How to Manage the Buyout Process as a Construction Project Manager

Read 7 min

In this blog, we’re going to explore a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of construction project management: the buyout process. This phase is vital as it supports your procurement efforts and sets the stage for successful project execution. By following these 10 steps, you can ensure a remarkable buyout process for your project. 

What is Buyout in Construction?

In case you’re wondering what buyout is, it involves hiring trade partners to execute specific tasks. These partners are then responsible for purchasing materials, completing submittals, and ensuring the right information is available for fabrication and delivery. The buyout process is about securing the right trade partners to bring labor, tools, equipment, and experience to the work package.

  1. Pre-Buyout Planning

Start with thorough pre-buyout planning. Complete your budget and ensure it is vetted and comprehensive. Prepare your bid package, including the budget, schedule, logistics, project information, scope, contract documents, plans, and specs. This preparation is essential for attracting top-notch trade partners.

  1. Preparing Your Bid Package Professionally

Gather all necessary drawings, specs, scopes of work, and contract terms. Identify and pre-qualify potential trade partners and suppliers, ensuring your bid packages are sent to those who meet your criteria.

  1. Bid Solicitation

Send out the bid packages, providing clear instructions and deadlines. Conduct pre-bid meetings and site walks as necessary to ensure potential trade partners understand the project requirements.

  1. Bid Analysis and Evaluation

Carefully analyze and evaluate each bid proposal. Ensure the trade partners meet pre-qualification standards and that their information is accurate. Evaluate both qualifications and price to make informed decisions.

  1. Trade Partner Selection

Distinguish between trades that require extensive meetings and those that do not. For crucial trades like concrete, exterior, elevators, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, framing, casework, and flooring, conduct thorough interviews and discussions before making selections.

  1. Preparing for an Executed Contract

Once a trade partner is selected based on best value, prepare the contract with all inclusions and exclusions. Negotiate to ensure a complete scope and get the contractor to sign the contract.

  1. Importance of Having a Kickoff Meeting

Conduct a kickoff meeting with the selected trade partner, covering pre-mobilization requirements such as submittals, quality plans, safety plans, and emergency contacts. This meeting sets clear expectations before work begins.

  1. Starting the Procurement Phase

Immediately begin the procurement phase. Assist the trade partner in breaking down submittal packages to ensure timely approval and issuance of purchase orders. Align procurement with the project’s critical dates and the material inventory buffer.

  1. Monitoring Inclusions & Exclusions

Throughout the project, monitor the trade partners to ensure they adhere to the contract’s inclusions and exclusions. Provide feedback to the business development, estimating, and pre-construction teams to improve future projects.

  1. Importance of Documenting Everything

Ensure all contracts, insurance, and compliance items are thoroughly documented and reviewed. Do not start work until all pre-qualifications and compliance items are 100% complete. Documentation is key to covering all bases and ensuring project success.

The Key to a Successful Buyout Process

The key to a successful buyout process is to meticulously work backward from your work package, identifying the supply chain steps and ensuring timely material delivery. Track this process with a log or software, and review insurance in weekly team meetings. Being proactive with buyout is crucial for starting the project on time.

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

What Does A Director Of Lean Do In Construction?

Read 18 min

What does the Director of Lean do in construction?

This position can be a game-changer if we do it right. So should we have a Director of Lean? And if so, what do they do? And what is the biggest mistake that you can make in this role? That’s what we’re going to cover in this video. 

Input from Lean Industry Experts

I reached out to two of my favorite homies in the Lean industry, Jen Lacey and Felipe Engineer, and I asked them, “What does a Director of Lean do in a company?” They gave me some wonderful notes right away, like one-piece flow. I think I got the text back in three seconds. It was well thought out, beautifully articulated, and in a list that I could really do something with. We’re going to present that here.

What Directors of Lean Will NOT Do

But first, I want to say what Directors of Lean will NOT do. The Director of Lean will not just do work for the leadership team in a delegated manner. Meaning, if I’m the owner of a company, the wrong way to do this is to say, “Oh, here’s this Lean thing, there are Lean tools, we better get on the bus with this whole Lean concept. We need to sell it in an interview. So I’ll hire a Director of Lean to take care of that. I’ve delegated it, it’s off in the distance somewhere, we’re good.” That is the wrong thing to do.

So, if you’re going to hire a Director of Lean, you should, in my opinion, expect to be coached, expect to learn it yourself as a leadership team, because the leadership team itself will lead the company in a certain way. And that way must be the Lean way, or else anything you do below that won’t really matter. So if you want a Lean company, have a Lean leadership team.

