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The Pipeline Podcast

The Pipeline Podcast

By Scott Jennings
Construction Topics and Talk
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SJ's Toolbox Term: Surety

The Pipeline Podcast

Great Ways To Die
–The Pipeline Podcast Ep 225 – Great Ways To Die – With Scott Jennings Listen to this latest episode of “The Pipeline Podcast” where Scott Jennings talks about  safety hazard and risk assessment as it is important to be reminded because after all, you can’t protect your workers against hazards you are unaware of and unprepared for. Scott shared some scenarios and a couple of his experiences to portray a visual representation of what can happen, why it is necessary to be fully aware of possible accidents, and how important being cautious to your surroundings is. If you neglect your responsibility to protect yourself or even your employees, you could face financial or custodial penalties. Nevertheless, it all boils down to taking care of not only yourself but your employees too at work; because anytime can be your last day, let’s hear it from Scott on how to prevent that. I hope you find this episode as informative and as exciting as we have. Please let us know your thoughts about the episode! Connect with Scott Jennings, host of The Pipeline Podcast: Website: LinkedIn: Email: Subscribe to the Podcast:
September 27, 2022
Don’t Get Your P.E. License - A Ridiculous Statement
–The Pipeline Podcast: Episode 224 - Don’t Get Your P.E. License - A Ridiculous Statement With Scott Jennings Listen to this latest episode of “The Pipeline Podcast” where Scott Jennings talks about “Don’t Get Your P.E. License”. PE. Its two letters and you see them on the back of people's names on business cards; they stand for a professional engineer, also known as a licensed engineer. And that basically allows you to design things that are used by the public, or at least the government deems that the person who has designed them is qualified to do so. When Scott came out of school, He tried to work under P.E. and he wanted to become a P.E. because he earned it, because he could. You know, who goes to medical school and doesn't get an MD who goes and gets a legal degree and doesn't sit for the bar. Having a P.E. license, it brings on liability and that's true. I hope you find this episode as informative and as exciting as we have. Please let us know your thoughts about the episode! Connect with Scott Jennings, host of The Pipeline Podcast: Website: LinkedIn: Email: Subscribe to the Podcast: 
September 20, 2022
I Wrote A Children’s Book Because I Could
–The Pipeline Podcast: Episode 223– I wrote A Children’s Book Because I Could– With Scott Jennings Listen to this latest episode of “The Pipeline Podcast” where Scott Jennings talks about him writing his very own children’s book called “No More Potholes, Let’s Mill and Fill”. His objective is to get kids interested on what he does and nothing better than doing it by reading them a book at night. What’s the age range for this book? For the readers of these articles, you’ll probably follow along fine. And it’ll even be fun to explain to your kids what mom or dad does for a living and what the construction equipment is in the book. Scott Also mentioned that he always wanted to be an educator. So, with all this writing, he figured why not publish a book for kids. We hope you’ll support Scott, and the industry, and use his book to get your kids interested in our business. I hope you find this episode as informative and as exciting as we have. Please let us know your thoughts about the episode! How To Purchase “No More Potholes, Let’s Mill & Fill” Book: Amazon Connect with Scott Jennings, host of The Pipeline Podcast: Website: LinkedIn: Email:  Subscribe to the Podcast: 
September 12, 2022
Why to Get a Contractor’s License
Operating without a contractor’s license can be anywhere from inconvenient to illegal.  Hear here why you should consider obtaining a license.
February 01, 2022
No Taj Garage
Building a business is ultimately about dollars and cents. You’ve got to not lose money to stay in business. Here’s some advice for those in business or thinking about going into business. Spend less.
December 06, 2021
Linear Scheduling: Effective with a Bend of Your Mind
Gantt charts have long been the established norm for construction scheduling. Linear scheduling is not nearly as common, especially in America, but can be a great tool.
November 28, 2021
A Kick in the, Well, You Know: “Last Minute” Bid Postponement
The effects on a Project by an Owner who untimely, in a “last minute” manner, postpones a bid are significant – here’s how.
November 25, 2021
Claims Tools & Methodologies
Construction claims are generated using many tools and many different methodologies. Listen here to learn some of the basic to intermediate approaches.
November 01, 2021
Cake Batter and Concrete Mix Design: Same Thing!
