything in between. The copper finish you choose is a matter of personal taste, but oftentimes our clients prefer the more “weathered” patinas to avoid the upkeep or uncertainty associated with shiny copper. If you want to slow down the patina process, try applying a wax like “Renaissance Wax”. Applied every few months, the wax will provide a barrier between the copper and the environment.

Copper sinks for the kitchen come in two basic forms: Under Counter Mount or Farmhouse style. The rustic nature of copper sinks lends itself well to the farm sink style. Sometimes referred to as “apron front” sinks, these sinks come in a variety of sizes, shapes and with different configurations – i.e. single bowl, double bowl and even triple bowl. Bath sinks are generally available in three styles: vessel (above counter mount), “drop-in” or under counter mount. Usually the lip style determines whether the bath sink is a drop in or undermount. Be sure to order the proper lip style to accommodate your project. A recent trend in bathroom design is matching a copper mirror frame to the sink in the same patina. This can help create consistency in the look and feel of the d├ęcor.

If you have any other questions before you purchase any sink, feel free to give us a call at Sinks Gallery or Copper Sinks Online – 1-877-320-0800. We would be happy to answer any other questions you might have.

Commercial and Industrial Painting Tips

Commercial and industrial buildings, like their residential counterparts, require constant upkeep which includes the occasional paint job. Yet, painting projects for commercial and industrial ventures are often very different in scope and execution than, say, a single-family home. There are, however, some simple tips that landlords and property owners can follow that will expedite the process and make sure the painting job is completed to satisfaction:

Planning your Painting

Planning is always a necessary component to any successful painting project and it becomes increasingly important with larger commercial or industrial buildings. Before you even begin a consultation, have a general vision in mind of what you would like to have completed. Additionally, keep in mind any time restraints which may arise and periods of high commercial traffic which may be inconvenienced by any significant painting upgrades.

Think Through the Feel and Brand of your Commercial or Industrial Building

Commercial and industrial painting is one of the most efficient ways to solidify a cohesive brand image. Think about what sort of image you would like to present to your customers and work based upon that. Painting of this variety should be used to highlight your goods or services and should not be disruptive in its general appearance. This process may involve consulting with employees and customers over what works and what doesn’t work with the current paint job of your commercial or industrial building.

Consider a Green Paint Job

Paint manufactures have made leaps and bounds in the past few years, creating a number of environmentally-friendly products. A paint job featuring a reflective coating could reduce the energy costs of your commercial or industrial enterprise. Of course, there are the additional environmental benefits involved in the production and application of such paints.

Maintain an Open Dialogue with your Painting Contractor

For any large scale project to be successful, it’s imperative you maintain a dialogue with your contractor. Before the project begins, you and the commercial or industrial painting contractor should have the same expectations and the same vision for what should unfold. Last minute changes can easily cause headaches for all parties and deter from a commercial or industrial painting project’s efficiency.

Tips on Selecting the Right Company for Your Office Fit Out

If you are thinking of updating your office building, then you need to make sure that you hire the best office fit out company for the job. So here are some tips in looking for the right one.

You should start by coming up with a list of companies that offer commercial fit out and refurbishment services in your location. You can make use of the Internet for this. There are absolutely lots of them that you can find online and you can also check out their websites to find out more about the services that they have offer.

Remember to focus your search only to companies that have a proven track record in the field of business that you are in. For those who run a gym or fitness center, look for a fit out company with the right credentials in commercial gym design and build.

Once you found the right company for you, then you can contact them and arrange a meeting to discuss the project.

When deciding which companies to hire from the list you have gathered online, here are some things that you must consider.

Experience

As mentioned earlier, it is important that you chose a company with previous experience in your domain. For the businesses in the retail sector, as an example, there are lots of fit out companies that are involved with retail interior design so you will certainly not have a hard time in looking for one. The key thing is to go through their references, and visit the sites they have worked on.

Accreditation

Some companies that offer fit out services would claim that they are certified and that they have proper accreditation. To find out if they are really accredited or not, ask for a copy of the certification that proves that they are certified to do office fit out services. The accreditation is important as this ensures quality of work.

