Stakeholders: The Personal Side of Construction

Stakeholders are best defined as individuals who actively participate in a construction project and/or are affected as a result of the finished product. A construction project may have multiple stakeholders who fall under a broad spectrum of functions and tasks. Identifying the key stakeholders and assessing their needs are important aspects of any major construction job.

The primary stakeholders of a commercial construction project are the owner, employees and customers of the business.  Listening to their needs and designing the project around them is critical.  Roles that are innately tied to the jobsite, such as the Construction Manager and Subcontractors, are secondary stakeholders.  Financial institutions that fund projects and government agencies that regulate building procedures also have a stake in a project’s success.

Among these parties, the size and scope of the job does not deem who is more/less important. All stakeholders should fulfill their function(s) in a timely manner, track deadlines without major oversight, and communicate effectively with other stakeholders or members of a team.

At the onset of a construction process, take the time to identify the key stakeholders and ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities. Doing so will save time and also help ensure that the finished product is of a high quality


Quality in Construction Projects

Quality, while being highly subjective, is integral to any major construction project. Quality can be defined as meeting the legal, aesthetic, and functional requirements of a project. The specifics of the projects may vary depending on the primary goals, but quality is obtained when the pre-established requirements of the job are met. Inefficiencies on the job site, whether they stem from human or material issues, are a major detractor when pursuing quality during a job. More recently, an influx of competition and a crowded market have forced construction companies to raise their standards and provide quality work.

Obtaining quality standards ensures that the customer is satisfied and that their project will allow them to remain competitive and achieve their personal goals with regards to the structure. A construction team is responsible for establishing the means, methods, and procedures that will yield a quality finished product. While quality may come with a cost, the price of poor quality and the various inefficiencies that go along with it, will often supersede the cost of actual quality.

Introducing quality standards early on in the process and revisiting as each phase begins and concludes will promote higher standards for the team and project. It seems as though the old adage of quality over quantity is invariably true in today’s construction industry. 

The Importance of Budgeting Your Construction Project Proactively

If you’re a business owner beginning a construction project, there is a multitude of moving parts to navigate. However, no decision is more important than the choice to take a proactive role in budgeting your construction project. Doing so could save time and future headaches down the road.

A budget is more than just a number. To those beginning major projects, it is best viewed as a plan expressed in dollars. With regards to construction, this plan could revolve around developing an entirely new building or renovating an existing one. However, it is integral that whatever your planned project is that it be viewed simply as a plan.  A budget should serve more as a roadmap than a guardrail that’s rigidity prevents alterations or future changes from being made.

When discussing budget, it is beneficial to formulate a decision making process that will be followed as the construction phase begins. Select a contractor who has the authority to provide answers and make changes on the job site. The ability to make decisions and streamline communication will promote promptness, eliminate confusion and save money.

It is essential that individuals who are part of the decision making team are familiar with the organization’s available funds and cost structure. An awareness of the goals and requirements of the project will help all members of the team stay on the same page. Appointing an experienced contractor and architect/engineer to your team will help to define both the scope of the project and the cost implications of each decision as well.

Construction projects are every bit as exciting as they can be complicated and expensive. By budgeting proactively early on in the construction process, you can help ensure that the process goes smoothly and help to alleviate potential difficulties down the road.



Benefitting from Owner’s Representative Services

Business growth, while exciting, comes with more than its fair share of challenges. The possibility of expanding operations and/or constructing entirely new facilities should elicit feelings of anticipation and pride, not stress. When operating a business on a full-time basis such decisions as where to build and how to do it — can add unnecessary strain. Through the use of an Owner’s Representative, some of that aforementioned pressure can be alleviated and the growing pains associated with expansion, relieved.

Owner’s Representatives serve as personal advocates for your construction project. By monitoring the project from start to finish, an Owner’s Representative helps to proactively manage a project, minimizing risks and hazardous surprises that may occur along the way. With the avoidance of potential problems comes the assurance that the job will stay on schedule and be completed on time.

An Owner’s Representative begins their service by aligning a client’s design criteria, vision, budget, and schedule. They are instrumental in contract coordination as well. The Owner’s Representative is charged with protecting their customer’s best interest, which includes utilizing the most cost effective solutions throughout the project. It is important to bring on an Owner’s Representative early on in the construction process so as to make the most significant impact.