Knowing how to read a concrete mix design is helpful for the project management team: from project manager to foreman. Here are some basics.
October 12, 2021
Help Yourself: Be the Most Coachable Player
Being the best employee does require having traits which benefit your company, but one trait more than any other will help you as an employee benefit yourself and your own career. It’s called being coachable.
October 07, 2021
Ways That Engineers Manage Failure: Deflection
In construction, or after the fact in the permanent structure, engineers are predicting structural behavior and trying to either control a failure or minimize it. Herein are ways engineers engineer failure in both instances – via deflection.
September 30, 2021
Bridges 101: What Makes up a Bridge
Basically, from the dictionary, a bridge carries a road across an obstacle. On top it could be a railway, or it could be a walking path, or it could be a vehicle roadway. And down below it could be going over a river or it could be a ravine, or it could be another road. Everyone knows what a bridge is; however, not everyone knows the names of the components of a bridge.
September 29, 2021
Another Contractor Claims Tool: ASCE 71-21 Identifying, Quantifying, and Proving Loss of Productivity
Loss of productivity claims for contractors are common, and always difficult to be successful with against an owner. ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers), primarily an Owner’s advocate, has provided contractors with another tool for their toolbox: ASCE Standard 71-21 Identifying, Quantifying, and Proving Loss of Productivity. It was published in 2021.
September 10, 2021
Project Loss Insurance: Heard of It?
There exists an insurance product to mitigate the risk associated with catastrophic failure of a construction company. It’s called Project Loss Insurance.
August 07, 2021
Debt: You Need It
Debt, at least in the American construction business, is helpful when it comes to growth. Here’s a couple reasons why.
July 21, 2021
Utes and Bunds: Working in New Zealand
Civil construction is the same, but different, in New Zealand. Some terms and methods which vary from American civil construction follow.
July 16, 2021
Bluebeam Revu Review
Bluebeam Revu is a tool that’s been around for several years now to aid in the manipulation of pdf documents – hear a little bit about it here and why I insist on using it.
July 07, 2021
Don’t Be Afraid of a Little Manual Work: It’s Ok
In a world now so heavily reliant upon computers, many construction professionals try to automate the entire process, of whatever they may be working on. Some things will still have to be manual, and that’s ok.
July 01, 2021
Keep the Excavator Digging – It Drives the Cost
Properly planning and monitoring the work can result in a safer and more profitable activity. Here’s one way to do it in utility installation.
June 22, 2021
Estimating: Theoretical Versus Production History
Many approaches exist for estimating – two of them being a theoretical approach versus a production history approach. One is based on what you think, the other on what you know. These terms may not be familiar to you, but the difference in execution may be.
June 18, 2021
Webinar: Inside the Contractor Mind: Bidding, Change Orders, & Claims
Scott Jennings and Patrick Mullen gave a very frank presentation on what runs through the contractor’s mind in his/her creation of a bid, formulation of a changer order, and preparation of a claim. Both cost and time.
June 03, 2021
Inside the Contractor’s Mind: Bidding, Change Orders, & Claims
Scott Jennings and Patrick Mullen gave a very frank presentation on what runs through the contractor’s mind in his/her creation of a bid, formulation of a change order, and preparation of a claim. Both cost and time.
June 03, 2021
Using a Static Indirect Bid Item in your Bids
Create a static bid item in all of your bids to serve as a checklist for indirect costs – both jobsite and corporate indirects!
June 02, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Joint Venture
Joint Venture
May 15, 2021
Lose the Guilt – Mark it Up!
Contractors deserve to be profitable. It’s necessary for business survival. A perceived exorbitant markup should not be fretted over. Mark it up!
May 14, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Working Capital
Working Capital
May 01, 2021
Blind and Dumb: Meeting Attendees
An effective meeting is one wherein the attendees are “with” the facilitator the entire time and can and do follow along. Here are some suggested tactics.
April 27, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Pay Width
Pay Width
April 24, 2021
Trained or Untrained? Being Claim-Ready
Contractors that deal with tough projects, tough clients, and/or tough contracts need to be in a mindset of always being claim-ready. Here’s the start to being claim-ready.
April 20, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Unbalance
April 17, 2021
The Calibration Period: Plan for Patience
New business relationships do not come free of humps and bumps. Work through these challenges to develop lifelong partners.