Insurance

A lot of companies end up making a mistake by hiring a company that does not have the appropriate insurance. Public liability insurance is very important as this ensures that they will cover any cost on the damages that might occur on the property or the people during the office fit out.

Health and Safety

You should also consider the health as well as the safety of the employees within your company. Therefore, talk to the fit out specialists and find out if they follow the proper health and safety regulations while working within your company’s premises. This is very important especially if your business operation will be going on while they do the fit out and refurbishment.

Tips on Securing the Best Commercial Roadside Assistance Company

With a myriad of companies offering roadside assistance plans, how do you go about obtaining the best plan for your company’s needs?

You’re probably already familiar with the extensive benefits a roadside assistance plan can offer. From saving you hundreds of dollars in towing fees and minor repair costs to potentially saving your company thousands of dollars in lost business, should a disabled vehicle leave your employee stranded and unable to make his delivery or schedule appointment, a roadside assistance plan is a very valuable resource.

When a company vehicle, whether it be a commercial, fleet, construction, or rental vehicle is an important tool in conducting your business, you don’t want to choose the wrong roadside assistance company that could leave you without it for hours, or even days. Finding yourself broken down on the side of the road is a helpless feeling, and you don’t want to your employees to be in this scary situation either.

The right company can make a difference in turning a bad situation to at least a tolerable experience.

  • Finding and securing the best commercial roadside assistance company who meets your needs before trouble strikes, is imperative.
  • Ask about the company’s response time, and do some research to determine if this information is in line with their past and present customers’ experiences. Check references and read user reviews to see what other members have to say.
  • If you have a lot of company vehicles you’ll need covered, find a provider who will offer discounts based on the number of vehicles.
  • Instead of just picking one and hoping for the best, pick out a few different programs and compare them. Be sure to compare apples to apples by comparing quality, benefits and cost of the service.
  • If you or your employees do a lot of traveling, ask about long-distance towing, traveling services, maps and routing and travel discounts.
  • Call the toll free number the company provides for roadside assistance. How long does it take before you reach a live person?
  • After narrowing down your options, talk to company representatives. Knowledgeable and friendly representatives are usually a sign of a good company. A helpful staff that doesn’t hesitate to answer any questions that you have will give you a good idea as to the type of environment and quality of service they offer.

Signing up for a commercial roadside assistance company doesn’t have to be painful: learn about your options and get the best service for your company vehicles.

Top 5 Tips For Hiring The Best Commercial Roofing Company

Having a top quality roof is one of the most essential construction processes for a house. Getting this done is not a work for any remodeling firm or construction contractor but is a task which should be given to a professional and commercial company. Whether it is roof installation, repair or any other kind of related work or service, you will need the help of a professional who can carry this task out with ease and expertise. But how does one choose a reliable company? Well, the following tips should be of help:

1. The first and most important tip for hiring a commercial roofing company is to do a background check or research on the various available options. During this research, you must try and find a company which has an impeccable track record, is trusted in the markets and has certified and experienced workers. Basically, the idea is to go for a trustworthy, reliable and high quality service provide for long lasting and effective roof repair and other services.

2. The next tip is to hire only that company which provides you several services and does not specialize in only one. For example, your roofing company must be able to repair, install, maintain and service your roof and also fulfill other roofing related requirements like solving leakage problem and suggesting solutions to other issues.

3. The roofing company should be willing to suggest numerous roofing options like metal, slate, shingle, asphalt and flat roofing etc. You should have many options of materials and qualities to pick from because the material of the roof is an important aspect which must not be compromised on.

4. For whatever material you choose, for example if you go for metal roofing, the company must offer several designs, patterns and style options. This is another important tip which will help you select the best roofing service provider or installation company.

5. Last but not the least, your commercial company must be willing to offer services of metal roofing etc. at affordable prices and only after a free estimation of cost. If the service provider does not offer emergency services, then you should probably consider some other option because this too is an important point which will help you in the case of unexpected leakage or random roof related problems.

Now that you know how to select a commercial roofing service provider, you must not waste any more time and try to contact one now. Make sure your service provider does not charge you more than the required amount and this can be done by comparing prices of a few companies.