SJCC's Site Survey Podcast

Designing with Cost in Mind

An episode of SJCC's Site Survey Podcast

By Scott Jennings
Construction Topics & Talk
More places to listen
Construction Topics & Talk

More places to listen

Introduction to Contractor Estimating
The reader is introduced to the process of contractor estimating from initial project evaluation through the call for bond, the takeoff, the actual estimating of a civil project, an even the turn in of the bid...
November 6, 2019
Designers Design, Constructors Construct: Drawings Constructability Review
A constructability review can significantly and positively impact a project. But what is it and what are the third-party reviewers looking for in their review? Here we look just at the drawings/plan review (not the specification and contract review).
October 31, 2019
Designing with Cost in Mind
Contractors are often brought into a project in the design phase to minimize cost.  Here are some guidelines on infrastructure project cost cutting measures from a Contractor’s viewpoint – it’s advice to a design team.
October 10, 2019
Subs Should Join Forces!
On a project with multiple subcontractors, and say you’re one of them, implement a winning strategy for claims success by joining other subcontractors.
September 13, 2019
The Lookahead Schedule and 90/60/30
Once the project starts, it is the Contractor’s project management team’s responsibility to update the client on a regular, usually weekly, basis. This is done graphically using a lookahead schedule in bar chart format (also known as a Gantt Chart). Here we discuss the contents and reliability of the lookahead schedule.
September 5, 2019
Cracks in Construction
Cracks in construction provide information to a superintendent. We identify what you’re seeing and what it could mean in specific scenarios.
August 21, 2019
Needed Software for a Contractor
What are the “necessities” for software and apps for your construction business? Here’s a look at what’s out there – software and/or apps that are in use by successful firms to accomplish necessary functions in your business. What do I need? If you’re doing more than a million dollars in sales a year in heavy/civil construction, I’d say you need the following tools in your construction software toolbox...
August 8, 2019
Is One RFI One Too Many?
How many RFIs (requests for information) are too many on a construction project? Is it time, is it possible, to tie the number of RFIs on a job to the cost impact suffered by a contractor?
July 31, 2019
If Cash is King, Time’s the Queen
Time for any business is critical, perhaps more so in construction than many other industries. The role of time and its effect on a contractor are discussed here.
July 26, 2019
Time, an Owner’s Achille’s Heel
Discussed here, by a contractor, is arguably the #1 area of recommended improvement for infrastructure owners with fiduciary responsibility. The area in need of improvement: response time to construction issues.
July 26, 2019
Microsoft Excel v. Microsoft Project v. Primavera P6
In the construction industry, there are three main tools used for scheduling. Pros and cons of Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Project, and Primavera P6 are all briefly discussed.
July 9, 2019
Crew Cost Clicker
Education of your staff or of your client can be effectively done using SJ Construction Consulting LLC’s (SJCC) Crew Cost Clicker. Don’t talk about the cost per hour of a crew, show it. Live.
July 1, 2019
Top 10: Basic Business Etiquette
Landing the work has enough challenges in meeting the scope, schedule, and cost requirements of the client. You’re defeating yourself if you can’t be polite and practice simple business etiquette. If your client has been kind enough to consider doing business with you, don’t give him or her a reason to escort you out the door over something as simple as your behavior. Practice good business etiquette.
June 19, 2019
Construction Law Bible
If you work for a public works construction contractor or you do construction management on public works jobs, Administration of Government Contracts by John Cibinic, Jr. and Ralph C. Nash, Jr. is the bible for governmental law. A very brief background from a construction professional, not a lawyer, is provided here on this key publication which should be on your bookshelf.
June 10, 2019
Davis-Bacon, OSHA, Jones Act, and Buy American
A quick background on terms you hear every day in federal construction contracting: Davis-Bacon, OSHA, Jones Act, and Buy American.
May 28, 2019
The Basics of Advanced Scheduling Terminology
It’s important as a contractor, or even as an owner’s representative, to know a bit more than the basics of scheduling. Familiarity of some of the terms is helpful regardless of what side of the table you’re on:  Contractor or Owner.
May 6, 2019
A Crane with Wings!
Construction equipment is always evolving in its attempt to increase safety and efficiency of construction. One newer technology is the use of “wings” on construction cranes. Learn more about the wings on the Manitowoc®Grove GMK6400 MegaWingLiftTM crane here.  Our partial analysis showed a lifting capacity increase of up to 68%.
May 1, 2019
Fleet Management: Ways to Gather Data
Several means exist in the way of gathering data from your operating fleet. Here are the basic ways and then a quick explanation of current technology.
April 22, 2019
Instant Resolution of Contractor Overhead Daily Cost
Projects often experience delays for which the Contractor is awarded additional time.  The determination of the per day reimbursement to the Contractor for this time is fraught with protracted analysis and negotiation.  Owners should consider the time related overhead bid item for instant resolution.
April 16, 2019
Timecard Collection – Like You’ve Never Heard
One of the top complaints of construction employers is the collection of completed timecards – in a timely manner that is. Here is a suggestion for improvement you probably haven’t heard.
April 8, 2019
Unit Conversion
Converting from one unit of measure to another is critical for any position of management in a construction company. Using the internet is one way of doing it but knowing the simple process of fraction multiplication and the value of the number “1” gets it done too. Unit conversion is nothing more than taking a unit and multiplying it by “1” as many times as it takes to get a result in units you desire.
February 18, 2019
What’s BI? Do I need it?
BI stands for business intelligence. It is the process by which information from all of your company’s different computer systems (estimating, job costing, accounting, operations, et cetera) is displayed on one screen. You may not need it, but you better understand it – it’s coming.
February 6, 2019
Freight Terms Over Land
There are several trucking freight terms that a buyer should know. They’re important to know when contracting the transportation of your goods as well as when it’s time to pay the bill.