An experienced Owner’s Representative will have an in-depth knowledge of the construction process from imagination to completion and is fluent in the language that is steeped in the various phases of the construction process. With their focus on the bottom line and value-added options, the services of an Owner’s Representative are a worthy investment.

To learn more about Direct Steel and Owner’s Representatives, click here

The Significance of a Well Defined Scope Statement

With the passage of time comes the desire, occasionally the requirement, to upgrade existing facilities. Perhaps the interior is out of style, perhaps the building needs to be expanded, or perhaps an entirely new building needs to be constructed from the ground up. No matter what the goal is, your award-winning project begins with a comprehensive scope statement.

Writing a scope statement is an important first step in any project. A scope statement serves as a written confirmation of anticipated results that will guide Project Managers and team members once work begins. It identifies the objectives and goals that must be met to succeed.  A well-defined scope statement is essential for obtaining financing. In addition to establishing a realistic budget, you must assess your current challenges and pair them with potential outcomes if the project does not succeed.

Ensuring that your team is part of the scope creation process will promote long-term success and enable the project to stay on schedule. “Beneficiaries,” or those who will use and benefit from the construction of new facilities, should also be consulted during the scope statement process.

When beginning to draft your scope statement, try to answer these questions:

  • What problem will this construction project address?
  • What is the project goal?
  • What objectives will the project accomplish to achieve this goal?
  • What criteria will determine if the objectives have been accomplished?

Once you’ve answered these questions and feel that the answers align with your project goals, review them with your construction team and key staff members. This will make certain that everyone understands the goals of the project and their personal involvement as the project gets underway.  Drafting a scope statement at the onset of a project is an integral first step to any successful construction venture.

The Emergence of Technology on the Construction Site

What if you were able to see your new office building, factory, or warehouse before the construction crew so much as broke ground on the project? With the recent emergence of virtual reality in the construction industry, consumers are now able to create mockups of potential projects and tour them early in the development process.

Building Information Modeling, or BIM, is revolutionizing an industry that has long been  notoriously slow to adopt new technological practices and solutions. BIM offers all members of a project team the benefits of seeing a digital model long before construction begins. It also promotes communication between team members leading to an alignment of scope, budget, schedule, and quality.

In a 2015 study by Autodesk, those who had used BIM were surveyed and reported a 66% decrease in project schedules, a 65% decrease in project budgets, and a 77% decrease in construction waste. In short, BIM has promoted efficiency across (virtually) the entire construction process.

With the continued societal desire to stay connected as well as ever-expanding smartphone capabilities, smart buildings and data-driven Building Information Modeling may very well be the future of the construction industry. The emergence of this technology marks a major step forward for the industry as a whole.

Scheduling Excellence

There’s nothing worse than when a construction project falls behind schedule. Such delays can become both costly and frustrating to a client as well as being demoralizing for a team. While there are certain delays that are unavoidable, such as weather, many can be easily prevented through proper scheduling and the development of contingency plans prior to the start of the project.

By developing a detailed and realistic schedule early on in the construction process, an owner sets his/herself up for success. Such a plan should include pre-construction activities and should take into account, both time and weather constraints. By checking in with your construction management team during the planning process, an owner also ensures that the scope of the project is understood fully by those who will coordinate the building process.

As this plan is put together it is also important to make sure that each member of the team is aware of their role/responsibility with regards to the project. Doing so will promote accountability and efficiency. This will, in turn, lead to fewer critical errors on the job site and time lost when tasks are not completed.

As the schedule is developed and the project is underway, the construction manager should continue to revisit and revamp the schedule as changes occur and minor delays happen. Even the most detailed of schedules developed prior to the start of a project are subject to change. As time passes, so too may your goals. By continually revisiting your project schedule, a construction manager is able to circumvent delays and issues that may arise.

Delays happen and goals will, invariably, change. However, properly scheduling a project early on in the construction process can help you better prepare for the challenges that may come your way. When developing this schedule, remember to communicate with your team and revisit the schedule as time passes. No one can predict the future, but through proper scheduling you can be ready for whatever the future may hold.