Construction: The Building Blocks of Success
Over time, building has evolved from a pursuit of superior techniques and materials to a pursuit of superior processes and technology.
It’s pretty hard for contractors and builders to differentiate themselves from their competition by saying things like “I use better wood” or “my framing techniques are better than their techniques”. Today, construction and many of its subtasks have become commodities. Much like flour or rice, most people don’t notice enough of a difference between two drywallers or two building companies to care about which one they choose to hire.
As a result, builders that can truly add value will succeed in differentiating themselves from their competitors. Since the name of the game these days is modern technology with efficient technology, builders need to demonstrate value by adopting these new methods faster than their competitors.
When you’re selecting a builder, answer the following questions to determine whether or not they are truly industry leaders, or just run-of-the-mill commodity builders:
1. Does the company provide detailed building cost spreadsheets, financial management, and reporting?
Gone are the days of sticky notes, lost pieces of paper, and “I can probably get my accountant to send you that…”
A modern full-service building company should provide regular, detailed reporting so that you know your project is on track and on budget. Check to see if the builder provides monthly forecasting and cost analyses with details about subcontractors, materials, labour costs and any other factors you think are relevant. That way, you can keep track of where your money is going and see the financial results of their building expertise.
2. Does the company provide Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for all trades and materials? Do they supervise the bidding process?
Just because Jack’s Construction Company uses Jill’s Drywall Services and Joe’s Electrical doesn’t mean that Jill and Joe are the best tradespeople for the job. Often times, construction companies will utilize the same sub trades over and over without ever evaluating whether or not they are the most suitable. While the building company may indeed have a good relationship with a number of suppliers and sub trades around town, you should be cautious if the builder always says “I know a great guy for that…”
A professional building company should hold a competitive and unbiased bidding process for the different major requirements of your unique project. Furthermore, the process should be transparent to you as the project investor. This is the best way for you to ensure that you are getting the best return for your investment in both quality and value. Competitive bidding yields the best terms and the best prices for inputs to your project.
3. Does the company use modern software to recruit and manage its employees?
The world is going digital, and the hiring process largely begins online. Experienced workers will not find their way to your jobsite if job postings are not organized in the right places. Furthermore, good employees will not stay with a company if it is not organized and professional.
A modern construction company should have HR software to recruit and manage its own employees. Much like how a competitive bidding process is necessary to achieve the greatest value from suppliers and sub trades, modern recruiting software is necessary to acquire and keep the best talent at the best terms.
4. Does the company configure and set up all general requirements?
It may seem basic, but check to see if the construction company is able to provide all necessary general items necessary to completing a large project. These items include fencing, trailers, bathrooms, signage, equipment, and worker procedures. Furthermore, ask about the company’s WCB procedures and training. A well-established, modern construction company should have a comprehensive WCB training program as well as a positive WCB reputation.
By following the above guidelines, you will be better able to identify innovative, leading construction companies over their old-fashioned counterparts. This will empower you to choose value and achieve a superior building experience – saving you time, frustration, and positively impacting your ROI.
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