April 14, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Minority Goal
Minority Goal
April 10, 2021
Delay Letter: A Template & How to Write One
As a contractor, the notification of delay is critical. Here are the important ingredients to a delay letter.
April 08, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: LLC
April 05, 2021
Your Equipment Rates: Where to Start
Whether in an estimate setup or change order negotiation scenario, if you do not know your equipment rates, start with a baseline cost.
March 31, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Float
March 27, 2021
The Leonard Curves: Another Tool in Labor Loss Quantification
Charles Leonard performed a study which resulted in the Leonard curves. These curves may be a helpful tool to quantify your labor productivity loss due to cumulative impacts on your project.
March 25, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Extended Overhead
Extended Overhead
March 20, 2021
Going “Legit”: Lose the Brown Paper Bag
If you’ve been running the accounts receivable and accounts payable out of a brown paper bag and want to go “legit”, here are the first steps.
March 16, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Covenant
March 14, 2021
Jet Grout in Five Minutes
Jet grout has been, and continues to be, a successful means of ground improvement. It can serve many purposes – two of the most common are structural support and groundwater control.
March 02, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Entitlement
February 27, 2021
Engine Failure Makes Engineers Great: Redundancy
On February 20, 2021 a Boeing 777 airplane lost an engine during flight over Colorado. The engine failure was catastrophic and could have resulted in hundreds of deaths. The plane landed safely back in Denver. This failure highlights the greatness of engineers.
February 23, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Force Account
Force Account
February 21, 2021
What a College Degree Says
A college degree sometimes seems overrated as it isn’t necessarily a measure of intelligence, nor a guarantee of success. A pigskin on the wall says more than “I know engineering” or “I know business”. It says, “I can finish things.”
February 16, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Invert Spring Line Crown
Invert Spring Line Crown
February 14, 2021
Contingency Doesn’t Exist When Low Bid Wins
When an owner determines the method of award is that the low bid wins, they shouldn’t expect contingency in a contractor’s bid. Here’s what they should expect.
February 09, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Spider Box & Bologna Cord
Spider Box & Bologna Cord
February 07, 2021
Bucketing – the Proper Claim Accounting Method
The categorization of costs incurred in a changed condition scenario is critical in dispute resolution. Account for costs by issue and sub-issue by creating buckets of costs. Do it early!
February 01, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Allowance
January 31, 2021
K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid
There’s power in simplicity. Harness the power to more efficiently communicate in-house and with your clients.
January 30, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: F.A.R. (Federal Acquisition Regulations)
F.A.R. (Federal Acquisition Regulations)
January 15, 2021
Incidental: What’s in a Word?
The word “incidental” is common to the construction industry and it can be damning if you’re not careful. Understand what you’re committing to when you enter that unit price in the bid proposal when it requires “all incidental costs be included”.
January 15, 2021
SJ's Toolbox Term: Latent versus patent
Latent versus patent
January 09, 2021
Delay Types – Top 4 List
Contractors experience all sorts of delays. This article covers what, arguably, may be the four most common types: inexcusable, excusable, compensable, and concurrent delays.
December 24, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Purchase order
Purchase order
December 19, 2020
Five Minute “How To”: Starting A Construction Business
Starting a construction business has its unique requirements. These plus the norms will get you up and running at your new construction business.
December 15, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Squares
December 12, 2020
Shallow versus Deep Foundations: What’s the Difference?
Our nation’s infrastructure bears on many types of foundations. Generally speaking, they can be classified into two different types: shallow or deep foundations.
December 11, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Post-tensioned concrete
Post-tensioned concrete
December 05, 2020
Pre-Bid Questioning to the Owner or Yourself
Many challenges in a project can be flushed out in the pre-bid phase with clear and concise questioning to the Owner. Consider these questions as a part of your bidding procedure.
December 03, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Level vs plumb
Level vs plumb
November 28, 2020
General Contractor & Owner Financial Protection: Two Ways
When making regular payments throughout the lifespan of a construction project, there are two main ways a general contractor or owner can achieve a significant level of financial protection: the joint check and/or the lien release.
November 27, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Prestressed concrete
Prestressed concrete
November 21, 2020
Please Cough – The One Thing to Do This Week
Caring about your employees is human and it’s good for business. Combine the two to create solid and long-lasting relationships plus a healthy business. Send your employees to the doctor. Regularly.
