Posts Tagged ‘Construction Management Companies’

Tracking Labor Hours is Essential to a Construction Project’s Success

Monday, November 24th, 2014

It may be preaching to the choir, but the topic of tracking labor hours per scheduled task completions is worth repeating.

How does a construction project end up with a positive project outcome? It’s not brain surgery! Make sure that the labor hours estimated for tasks are actually being expended (and not exceeded) and that the tasks are completing by their early finish dates (Performance Based Scheduling).  You will see a project that is on time, on budget, making a profit, getting an occupancy permit, and having many other successful project outcomes.  Get in, get done, and get out!

Notice that this does NOT mean that you should start tasks prior to their early start dates. There may be instances when starting tasks early makes sense; however, if the logical relationships between activities are correct, starting tasks early will probably cause negative impacts to someone else on the job because you’ve changed the plan that everybody else anticipated following. Changing the planned approach to the project could increase costs and cause delays. Work the plan that everyone on the construction team is in agreement with, and work it to the early dates.

Likewise, with labor hours. There are times when throwing more bodies into a task or working selective overtime makes sense. That said, the estimated labor hours for each activity task exist for a reason; so you shouldn’t try to accelerate tasks without consciously considering the possible impact to the labor hours that will be spent. The estimated labor hours represent the budget for each task, and every time you go over budget you risk losing money (this includes the Owner getting exposed to change orders or claims for additional costs).

Labor hours are the primary controllable cost on a project, and knowing (on a weekly basis) where and when labor hours are being expended isn’t just good project management – it’s good business!  Your project managers and superintendents should have their finger on the pulse of “labor hours budgeted vs. labor hours expended” activity by activity.  They should be acutely aware of this on a daily basis so they can track, catch, and adjust for deviations on a weekly basis.

If you don’t know the status of your labor hours, and if you are not prepared to work the schedule to the early dates, then you are not in control of your destiny on the project. Not controlling your project means that you won’t know if you made or lost money until it’s too late.

We tell our clients that they should be making money on purpose.   Working the plan, while controlling labor hours is a good way to do just that.  Our project management and project oversight services are the perfect, affordable tool to help your team stay on track!

s600A Labor chart2


Monday, May 19th, 2014

By: M. Tucker Elliott

19 May 2014 Part 1 of 3

There are all kinds of surprises in life, some of which people like and some of which people don’t like.  Pleasant surprises have the effect of giving us a dose of adrenaline followed by a positive experience (a nice piece of birthday cake comes to mind).  In the world of construction, even pleasant surprises represent events that were unplanned and unaccounted for in budgets or schedules and are, therefore something we want to avoid.

Unpleasant surprises, of course, can have some pretty negative outcomes.  On construction projects, these outcomes can impact a range of project elements including the safety of workers, project budget, and schedule.  A punchlist is one of the tools available to control the risk of surprises on construction projects.  As a project or portion thereof is nearing completion, a punchlist isolates parts of the work thought to be complete and identifies items requiring action in order to bring them into compliance with the contract.

Congratulations Tucker Elliott on 16 years at VN Services!

Monday, April 14th, 2014

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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