And again, the Lean leader or the Director of Lean will not do Lean for the team. The Director of Lean will broker resources and training and enable the leadership team to have three things:

  1. The knowledge of how Lean is done, or what it is.
  2. The motivation and inspiration to get it done.
  3. The circumstances, training, and opportunities to form a Lean leadership or executive team that will trickle down, or over as I like to say, to everyone else in the organization.

So if you’re going to hire a Director of Lean, make sure that you’re ready to learn and be coached.

Important Analogy to Understand When Hiring a Director of Lean

Before I move on, I will remind you of the analogy of the Safety Engineer or the Safety Manager position in construction. It’s really fresh on my mind because I just flew into Salt Lake City, came through the airport, and stood behind people on moving walkways.

Having a Safety Engineer, like I said in a previous video, or in this case, the Director of Lean, and not pairing with them is like getting on a moving walkway in an airport and standing there and being in front of everyone else. It’s super annoying. The moving walkway is there to propel you forward as you walk yourself; it’s supposed to double your speed. You’re not supposed to stand on it because if you stand on it, you’ll be going slower than if you were walking.

So the same thing, if on a project site, the Safety Engineers are the only ones in charge of safety and the project team’s like, “Yeah, they’ve got it,” then you’re actually going slower with safety than if you’re walking or working on it yourself with them. Same thing with the Director of Lean. If you’re like, “Hey, they’re here to help, they’ve got it,” it’s like standing on a moving walkway. Now you’re going slower than if you were walking yourself. The point is, have your own effort, walk forward with that added propulsion, and you’ll be going double the speed. Do not delegate it to the Director of Lean; do it together with them.

What is Lean in Construction?

So let’s cover briefly what is Lean in construction. Well, number one, it’s respect for people and resources, which means that your company or your organization has a fundamental respect for people, for who they are, and caring for them at a fundamental level.

Number two, it means that we in our environments will 5S and reduce waste, overburden, and unevenness, and create stability throughout the organization.

Number three, it means that we’re committed to one-piece flow and flow in everything that we do. And for that, we use visual systems with total participation, meaning that we don’t just have a couple of people doing something, we have the entire project, the entire department, the entire company doing it, all working together, seeing as a group, knowing as a group, and acting as a group.

Number four, the team, the department, or the organization, or all of them together, are committed to delivering a quality product.

And then number five, they’re able to, from that system, continuously improve because now they have respect for people. They have stability, they have flow, they have everybody working together, and they can all see together and they’re focused on quality, so they will naturally make improvements.

So that is Lean in construction. And so, yes, there are ways that you can encourage your business to respect people. Yes, there are ways that you can actually go out and help create stability on projects and implement 5S and teach people about the eight ways. Yes, you can implement scheduling systems and encourage more flow in the organization. And yes, you can focus on quality and continuous improvement, but it will not come unless everyone is participating together.

So a Director of Lean will not mostly do things; they will mostly build Lean people who then build Lean projects. So it’s all about being with, focusing on, and working through people.

Steps for an Effective Lean Director

Alright, and so there are seven steps. And this isn’t everything, but seven main steps that a Lean Director must follow if they want to be effective:

  1. Provide Training Throughout the Organization: That means that the Director of Lean should have really, really great training themselves, and really understand it at a fundamental level. And hopefully, and I feel pretty strongly about this, have implemented it themselves and know what they’re talking about, and then coach and train throughout the organization so that they can, again, work through people.
  2. Coaching: Once the training has been given, people really want to experiment on their own, right? So the Director of Lean will provide coaching as they go because the method for training people is called the EDGE method. You explain it right in the training, demonstrate it in the training, but then they get to do it themselves, where you guide them through it and enable them to do it on their own. So they will need both training for the first two steps and coaching for the latter two. So remember: explain, demonstrate, guide, enable. It’s one thing to show somebody something, but it’s another thing to actually show them and guide them through doing it themselves.
  3. Support: As your folks, as a Lean Director, are experimenting and implementing, either at the leadership team level or at the department level or on the project site level, they’re going to need support. They’re going to have trouble. I think everyone’s first paths in implementing Lean tools and systems and processes and cultures with people probably fail because we’re all new to it, right? I did, and I think you will too. So having someone there to support you and encourage you is huge on this Lean journey as a Lean Director.
  4. Build Culture: And maybe I should have started with this, but you are a culture builder. What I mean by that is actually like walk the walk and talk the talk and believe in these things, and start to infuse that into the culture of the organization. The culture of the organization is determined by what people believe, right? Through training and coaching, right, and their actions, which is what they’re doing, their habits, their processes, right? So if you are shaping people’s beliefs, right, through consent, obviously, and through training and coaching and mentoring, and you are shaping actions just by demonstrating them and forming habits, you know, “Hey, let’s do plus deltas at the end of the meeting. Hey, let’s have open discussions. Hey, let’s start doing pull planning on projects. Hey, let’s start working on one-piece flow, one-process flow,” using those micro-actions wherever possible to start shaping a Lean culture is huge and one of your main responsibilities.
  5. Anchor Projects: Once you’ve started doing the training, coaching, mentoring, and you now have started building a culture, we need some proof for everyone in the organization. So this is what I recommend: have an anchor project or anchor projects where you have high-performing team members that are all bought in and want to do this, where you’re going to help and provide a lot of that training, coaching, and mentoring for that project team, even, and don’t be mad at me, even more so than some of your other job sites so that they can actually do it themselves. And then you can showcase it, and they feel like they are the heroes. That is when this is going to start to scale because then step number six, you’re going to become their agent.
  6. Become Their Agent: And what I mean by that is you’re going to show off their work. You’re going to take pictures, you’re going to take videos, you’re going to walk people through, and you’re going to make that project team popular and proud of what they’ve done. Then people are going to think, “Oh, I want that too.” Then you’re going to help them, and then you’re going to become their agent and make them popular, and they’re going to be so proud. And then it’s going to scale and scale and scale and scale.

On we go!

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

How To Calculate Average Training Cost Per Employee

Read 6 min

Introduction: Do you want to know the real cost for training your employees? I think you’ll want to know. Today, we’ll discuss the importance of training, how much should be spent on employees, and the formula to calculate the cost. We’ll also highlight some common pitfalls in the industry. 

Biggest Problems in Construction:

  1. Lack of Proper Planning: Projects are not planned well enough, and people are not given enough time.
  2. Using Incorrect Systems: Many projects do not utilize the right systems.
  3. Insufficient Training: Companies are not training their people adequately anymore.

Over the years, training budgets have not grown proportionally with the companies’ revenues. This leads to higher risks and insufficient training for the growing workforce.

Minimum Training Required: Every employee in your business needs a minimum of two solid weeks of training each year. That’s 80 hours or 10 working days. Additionally, you should be spending at least $1,500 per year per employee on external training.

Investing in Training: Especially for higher-level roles like superintendents or project managers, the investment in training increases significantly. Training costs can range from $3,000 to $30,000 per year for these positions due to the complexity and responsibility of their roles.

Calculating the Cost of Not Training: Here’s the formula to calculate how much not training your employees is costing you:

  1. Take the amount of work they are responsible for.
  2. Multiply it by 0.5.
  3. Multiply by the percentage that represents the training they are not receiving (e.g., if they need 10 units of training but receive only 4, use 0.6).
  4. Divide by the number of people on the team.

Example Calculations:

  • Assistant Superintendent: Responsible for $20 million worth of work, lacking 80% of necessary training, and with 5 people on the team. 20,000,000×0.5×0.8÷5=1.6 million20,000,000 \times 0.5 \times 0.8 \div 5 = 1.6 \ 20,000,000×0.5×0.8÷5=1.6 million
  • Project Manager: Responsible for a $100 million project, lacking 40% of necessary training, with 15 people on the team. 100,000,000×0.5×0.4÷15=1.3 million100,000,000 \times 0.5 \times 0.4 \div 15 = 1.3 \100,000,000×0.5×0.4÷15=1.3 million

Impact of Insufficient Training: Not training employees properly can lead to significant financial losses. Projects often experience budget overruns and delays, which can be mitigated by investing in proper training.

Final Thoughts: If you think it’s expensive to train employees and worry they might leave, consider how expensive it will be if you don’t train them and they stay. Investing in training is crucial for preventing costly mistakes and ensuring project success.

Resources: For more details on specific training requirements for roles like superintendents, check out the linked resources provided.

I hope this information has been insightful and has highlighted the importance of investing in employee training.

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

What Is A Punch List In Construction?

Read 7 min

Why does everyone hate it? And what can you do to get around it for a better experience? These are common questions, and today we’re going to dive into them. Let’s talk about what a punch list is and why it’s often disliked in the construction industry. Plus, I’ll share some tips on how to handle it more effectively. 

What Is a Punch List in Construction?