November 20, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Concrete Slump
Concrete Slump
November 14, 2020
Setting the Bid Unit Price: 2 Main Reasons for Unbalancing
Setting of bid prices on a unit price bid can have significant effects on the financial performance of a project. Set your unit prices in your proposals to have positive impact. Be strategic.
November 14, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Formwork
November 07, 2020
Top 6 Ingredients of a Letter
Letters in the construction industry, during the course of a project, usually are reserved for contentious issues or to satisfy notification requirements. Here are six of the most important and common ingredients in these letters.
November 07, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Continuity Equation
Continuity Equation
October 31, 2020
Pipe Goes Bang!
Any noise beyond liquid simply flowing in a pipe is likely not a good thing. Two potentially dangerous noises in pipes/pumping systems are water hammer and cavitation.
October 30, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Beam-column
October 24, 2020
Insult Your Client with Simplicity: Day Labeling
Construction contracts are almost always measured in some sort of day: a working day or a calendar day. In analysis and project communication, kill the doubt for the reader and always define the type of day in every use of the word “day”.
October 23, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: 10 Civil Construction abbreviations
10 Civil Construction abbreviations
October 17, 2020
Closer to 1.30, not 1.50
A common mistake in estimating is the cost of an overtime manhour.  Overtime is generally not one and one-half times the straight time rate.  It’s usually closer to 1.30.
October 16, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Pre-Stressed vs Post-Tensioned
Pre-Stressed vs Post-Tensioned
October 10, 2020
Fire! Run to It, Not From It!
Construction often times does not go per plan. These unexpected variances in the plan can make or break a job. How you treat these “fires” can define your effectiveness as a manager. In construction there’s dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of things, that can go wrong...
October 09, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel
Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel
September 26, 2020
Contract Mapping: A Valuable Tool in Your Toolbox
Contract interpretation can be difficult for a construction professional. Contracts are comprised of thousands of words and hundreds of paragraphs. Consider “contract mapping” to help quickly guide you through a contract.
September 25, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Trenchbox
September 19, 2020
You Better Honor Your Bid on Bid Day Mr. Subcontractor
As a general contractor you can rely on your subcontractor’s bid on bid day as a binding agreement.  But not in all states. Listen on to learn about protection granted by the Doctrine of Promissory Estoppel...
September 18, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Parapet
September 12, 2020
An Hour’s not an Hour, and it’s Certainly not a Day
There are differences in an hour: a manhour, a crew hour, a 50-minute hour. And an hour’s not a day, so there is another calculation for a manday. Here is a quick explanation of these estimating terms...
September 11, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Order of Precedence
Order of Precedence
September 05, 2020
Anatomy of a Change
Construction changes are generally handled in a similar way in most contracts. As a contractor you can develop good habits and controls to ensure you capture time and cost impacts.
September 04, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: PK Nail
PK nail
August 29, 2020
Shhh, You’re being Recorded – and Two Other Tips
Just three random important things for contractors that didn’t make up an article all on their own: the legality of audio recording, running one man short, the golden rule of bid forms.
August 28, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: EROPS / ROPS
August 22, 2020
Quantifying the Loss in Labor Productivity: the MCAA Factors
There are very few “court-accepted” ways a contractor can quantify his or her loss as a result of labor productivity, or lack thereof. MCAA’s (Mechanical Contractors Association of America, Inc.) document PD 2 Factors Affecting Labor Productivity is one of the most widely used methods in practice.
August 21, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Air Entrainment
Air Entrainment
August 15, 2020
Cash v. Accrual Accounting – Whatchu Talkin’ About Willis?
There are basic differences between cash and accrual accounting.  Here’s a quick review...
August 14, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Grouser
August 04, 2020
How to do a Job Cost Projection: Cutting through the Fog – Part 2
Let’s run through an example. Let’s do an example so you see some of the challenges. Let’s take one cost code in your budget – let’s look at roadway subgrade. Below we have the budget for this cost. You can see the cost code is “1001” and there are five cost components of this cost code: labor, equipment, consumable material, permanent material, and subcontractor cost. This can be viewed in the columns from “Cost Code” to “Budget($)”.
