You will be the hero of your construction project, but you need to know a few things to become the Rockstar you are meant to be. As we are all aware by now, 2021 was a wild year. There has never been a more important time to understand construction before undertaking a new construction project. From material shortages and allocations to labor shortages and price increases, things feel unpredictable at best. In order to overcome the current uncertainties in construction and save yourself thousands of dollars in the process you need to be operating from a place of power. Your power will come from knowledge and that is what this article is about. In construction projects, knowledge is about more than just power. Knowledge is also money, time and clarity.
Hopefully that last sentence caught your attention because it highlights the top 3 objectives of successful construction projects:
- Staying on budget
- Staying on schedule
- Avoiding misunderstandings
The first step to achieving the top 3 objectives is understanding how to create a clear vision and clear specifications for your construction project.
Most projects start with a broad vision which may look something like this: The owner wants to build a new home that is contemporary in style with a master on the main level, study on the main level, two other bedrooms, three bathrooms, around 3,000 square feet and for a budget of $600,000. This is a great start to defining a vision for a project, but the magic is in understanding what goes into making this vision come to life.
Over the last 23 years working with hundreds of clients, I found that my owners asked the same core questions to help them understand the process that will bring their vision to life:
- What is the order or sequence of work from the beginning to the end of the project? I refer to these as the phases of construction.
- What labor and materials are included in each of the phases of construction? I refer to this as the scope of each phase of construction.
In addition to understanding the order of work and what is happening in each phase of construction, there is a third question that is even more important than the first two questions. Unfortunately, this third question is not obvious to most owners and is seldom addressed until it has become a problem. The all-important third question is:
- How far in advance of each phase of construction do selections and decisions need to be made in order to have materials on site and available when the crews are scheduled to perform the work?
This has always been the key question for construction projects but in 2021 the importance of timely selections and decisions has been amplified by supply chain issues, material shortages and labor shortages. I tried for many years to provide my owners with answers to these three questions in the form of spreadsheets, schedules and both written and verbal descriptions. However, what I found is that while this information was helpful, the assets I was providing lacked context within the scope of the whole project and didn’t help my owners nail question number three often enough. I needed a holistic resource for my clients that could give them what they needed to answer all three questions which is why I created Construction Flow. (make this a link to the site?)
Once you understand how to specify and approve materials in a timely manner you will be on your way to meeting all three of the objectives for a successful project. 1) By ordering materials early, you will lock in prices which will avoid material price increases and help keep you on budget. 2) To stay on schedule for construction projects in 2021 requires ordering materials as early as possible to avoid delays. 3) Most miscommunications in construction stem from material specifications. Having the knowledge to create clear specifications from the beginning will avoid the timing and financial pitfalls of changing materials during construction. As you can see this is a powerful part of the construction process to understand.
More money is wasted by not understanding the importance of timely selections and decisions than any other aspect of the construction process. If there is one thing you take away from this article let it be this understanding of the importance of timely selections and decisions. My average client loses $5,000 or more on interest alone while their projects are idle waiting for materials that were either selected too late or changed too late in the process. In my experience, these delays were most often due to a lack of understanding of how much lead time was needed for ordering materials that were not part of the original scope of work for the project.
Access the Master Class
If you are interested in learning more about becoming the hero of your next construction project, I am offering a free master class that dives deeper into the process I created to assist owners in answering all three of the three key questions and achieving their goals for a successful construction project. Click below to get instant access to the master class. I wish you success in your construction projects in 2022 and beyond.