January 19, 2019
What is Section Modulus, S?
One of the most basic properties of a beam is its section modulus. How does the section modulus, S, come into play in structural design?  And, why should I care?
January 10, 2019
What's a GL Account?
 A GL account is separate from a cost code financial and job cost reporting. Here we introduce the basics of GL accounts.  Read more:
January 5, 2019
Cost Codes: What, Why & How
Many construction companies run their operations with too little specificity; costs ought to be reviewed on an activity-by-activity basis. Learn what, why and how to set up a good cost code structure.
December 15, 2018
Why be an Engineer: It’s the Mornings
A recent article by the American Bar Association caught my eye. It was entitled “When is it okay for a lawyer to lie?” I could probably end the article right here. I’ll keep going. [QR] Contemplating a law career. Yup, I get it, you know someone who watched television like the rest of us and you became a lawyer because of Perry Mason, Law & Order,or Boston Legal. Don’t get me wrong, I loved A Few Good Men.
December 4, 2018
The Internal Pre-Con: Top 10
Contractors usually are mandated to attend a pre-construction meeting with the Owner. There’s no reason not to also have an internal pre-construction meeting.
November 23, 2018
The Construction Daily Report: Why & What
The importance of the daily report cannot be overstated. Knowing why to write them and what to put in the report is critical for defense of yourself, and offense against another party.
November 15, 2018
Spearin and Modified Total Cost Method Adopted in Missouri
One of contractors’ most reliable defenses, the Spearin Doctrine, has been upheld in a Missouri Court. Certainly, for Missourians, this is a good thing, and to the extent, others may be able to reference this case or use a similar approach in claims, is a win for the construction industry.
November 2, 2018
Training: Now I See the Value
Training is an investment in your company. In your people. And anyone who has had a business knows that the fanciest equipment and tools are still only as good at the workers who use them. Invest in making better workers.
October 26, 2018
Choosing a Construction Consultant
Once the decision is made to engage a consultant, choosing the firm to assist you can be one of the biggest challenges. Consider asking key questions to flush out the quality and value of the service.
October 16, 2018
Construction Claims Hierarchy
Construction claims are an unfortunate part of the construction process in today’s world. When you have a claim, know the order of hierarchy in your presentation of the data for maximum remuneration from the client.
October 10, 2018
Customized Programming: Easy Access and Low Cost
Is there a process in your company that you’d like to have developed into a simple app, or made accessible via the web? Sometimes, with the right framework in place, developing these processes for you can be done quickly and for reasonable cost.
August 29, 2018
Some Basic Analysis Techniques in Claim Preparation
A claim is made because a contractor has lost money and/or time on a project. The method is chosen by the contractor to substantiate these costs can vary. Some popular methods of calculating cost are presented.
August 23, 2018
Plans Constructability Review: Why, When, & What?
A constructability review of a plan set can greatly benefit the project. On the surface, it looks like it benefits primarily the Owner, but the benefits to the design team and contractor can also be significant. All project parties should encourage this service on their projects.
August 10, 2018
Credit Unions versus Banks
A credit union is a viable option for many small businesses. Consider the advantages of a credit union over a traditional bank.
August 10, 2018
Equipment – Buy, Rent, RTO, RPO, Lease - Which One???
Construction equipment is a necessary tool to perform many types of construction work. How to acquire the equipment has a significant effect on the financial aspect of a company. There are many options which should be considered when temporarily or permanently acquiring a piece of gear.
August 10, 2018
Inventory Tracking: A Money Saver
Construction companies have inventories that should be managed to improve efficiency and, in turn, improve the bottom line. Consider a mobile solution or at least one that gets away from the clipboard.
July 26, 2018
Top 10: Basic Business Etiquette
Landing the work has enough challenges in meeting the scope, schedule, and cost requirements of the client. You’re defeating yourself if you can’t be polite and practice simple business etiquette.
July 20, 2018
The Unilateral Change Order
The purpose of a change order is to add work to an existing contract. Ideally this work is added with mutually agreeable terms in scope, time, and cost. These terms often cannot be agreed upon and contractors feel coerced into signing the document. Consider not signing the change order.
July 13, 2018
Project Management Triple Constraint
There’s an adage, fast/cheap/good, pick any two. This relates to the Project Management Triple Constraint. It also has other names like Iron Triangle and Project Triangle.
July 5, 2018
Why Track Extra Costs and How
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
Balance Sheet: Knowing the Basics of Liabilities
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
All Zeroes One Code
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
The $5 Casio
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
Estimate Handoff
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
Conversion of Inches to Feet in Decimals
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
Calc of WC, GL, & Bonds in your Estimates
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
Where to use QR codes today
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
Engineers and Architects Gotta Step It Up!
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
Proposal Terms & Conditions
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
I See Claims
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
Why Hire a Management Consultant
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
Letter Writing
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
A Cheap Lawyer
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
Standardized Docs
The very first episode of SJCC's Site Survey!
June 30, 2018
RFI Notice
Latest episode of SJCC's Site Survey
June 30, 2018
Latest episode of SJCC's Site Survey
June 30, 2018
Two for Today: Taxes & Fuel
Do two things today to improve your company: (1) check to make sure you are current on your 940 and 941 taxes and (2) make sure you’re reviewing your fuel bill.
June 28, 2018
Cost versus Price
Cost and price are two different measures of money in a construction bid. Knowing the difference is fundamental and can improve profit.
June 28, 2018
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