A punch list is created when crews have completed their work in a room or area, and it’s close to being finished. The contractor, and sometimes the architects and owners, will inspect the area and note items that are not done or not up to standards. Essentially, it’s a list of deficiencies that need to be addressed before the project is considered complete.

Why Are Punch Lists Disliked?

1. Time-Consuming Process

Punch lists are often seen as a waste of time. After identifying issues, various steps follow:

  • Superintendents, field engineers, and project engineers inspect and note deficiencies.
  • Issues are photographed, described, and uploaded to a software system.
  • The list is sent to trade partners, who then have to address the issues.
  • Trade partners review, mobilize workers, fix issues, take updated pictures, and close items in the app.
  • Superintendents verify the fixes, upload confirmations, and notify stakeholders.

This process can involve 15 to 60 additional steps per item, adding significant time and effort.

2. Over-Processing

Punch lists identify defects after the fact, rather than addressing them in real-time. This is considered over-processing and leads to additional wastes such as motion, transportation, waiting, and not utilizing the genius of the team.

3. Inefficiency

Defects noted on punch lists require workers to return to previously completed areas, disrupting the workflow and increasing project duration.

What Can You Do Instead?

1. Pre-Construction Meetings and Quality Checklists

Conduct thorough pre-construction meetings and use quality checklists to ensure everyone knows the standards and expectations from the start. This proactive approach can prevent many issues from arising.

2. Zone Control Walks

Perform regular inspections, known as zone control walks, to catch defects early. Collaborate with foremen and workers to address issues immediately, while they are still on-site with their tools and materials.

3. Continuous Inspection

Use a system where superintendents and field engineers continuously inspect work against the quality checklist. This ensures real-time corrections and reduces the need for punch lists.

4. Use Visual Management

Implement visual management tools, like painters tape, to mark defects clearly. This allows workers to quickly identify and fix issues on the spot.

5. Implement Flow-Based Systems

Adopt flow-based systems like the Takt Production System, which organizes work in a continuous and efficient manner, reducing the chances of defects and rework.

6. Train and Empower Workers

Train workers to identify and fix defects as they go, fostering a culture of quality and accountability. Empowering them to take ownership of their work can significantly reduce punch list items.

Conclusion

While punch lists are sometimes necessary, they are often a sign of inefficiency and poor planning. By adopting proactive measures such as pre-construction meetings, quality checklists, zone control walks, continuous inspections, visual management, and flow-based systems, you can minimize the need for punch lists and enhance project efficiency.

I hope you found this helpful and are motivated to implement these strategies on your projects. Remember, the goal is to finish work right the first time, reducing the need for punch lists and saving countless hours. Let’s work smarter, not harder. On we go!

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

What Is The Critical Path Method?

Read 8 min

You’ve probably heard about the critical path method (CPM) in construction, but what exactly is it? And why do I, Jason, sometimes get after it? Should you be using it, and what should you know about it from a realistic data standpoint? We’re going to cover that right now. 

What Is the Critical Path Method in Construction?

The Critical Path Method (CPM) is a technique used to identify the tasks necessary for project completion and to determine your schedule and flexibilities. In project management, the critical path is the longest sequence of activities that must be finished on time for the overall project to be completed on schedule.

How to Create a CPM Schedule

Here’s a step-by-step guide to building a CPM schedule:

1. Specify Each Activity

First, name each activity properly using verbs and nouns. Ensure you have the right duration for each task, confirmed with trade partners and from historical data and production rates. This step involves inputting all activities into your scheduling software.

2. Identify Activity Dependencies

Next, identify the dependencies between activities. This creates your activity sequence. In your software, or by hand, you’ll draw the logic ties (e.g., start-to-start, finish-to-start, start-to-finish) to link activities in the proper sequence.

3. Draw the Network Diagram

Link all activities through their logic ties to create a network diagram. If you’re using software, this is usually presented in a Gantt format or as a precedence diagram, making it easier to see dependencies.

4. Estimate Completion Time

Estimate the completion time for your entire network or schedule. Ensure the durations fit within the overall project timeline.

5. Identify the Critical Path

Using an algorithm, your software will identify the longest path of activities, considering all logic ties and durations. This longest path becomes your critical path, and it’s crucial because any delays here will delay the entire project. Other paths will have float (project float and free float), indicating how much they can shift before becoming critical.

6. Update the Diagram

Regularly update your schedule to track progress, identify problems, and create recovery schedules. Monitoring the critical path and the success of your project is key.

The Purpose of the Critical Path Method

CPM is designed to create an overall network of activities with a critical path to identify start and end milestones and to confirm that these milestones can be met within the schedule. However, there are practical challenges to using CPM effectively.