August 03, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Escalation
August 01, 2020
How to do a Job Cost Projection: Cutting through the Fog – Part 1
Executive summary. An accurate job cost projection is vital to Company survival. And it’s not too complicated if you know the budget, the timing of your costs, and can do a little bit of estimating. It’s NOT about blindly relying on quantities completed!
July 31, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Serial Letter
Serial Letter
July 25, 2020
Mistaken Taboo: Project Overhead
Field overhead carries different names with different contractors and owners. Discussed here is what field overhead is, and why it’s important for owners to understand.
July 24, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Spreader Beam
Spreader Beam
June 28, 2020
The #1 Driver of a Construction Claim
A construction claim is a dispute in the Work as it was contemplated in the original construction documents. However, a large percentage of what drives a claim is not the Contract. It’s the people. It’s personalities.
June 27, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Active & passive soil pressure
Active & passive soil pressure
June 20, 2020
Don’t be Charlie Brown’s Teacher
If you are interested in communicating information to your audience, and you want your audience to absorb and remember what you’re saying, communicate effectively. Communicate using vocabulary, tempo, brevity, and body language that your client understands and wants. It’s not about you. It’s about them. They need to get it. You already do.
June 19, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: May vs Shall
May vs Shall
June 13, 2020
Construction Contract Review Basics
Each day we hand contracts down to our subs or we are signing contracts down from Owners or General Contractors.  Know some of the basics of what to look for here.
June 10, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Termination for Convenience
 Termination for Convenience
June 10, 2020
Webinar: Small/Medium Business Cybersecurity & Best Practices during COVID-19
In this webinar we discussed small/medium business cybersecurity and best practices, especially during COVID-19. It is always a good time to check-in on the security of your network, computers, and websites. And now with your employees, and data, working remotely, cybersecurity is critical.
June 10, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Invert Elevation
Invert Elevation
June 06, 2020
Better the Devil You Know
Many folks make changes based on temporary pains. More often than not, better the devil you know that the devil you don’t.
June 05, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: PCO
May 23, 2020
Estimating: It’s an Art and a Science
Construction estimating isn’t wholly about the numbers. It involves a “feel” in its execution. This is why many say estimating is an art and a science.
May 23, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Cubic yard
Cubic yard
May 09, 2020
Bond Premium and the Project Time Extension
Most traditional bond rates have two variables in their cost: the contract value and the time threshold. Do not forget to include both in time extension negotiations.
May 08, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Surety
May 06, 2020
Webinar: Construction Insurance & Bonding during COVID-19
Construction Insurance & Bonding during COVID-19
May 06, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Builders Risk Insurance
Builders Risk Insurance
May 01, 2020
Video Conferencing Softwares: a Quick Review
Many video conferencing softwares are in existence. Which one suits you best? Which ones are easiest to use? Here’s one users’ opinions.
May 01, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Pawl brake
Pawl brake
April 25, 2020
Dear Owner, No Change Orders Thank You
Most Project Owners are convinced that Contractors thrive on change orders. The truth is that most would prefer to have none. Read below a sort of open letter to Owners.
April 23, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Entrapped air vs. air entrainment
Entrapped air vs. air entrainment
April 18, 2020
I Didn’t Ask for a Lamborghini
Extra work on a construction project must be delivered at fair and reasonable prices. Owners should know they have this right in their Contract, and Contractors should know the owners have this right too.
April 16, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Notice to proceed
Notice to proceed
April 11, 2020
Letters to the Owner Need to Tell, Not Ask
Most contractors use letters to communicate significant events in a project. Use letters to tell. Use RFIs to ask...
April 10, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Pressure
April 04, 2020
“Boosting” Job Profits on Equipment Purchase - on Paper
Whether in a bid situation or a change order negotiation, there is a way to boost your profit on paper by not “job costing” your equipment. Let’s talk depreciation.
April 02, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Plastic hinge
Plastic hinge
March 28, 2020
Webinar: Force Majeure & Differing Site Conditions – Notification and Response
Scott Jennings, P.E. facilitated a live 2-hour webinar and Q&A with attorney Scott Batterman, Esq. of Clay Chapman Iwamura Pulice & Nervell, Attorneys at Law from Honolulu, Hawaii to address one of the hottest topics now in the construction industry: Force Majeure due to COVID-19 This is the audio only. For full presentation and resources, please visit:
March 26, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Hoptoe
March 25, 2020
But What Does It Smell Like?
