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The Runjob Review

The Runjob Review

By Runjob Software
The Runjob Review highlights weekly news, topics, and trends in the construction industry.
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What’s a GL Account?

The Runjob Review

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 4, 2019
Subs Should Join Forces!
There’s a thousand different scenarios to exemplify my proposal here, but let’s say your company is a cabinet installer on a large new single family home project.  There are 400 homes and you have to install kitchen and bathroom cabinetry in each of them.  In each of the homes you go in to to perform your work, the kitchens are in a different state of completion.  Some do not have electrical and plumbing done, some have incomplete drywall, and maybe some aren’t even dried in yet to protect from the elements.
September 11, 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.
August 7, 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 30, 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 18, 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
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 26, 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.
June 18, 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 MegaWingLiftTMcrane here. Our partial analysis showed a lifting capacity increase of up to 68%.
April 30, 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
An Alternative to Eichleay: HOOP!
Contractors delayed by the owner often want to be reimbursed ‘x’ dollars per ‘y’ days for the cost of home office overhead. Most contractors are used to using the Eichleay Formula to recoup this cost. There’s a new formula available from a case in Ohio: the HOOP Formula. It’s stupid simple.
April 3, 2019
Lose the political correctness and go find that pipe stretcher
We all hear on the news about this over political correctness and how everyone’s become so sensitive. Well, get over it. Sometimes people get a laugh at your expense. It doesn’t have to be mean – good fun is good fun.
April 3, 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 15, 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 financial reporting account, not a job cost reporting account.  Here we introduce the basics of GL accounts.
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 14, 2018
Why be an Engineer: It’s the Mornings
I’m proud to say that I am an engineer. You should be proud of your kid if (s)he is going to school for engineering too. You should be proud of yourself if you’re an engineer.
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
There are no perfect software solutions out there for many industries. Many companies must settle for “close enough” to achieve their control goals. If you have relatively simple needs, considering a custom program may vastly improve your efficiency for less cost than you think.
August 28, 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 chosen by the contractor to substantiate these costs can vary. Some popular methods of calculating cost are presented.
August 23, 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 8, 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
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. Read along:
June 26, 2018
Two for Today: Taxes and 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 21, 2018
A Quickie on DEF
DEF stands for Diesel Exhaust Fluid. It’s a liquid. The liquid is injected in the exhaust stream after the engine and before the catalytic converter. A thermodynamic reaction occurs and what comes out of the tail pipe is “clean”.
June 11, 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.
May 30, 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.
May 24, 2018
Conversion of Inches to Feet (in decimals)
Length in the United States is still primarily measured using inches and feet – inches add up to feet add up to yards add up to miles. These are called Imperial units. The vastly more common way on the planet of measuring distance is by using the metric system – millimeters add up to centimeters add up to meters add up to kilometers.
May 17, 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.
May 8, 2018
Balance Sheet – Knowing the Basics of Liabilities
The balance sheet says a great deal about a company. If you’re a business owner you better know how to read your own, as well as that of your clients and subcontractors. This week we discuss the Liabilities section.
April 30, 2018
Estimate Handoff – Estimators to Field Team
It’s great that your estimators just landed a new project, but your competitive advantage can be lost without a synchronized handoff to the field team. Make sure to have a formal meeting between the estimating and project management teams before the project starts. Estimator knows best.
April 30, 2018
Why track extra costs…and how?
Whether you use a functional cost coding system to track the cost of your original scope or not, it is imperative that you accurately account for costs outside of your base scope. Learn why, and how, to account for these extra costs outside of your original scope.
April 30, 2018
The “All Zeroes One” Code Prevents Lost A/P Invoices
A key component of job cost reporting is accurate posting of accounts payable (A/P). The time between receiving the invoice in the mail and posting it to your job cost reports can be fatal to a job, or a company. The answer is to not let the invoice out of the main office until it’s been posted to the project. Use the “all zeroes one” code to capture this cost in a job immediately.
April 30, 2018
Calc. of Workers’ Comp, Gen. Liab. & Bond in your Est.
Many estimators do not understand how workers’ compensation, general liability, and bond costs are calculated. This article discusses these calculations and how to properly include them in your bid.
April 28, 2018
The $5 Casio: Your Best Tool
With all of today’s fancy and complex tools available in the marketplace, nothing is more important than simple calculations (and common sense). Rely on simplicity and basic math to check your work.
April 28, 2018
Here’s where you should be using QR Codes today in your Construction Company
If you have a discrete thing that you want to know about or report about now, use QR codes. Don’t be wary of the technology or think it’s a hassle to use. It’s simple and powerful technology. You can use it today. You need it. One email or phone call to us and you’ll have it – we know construction, period.
April 28, 2018
Engineers and Architects Gotta Step It Up
Contractors for as long as I can remember have been taking on risk that is not theirs to take. Engineers and architects can do a much better job of protecting projects by improving design and management of the construction process.
April 28, 2018
Proposal Terms and Conditions
Submitting a clear and concise proposal is an important step in getting the project off on the right foot. An ambiguous proposal welcomes dispute. Be complete in the listing of terms and conditions in your proposals.
April 28, 2018
I See Claims…
Construction is a litigious business. Often times the signs were right in front of you from day one. Pay attention and look for the behaviors of the parties that often indicate inevitable dispute and possibly a claim at the end of the job.
April 28, 2018
Why Hire a Management Consultant?
Consultants sometimes carry a bad rap for what they do. They’re expensive and actual or perceived value is not recognized in their effort. Consider what they do bring to the table that your firm cannot.
April 28, 2018
Letters – Keep them Simple & Discrete
Written communication is a skill every good project manager must have. Knowing how to write a letter is critical during the project, and afterward in the case of a claim. Basic pointers for writing good construction letters are presented here.
April 28, 2018
Standardized Contracts and ConsensusDocs: a Win-Win
Standardized contracts provide tremendous benefit to the construction industry – they benefit the owner and the contractor. ConsensusDocs is the leading standardized contracts provider utilizing plain speak and fair risk allocation.
April 27, 2018
A Cheap Lawyer
Construction projects are becoming more and more litigious. The cost of outside counsel is practically its own line item in a contractor’s estimate these days. Hiring a junior attorney today for pennies may later save you dollars.
April 27, 2018