Common Problems with the Critical Path Method

1. Complexity

CPM schedules can be complex, giving a false sense of security. Initial schedules are rarely correct, and the project team must see and correct the plan.

2. Accessibility

These schedules are often detailed and lengthy, making them hard to read and understand. Trade partners, workers, and foremen may not engage with them, leading to a disconnect.

3. Flow Issues

CPM schedules can disrupt the essential trade flow, stacking trades on top of each other, which is impractical and leads to incorrect critical paths and durations.

4. Difficulty in Updating

Updating a CPM schedule can be cumbersome due to the number of activities and logic ties, often leading to outdated schedules that don’t reflect the field’s reality.

5. Potential for Abuse by Owners

Owners may misuse CPM schedules to deny claims and push contractors, causing a chain reaction of stress and inefficiency throughout the project team.

Important Reminders When Using the Critical Path Method

If you must use CPM, here are some crucial points:

  • Ensure proper trade flow and phase planning.
  • Include buffers to account for inevitable delays.
  • Make sure the entire team understands the plan, which is challenging with traditional CPM.

For a more effective approach, consider alternative scheduling methods like the Takt Production System, Last Planner, and Scrum. These methods can help you meet contract requirements while maintaining project efficiency.

If you need help transitioning away from CPM or using it more effectively, I offer free assistance to show you and your contractors how to run schedules without the downsides of CPM.

Check out the blog post linked below to learn more about construction scheduling and how you can improve your project management practices. Let’s work together to make your projects smoother and more successful.

I hope you’ve found this blog post informative. On we go!

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

What Are The Duties And Responsibilities Of Construction Workers?

Read 8 min

Congratulations on choosing a career as a construction worker! It’s a fantastic path with many opportunities. But what do you do now? How do you excel in your role and set yourself up for success from the start? Stay with us as we break down the essential steps and tips for thriving in this profession. 

Step 1: Importance of Paying Attention to Your Orientation

The first thing you’ll encounter is an orientation, whether you’re in a shop or on a project site. Pay close attention during this time. Understand the standards, rules, and expectations laid out. Agree to follow them and make a commitment to adhere to these guidelines as you begin your work.

Step 2: Bringing Your Expertise to the Job

Your expertise is invaluable. Never do something just because you were told, especially if it seems wrong. Uphold moral, ethical, and safety standards. You’re a skilled craftsperson with a vast set of skills and experiences. Bring this knowledge to the table, speak up, and share your opinions. Your input is crucial.

Step 3: Importance of Maintaining Respect in the Workplace

Respect is a two-way street. Ensure your work environment has good facilities, like clean bathrooms and a nice lunch area. If it’s not a respectful and safe environment, don’t hesitate to leave. Conversely, treat a good work environment with the respect it deserves. Don’t damage property or create messes. Respecting your workspace means respecting your fellow workers.

Step 4: Having Proper Resources & Training

Ensure you have the right training and equipment for your job. Never perform tasks without the necessary tools and knowledge. It’s not about working slowly but about working safely and effectively. Demand the right resources to do your job well and don’t compromise on safety or quality.

Step 5: Maintaining Safety in the Workplace

Always know the safety expectations before starting any task. Understand the risks and have a plan to mitigate them. Your health and safety are paramount. You have one body, and you need to get home safely every day.

Step 6: Knowing Quality Expectations

We’re in the customer service business. Understand the quality expectations before beginning your work. It’s like being in a restaurant; you need to know what the customer wants. Deliver what is asked for with precision and care.

Step 7: Maintaining the 5S in Your Area

Adopt the 5S methodology: Sort, Straighten, Sweep or Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. Keep your environment clean, organized, and safe. An organized workspace reflects your professionalism and enhances your productivity and safety.

Other Important Reminders for Construction Workers

  1. Be Honest and Ethical: Always adhere to company standards and do the right thing.
  2. Show Up on Time: Punctuality is a sign of reliability and respect.
  3. Stay Sober and Professional: Never come to work intoxicated or engage in harassment or discrimination.
  4. Be an Ideal Team Player: Be humble, hungry, and smart. Collaborate well with your team, work hard, and maintain good interpersonal skills.

How to Be an Ideal Team Player

An ideal team player is:

  • Humble: Ready to take on any task honestly and ethically.
  • Hungry: Eager to work hard and progress.
  • Smart: Good with people and fits well into the team dynamic.

Importance of Always Planning Your Work

Never start a task without a plan. Think about the steps, necessary tools, and how to execute safely. Proper planning ensures efficiency and safety.

