Posts Tagged ‘Project Management’

VN Services holds its 2014 Company Renewal

Friday, March 14th, 2014

We held our annual company renewal on February 27 and 28 at The Club at Hillbrook.  Every year we travel off-site and review the previous year’s goals, accomplishments and LTOs.  Then we use basic project management skills and CPM (Critical Path Method) scheduling to create measurable individual and company goals for the year forward.  Because the schedule has proven to be a highly useful management tool, we revisit it regularly to ensure that we are on target to achieve our goals.

Of course, we also need some R&R, so we spend the second afternoon doing something that is fun and entertaining.   We had a delicious lunch at The Harley Cafe at South East Harley-Davidson (no motorcycles were purchased at the time).  We followed lunch with bowling at the Freeway Lanes, where we all let Richard and Bob win!

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.

Avoiding Construction Claims 101

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

There are many reasons construction disputes develop during projects, and almost as many reasons why those disputes can elevate into a construction claim situation. Regardless of how the dispute initially developed, the inability to resolve it amicably and without litigation can almost always be traced back to poor communication by at least one of the parties, and often all of the parties, involved. Too often we either don’t communicate at all, or ineffectively at best. We think a matter is not important enough to take a moment and explain it or we assume the information conveyed is received and understood as intended. Often it is not.

Here are a few communication methods that could help avoid a construction claim:

Be Proactive: Don’t wait for problems to arise in order to develop a way to resolve them.

Establish Ground Rules: Hold regular meetings and an open forum for increased communication between all the parties involved with the project.

Align expectations: Make sure everyone is on the page and knows what is expected and required.

Clearly Communicate: Convey what the project is, why it is important and how the project will move forward. This leads to a buy in of participants and increased understanding.

Address Uncertainties: Be direct, clear and concise with questions about issues and reservations.

Address Issues: Resolve issues and discrepancies as they arise before they impact the project.

Be Receptive: Listen to all the parties involved and leave your pride at the door. Consider alternative points of view.

  • For the full article Avoiding Construction Claims by Tom Williams, please visit this link.
  • For more articles about Construction Management, please visit this link.

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.