Field experience is necessary to be a best of class construction and engineering professional. Can you or your employee relate to today’s article? Can you write your own article with similar anecdotes to these below? If you cannot, schedule some time in the field.
March 25, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Well graded material
Well graded material
March 21, 2020
Project Parties – Who does what?
The management structure of sizable projects usually involves four major parties:  the owner, the construction manager, the designer, and the contractor.  Here’s how project management is structured and what the parties’ responsibilities are in two common project delivery methods.
March 19, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
March 15, 2020
Signing a Change Order: What to look for
Ensure that before you sign a change order, all of the necessary components of your negotiation are included. Here’s what to look for in a change order before you sign it. And don’t forget – you don’t have to sign it.
March 12, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Constructive Acceleration
Constructive Acceleration
March 12, 2020
What Information Governs: Order of Precedence
As a construction professional in the field, when information conflicts between plans and specifications, you should immediately seek the order of precedence section of your contract for guidance.
March 12, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Retention Bond
Retention Bond
March 01, 2020
Notice: Writing the Letter
There’s almost nothing more important than notifying your client, in accordance with the Contract, of a time and/or cost impact. Learn how to do it here.
February 27, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Arbitration
February 21, 2020
Legal Word of the Day: Contemporaneous
In a construction matter, the quality of evidence can be as important as the evidence itself. Using contemporaneous information can be invaluable in your legal matter against an opposing party.
February 21, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Unexcused delay
Unexcused delay
February 15, 2020
The Joint Venture Estimate: Setup is Key
Whether bidding a job together in one shared document, or running comparison estimates, the setup in a joint venture effort is critical to success. Consider establishing the following before starting your estimating effort. And, be consistent. Be consistent.
February 13, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: GL Account
GL Account
February 08, 2020
Optimizing the Contractor’s Professional Engineer
Do you often need a professional engineer to facilitate the construction at your projects? Here’s how to pick your engineer and to guarantee the quickest turnaround of the product you need.
February 06, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: Collapsed as-built analysis
Collapsed as-built analysis
February 01, 2020
Wanna Eat? Help me Kill
Maintaining employment is a factor of your performance, but for construction and engineering firms it is largely dependent on a firm’s ability to bring in project after project. Who’s responsible for bringing in these projects? The answer lies below.
January 31, 2020
SJ's Toolbox Term: $1 Million, $2 Million
$1 Million, $2 Million
January 25, 2020
Laos: Infrastructure / Means & Methods
You’re probably reading this from America or Canada. Ever wonder what the infrastructure and construction means and methods are like in a smaller less developed country like Laos? [For those who haven’t tapped into Google yet to find out where Laos is, it’s a landlocked country adjacent to Vietnam (to the west) in Southeast Asia.]
January 24, 2020
Earthwork: What’s a Cubic Yard?
A cubic yard is not a cubic yard when it comes to earthwork estimating and field operations. Know the difference to best estimate productions and to negotiate pricing in the field.
January 15, 2020
Takeoff: Beyond the Drawings
Takeoff is a primary function in the estimation of construction costs. A good takeoff includes more than is plainly seen on the drawings. Here is discussed the definition and purpose of takeoff along with what makes a takeoff good.
December 30, 2019
Avoid Claims with a Pre-Bid Analysis
In a best case scenario, a construction claim will make the contractor financially whole again on the matter. In a worst case scenario, the contractor goes out of business. Most claims conclude somewhere in between with all parties unhappy.
December 17, 2019
From Me to You: Things I’ve Learned as a Professional
Advice for life in general, and professional life, is often gleaned by the sharing of lessons and anecdotes. Here are some lessons to apply to both home and work.
December 13, 2019
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 06, 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 05, 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 08, 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 09, 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 01, 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 06, 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 01, 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 08, 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 06, 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 05, 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 04, 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 02, 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 05, 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
An RFI can Satisfy Notice Requirement, said the Feds
Possibly the leading cause of contractor claim denials – lack of proper notice – just got a little bit easier for contractors thanks to the U.S. Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals’ conclusion that a request for information (RFI) can satisfy a notice requirement under F.A.R. (Federal Acquisition Regulation).
May 07, 2018