How to Build Your Work Right

Quality matters. Do it right the first time. Avoid rushing and ensure your work is completed with high standards.

How to Finish as You Go

Complete tasks thoroughly before moving on. Inspect your work, clean up, and ensure everything is in order. This approach leads to higher productivity and fewer errors.

By following these steps, you’ll set yourself up for success in your construction career. You’ll be well on your way to higher levels of leadership and better earnings. Remember, it’s about forming the right disciplines and being remarkable in your role.

For more insights and steps on progressing to roles like a foreman, consider reading “Elevating Construction Foreman.” This book provides not only the basics but also advanced strategies for career growth. Additionally, use a scorecard for workers as a checklist to ensure you’re performing exceptionally.

I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful. On we go!

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

The Role of a Project Manager in Construction Planning

Read 7 min

In this blog, we’ll explore the specific steps a project manager takes when approaching planning on a construction project. While I’ve discussed the details of the planning process in previous posts, this blog will focus on your role as a project manager. With so many responsibilities, it’s crucial to know where to zoom in and how to balance duties between you, the superintendent, and other stakeholders. Let’s dive in. 

  1. Overseeing Project Scope Definition

As a project manager, you must ensure you thoroughly understand the project scope, the owner’s expectations, and the conditions of satisfaction. During the pre-construction phase, your role involves:

  • Creating a proposal and interview plan.
  • Setting up a macro-level Takt plan and overall project strategy during the concept and schematic design phase.
  • Conducting real-time budgeting, constructability reviews, and scheduling during design development.
  • Ensuring all deliverables are vetted and finalizing the Prime agreement before the notice to proceed (NTP).

Your primary responsibility throughout these phases is to ensure the team captures the complete project scope.

  1. Brokering Project Resources

You’ll broker the necessary resources to put together the project plan at various stages:

  • Using VDC resources and general superintendent perspectives during the proposal phase.
  • Involving builders, superintendents, assistant supers, general foremen, and early design assist trade partners during design development.

Ensure all planning documents, such as the Takt plan, logistics plan, zone maps, and risk and opportunity register, are developed to provide real-time information.

  1. Reviewing General Conditions and Requirements

You must align the general conditions and requirements with the overall project duration and strategy. This involves:

  • Reflecting the overall duration in general conditions and requirements.
  • Incorporating special needs and budget considerations into the project scope and pricing.
  1. Anchoring Development Plans to Other Projects and Mitigating Risks

As the team develops the production plan, you’ll anchor it to other projects and help identify and mitigate risks. This involves:

  • Conducting reviews and iterations to identify and abate risks.
  • Curating experiences and facilitating feedback to refine the plan.
  1. Aligning the Supply Chains

Throughout the project planning phase, you’ll align supply chains and procurement with the overall plan. This involves:

  • Working backward from phase start dates to determine buffer times, delivery times, fabrication times, and overall lead times.
  • Managing submittal and buyout timelines to ensure timely procurement.
  1. Managing Project Resources

As a project manager, you’ll continuously broker resources throughout the project. This includes:

  • Procuring VDC and marketing help during the concept and schematic design phase.
  • Conducting conceptual estimates and comparing initial plans with other projects.
  • Ensuring the team has the necessary software, trade partners, services, third-party reviews, and other resources.
  1. Overseeing Quality Planning

Quality planning ensures the project meets the owner’s requirements. Examples include:

  • Allocating time for high-quality installations, such as exposed concrete columns with type III cement.
  • Considering specific forming systems and plywood types for exposed concrete edges.
  1. Ensuring Plans Are Visually Formatted

Ensure that all plans are visually formatted and accessible on screens or walls. This helps stakeholders understand and engage with the planning process.

  1. Keeping Stakeholders Informed

Keep stakeholders informed and ensure the plan is in a format they understand. Regular briefings and visual formats help maintain clear communication.

  1. Securing Necessary Permissions and Approvals

Ensure all necessary permissions and approvals are in place. This includes:

  • Obtaining permits and financial approvals.
  • Ensuring the work can flow properly without delays.

These ten items may seem extensive, but they are crucial for effective project management. Implement these steps during the pre-construction phase to ensure a smooth planning process.

I hope this blog helps you understand where to focus in the planning process. If you found this content valuable, please like and subscribe, and share this blog to help others.

