Archive for the ‘Project Management’ Category

Welcome Back Joe Morris!

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Welcome back decorations and "varmints" provided by his co-workers.

We want to welcome back our colleague, Joe Morris, who has spent the past year doing the CPM scheduling for one of our clients at the Detroit Heavy Oil Upgrade Project (DHOUP) for the Marathon Petroleum Company.  He better be careful…. you never know what kind of varmints may have moved into his space while he was off exploring new job sites.

Tucker Elliott travels to Qatar & Amman

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Tucker Elliott just got back from his trip to Amman, Jordan and Doha, Qatar. The Amman trip was a quarterly meeting for VNI’s Rotana Hotel Project in Baghdad, where we are the Owners’ Reps. He then went to Qatar to discuss possible work on upcoming projects, as there is a great deal of new construction occurring all over the region. 

Tucker also had the opportunity to learn more about Ramadan, which was being observed at that time. He took part in Iftar (the breaking of the daily fast) and got to try some fantastic local dishes and juice drinks. His favorite of the drinks was “Jallab”, a mixture of date juice with rose water topped with pine nuts.     Google it!

Clearly August is a tough time to go to Qatar, as the temperature was over 106 degrees F with extremely high humidity! Although Qatar is a desert environment, it is located on the Persian Gulf and is incredibly humid.

All in all, an exciting trip into an expanding world.

Richard Leach Becomes a Principal Owner

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

We are pleased to announce that Richard P. Leach has become a principal owner of VN Services, Inc. and VN International LLC.

Mr. Leach has been with VN since 1988, and is Vice President of Project Control & Support.  Mr. Leach has played a significant role in helping VN emerge as a growing leader in global project management consulting services, with major projects underway in Canada, the Middle East and the United States.

5 Steps to Help Construction Management Companies Keep pace with a Changing World

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

We often hear construction management companies say they have a hard time instituting much needed changes. Why do organizations struggle to implement such changes, changes that would be beneficial? In most cases they are trying to change actions rather than behavior; treating the symptoms rather than curing the disease.

Change is difficult because it requires us to move from a realm of comfort to embracing the unknown. Human nature is to avoid change in favor of the status quo, even when the current situation is less than ideal.

How can change be facilitated? Begin with a simple process of action:

  1. Communicate
  2. Implement
  3. Reinforce
  4. Be Accountable
  5. Measure

Communicate why the change is needed and demonstrate how it will benefit each individual and the organization. This is essential. Understand that change requires participation and buy in within the organization is important. It will be far more effective to engage individuals in the change process rather than to dictate the process to them.

Implement: Don’t try to change the entire organization at once. Begin with a change strategy that will be relatively easy to implement. Execute the change on a small scale to set an example. This will introduce the change and establish a foundation on which to build. Then develop action steps that will gradually expand the scope of change as the process is accepted and embraced.

Reinforce: Show that the organization is committed to the change process. Reinforce and celebrate desired behaviors so each individual Change requires us to move from a realm of comfort to embracing the unknown.

Be Accountable: Empower people to initiate beneficial change and hold employees accountable for their participation. Nurture an environment of continuous improvement and support the process at all levels. Every employee should be held accountable and recognized for his or her contribution to the change process. 

Measure: Finally, establish a metric. In order to know how the change process is going, determine benchmarks for success. Use these to evaluate the change process, and then commend improved performance and progress. This will convey to the employees that the results from changes implemented have been successful and will continue as a part of the company’s culture.

In summary:

  • Communicate to the entire company
  • Implement change on a small scale
  • Reinforce the desired behavior
  • Hold employees accountable for participating
  • Measure the results

For the full article Keeping pace with a changing world by Tom Williams, please visit this link.

For more articles about Construction Management, please visit this link.

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Using Punch Lists to close out a Construction Project

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

In the construction industry a contractor has to deal with many stresses such as time and budget when trying to close out a construction project. Punch lists are great tools that can make the closing procedures of a project go smoother. A punch list is a record that is comprised of all of the minor activities that need to be completed when closing out a construction project.  Usually, these activities are minor, but it is very common for unresolved punch list items to cause huge problems. Here are a few ways a contractor can use a punch list ensure the successful close out of a project:

Read the Contract
Understand everything that is expected in a project. Never assume what needs to be done will be. If there is nothing stated about project close out procedure responsibilities in the contract, make sure this is addressed with the owner. Close out procedures should be addressed prior to signing a contract.

Communicate Deadlines
Understand the project deadline and when the building is going to be occupied. Communicate this vital information to all project members so everyone knows it. This will make sure everyone understands when their punch lists have to be completed and the job closed out.

Don’t Procrastinate
Problems should be addressed immediately. Do not wait until close out to correct things. The sooner problems are handled, the less likely they are to cause additional concerns or impact the project. The punch list should be a compilation of minor problems that are to be remedied prior to the project being completed. It is important to realize that the punch list is not meant to provide a list of everything the contractor did wrong during the project.

Empower People
Encourage subcontractors to perform their own preliminary walk through and generate a punch list to start the process. The owner should then follow up with an inspection of the premises and communicate their concerns. When the contractors complete their punch list and everything is finished, they should indicate in writing that they are done.  
As with all aspects of the project, the closeout requires coordination and communication. It is important to review all documentation, specifications and your punch list to make sure that all open or pending issues are included and resolved.