 

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

How Construction Project Managers work with Their Clients

Read 7 min

I once heard a quote that said, “Superintendents see the future, and project managers read the owner’s mind.” I love this sentiment, and in this blog, we’re going to discuss how you can develop a strong relationship with your primary interface: the client. We’ll cover the most important things to focus on, the mindset you should have, and how to avoid common pitfalls. Let’s dive in with 10 key considerations that will help you avoid these pitfalls and change your paradigm. 

My Experience Working with A Remarkable Project Manager

Let me tell you a story that reflects the importance of understanding a client’s perspective. I once worked with a university in Tucson, and the project manager from their construction group was absolutely fantastic—one of the best I’ve ever worked with. She was very particular about every detail, from the color of the screen on the fence to the paperwork’s precision. Initially, I felt overwhelmed and victimized by these demands, constantly complaining behind closed doors.

One day, the director of construction sat me down and said, “Jason, we need you to see things like we see them. Take on our perspective, care about what we care about, and understand our struggles.” This conversation was a turning point for me. I realized I was an extension of their team, and I had to change my paradigm. Instead of feeling annoyed and victimized, I began to think about why they made certain requests and how I could support them as part of their team.

How To Find the Right Perspective As A Project Manager

It’s crucial to shift your mindset from feeling victimized to understanding and supporting your client. Even if their requests seem illogical, consider why they are asking and what they care about. This approach helps you avoid conflict and fosters a collaborative environment.

Tips for Developing Client Relationships

Here are some tips to help you develop a strong relationship with your clients:

  1. Importance Of Having Clear Communication
  • Use text messages, phone calls, clear pictures, and emails.
  • Provide regular updates, such as weekly newsletters.
  • Inform the client of any problems in real-time.
  1. Importance Of Establishing Trust & Building Relationships
  • Trust doesn’t happen magically; it requires effort.
  • Organize team-building activities, such as pre-flight kickoff meetings.
  • Continuously check in on set goals to maintain trust.
  1. Importance Of Understanding the Client’s Vision & Requirements
  • Know the client’s conditions of satisfaction and project goals.
  • Identify and prioritize the client’s top concerns, also known as the owner’s top 10.
  • Regularly review and display these priorities to ensure alignment.
  1. Importance Of Flexibility & Adaptability
  • Be nimble and adaptable to the client’s changing needs.
  • Collaborate on finding practical solutions to their requests.
  1. Importance Of Quality Assurance & Quality Control
  • Deliver a high-quality product to win over the client.
  • Follow stringent quality assurance and control processes.
  1. Importance Of Proper Budget & Schedule Management
  • Keep budgets and schedules up to date.
  • Present these documents in an understandable format, highlighting key points.
  1. Importance Of Proper Risk Management
  • Proactively identify and manage project risks.
  • Keep the client informed about risk mitigation strategies.
  1. Importance Of Client Involvement
  • Include clients in decision-making processes.
  • Ensure they feel involved and valued to avoid contention.
  1. Importance Of Healthy Conflict Resolution
  • Address conflicts professionally and constructively.
  • Focus on finding win-win solutions to maintain a positive relationship.
  1. Importance Of Post Project Assistance
  • Provide thorough support during the move-in phase.
  • Maintain a helpful presence even after project completion.

 

Ultimately, what’s important is to understand and connect with your clients. Just as you engage with this blog, knowing how to connect with your clients is crucial for success.

I hope this blog helps you develop strong relationships with your clients and enhances your project management skills.

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

What should construction Project Managers be Reporting?

Read 6 min

Welcome to another insightful blog post, where we delve into the crucial elements that construction project managers should be reporting on. Keeping your job site under control, satisfying stakeholders, and providing proper updates are essential for project success. So, what should you be focusing on? Let’s dive in. 

The Era of Administration and Wasteful Documents

We’ve all experienced the overwhelming burden of excessive documentation in the construction industry. This era of administration creates a lot of waste, not just in paper but in time and resources. The aim here is to help you eliminate unnecessary reports and focus on what truly matters.

  1. Team Health: How to Track Your Team Health

Tracking your team’s health is pivotal. Katie and I are currently writing a book, “Elevating Construction First Planners,” where we emphasize the importance of team health. Here’s a simple method:

  • Define criteria for team health (balance, coverage, fun events, connections).
  • Use tools like Excel to create a survey for your team.
  • Aggregate and analyze the scores, and address areas scoring below 80%.

For instance, if your team feels overburdened with RFIs and change orders, take actionable steps to alleviate these pressures. Regularly track and discuss team health during your meetings.

  1. Production Plan: How to Track Your Production Plan

A well-maintained production plan is the backbone of your project’s success. Here’s what to focus on:

  • Buffers: Ensure you’re not more than halfway through your buffers halfway through the project.
  • Handoffs: Track the percentage of successful trade handoffs.
  • Roadblocks: Keep a roadblock tracker and work daily to remove obstacles.
  • Risks: Monitor anticipated risks and address them weekly.
  1. Supply Chain Management: How to Track Your Supply Chain Management

Efficient supply chain management is critical. Here’s how to track it:

  • Ensure design completion ahead of the production plan.
  • Release trade partners promptly to procure necessary materials.
  • Track procurement steps from release to arrival on the job site.
  • Verify deliveries for timely and accurate receipt.
  1. Deliveries: How to Track Your Deliveries

Monitor the delivery process to ensure materials arrive on time and are inspected and ready for use. This minimizes delays and ensures smooth workflow.

  1. Job Site Conditions: How to Track Your Project Site Conditions

Maintain a clean, safe, and organized job site. During OAC meetings, prepare a slide deck with pictures showcasing cleanliness, safety, and progress. This not only keeps the team motivated but also demonstrates your commitment to excellence to stakeholders.

  1. Training for Your Team: How to Track Training for Your Team

Regular training is vital for team competency. Track:

  • Daily, monthly, and quarterly training sessions.
  • Yearly big training events.
  • Certifications and boot camps attendance.

Ensuring your team is well-trained will significantly impact your project’s success. These key areas of reporting and tracking will make a significant difference in your project management effectiveness.

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

What Is the Biggest Delay in Construction?

Read 7 min

In this blog, I’m going to talk about one of the biggest delays that you all probably experience: the delay of not having materials on time. I will discuss the truth about what’s going on with material procurement, the delays, and ways to properly manage it. The content you’re about to read is something you’ve likely never heard before, so stay with us! 

What Is Systems Thinking?

Before diving into the details, I want to introduce a book called “The Fifth Discipline” by Peter Senge. The author talks about systems thinking, which posits that individual components, thoughts, ideas, processes, changes, and solutions are not the ultimate answer. Instead, everything in life is a complex system.

What Causes Delays & Overproduction in the Supply Chain

There’s an example in the book where Senge talks about a beer game to illustrate the impact of variation. In the game, suppliers and retailers deal with a popular beer. Initially, everyone orders a reasonable amount, but as demand spikes, they start over-ordering. Suppliers can’t meet the sudden surge in orders, leading to backlogs and eventually overproduction once the capacity catches up. By the time the suppliers fulfill the excessive orders, demand has already dropped, leading to wasted inventory.

This scenario reflects real-world supply chain issues, such as those exacerbated by the reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic. The panic ordering caused similar disruptions in the construction supply chains.

How Our Reaction Affects the Supply Chain

Our reactions to crises can significantly impact supply chains. Panic ordering during COVID-19 mirrored the beer game scenario, causing instability and delays. To work collaboratively in a system where many contractors use the same suppliers, stability and appropriately sized orders are crucial.

Important Mindset to Have to Avoid Delays in the Supply Chain

From a mindset standpoint, it’s essential to maintain stability and place appropriate, right-sized orders in a timely manner. This involves proper submittals and responsible ordering practices. Vendors are already aware of the common issues in the industry, such as premature ordering and over-ordering, leading to longer lead times and higher costs.

How to Minimize Waste & Simplify the Material Procurement Process

Most suggestions here are inspired by the book “Built to Fail” by Todd Zabel. Here are some actionable tips:

  1. Reduce Unnecessary Paperwork and Bureaucracy: Streamline the process from design to material order, ensuring accuracy and minimal waste.
  2. Value Stream Management: Visualize the flow of materials and information to identify value-added and non-value-added steps. Eliminate unnecessary steps and streamline necessary but non-value-added activities like transportation.

Benefits of Creating Strategic Partnerships with Vendors

Form strategic partnerships with vendors to reduce lead times and improve cycle times. Consistency and strong relationships can support project success and mitigate delays.

Important Concepts to Understand in Construction

Understanding the difference between lead time and cycle time is crucial. The lead time is the overall duration to get a product, while the cycle time is the actual production time, which may be much shorter. Identifying the reasons for delays—whether due to market instability or production backlogs—helps solve the root problems.

Important Reminders to Avoid Material Procurement Delays

Most material procurement delays result from not starting early enough, not managing consistently, and not delving into the details. To recover from such delays, start early, identify the value stream, manage lead times, and continuously monitor the process.

Remember, balancing inventory is key: neither too much nor too little. Right-size by managing early, understanding the value stream, and continually assessing lead times.

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!