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5 New Years Construction Resolutions

5 New Years Construction Resolutions

The New Year is finally upon us, and I’m sure many have been looking forward to it.  As each year passes, it seems like the resolutions go with them.  What seems more like a trend to say, “This year my New Years resolutions are…”, it never seems to go further than that.  At the end of the year all you have is a piece of paper with your incomplete goals on it.  So, try something different this year.  Don’t apply New Years resolutions to only your personal life.  This year try applying New Years resolutions to your job, since when it comes down to it you spend more than half you days working anyway.  So here is a list to get you started, and make sure these goals go further than just written down on a piece of paper:

1.  Communication

As our society drifts to more technological communication, our person-to-person communication seems to suffer.  This doesn’t bode well for the construction industry.  Whether you are a contractor communicating with a client, or you are the client trying to remodel their home, communication is key.  Make sure you communicate exactly what you want/what you expect from the project whether in writing or verbally.  Keeping a log of written communication can is key to project success, and can save you if you project goes wrong.  Business Letters for the Construction Industry, A Guide to Construction Communication talks about the lack of record keeping and says, “This deficiency has resulted in costly problems that range from misunderstood winning bids to losing clients for lack of response.” (Foreward, pg. 4)  Meetings are a great way to assure all involved are on the same page and understand what is asked of them.  No matter how mundane meetings seem, they suddenly become extremely important if someone misses a detail.  So, avoid that step and make sure your team and client are all aware of the projects expectations before it even begins.

2.  Stick to the Plan

This one is always more simply said than done.  Don’t get overly creative.  Don’t take short cuts.  Don’t try to cut corners.  As contractors don’t do any of these things, and as a client don’t let your contractors do any of these things.  Plans are made for a reason.  Stick with that reason.  Stick to the plan.  Although it might seem like you are saving yourself some time or money by taking a short cut, it’s not worth it in the long run.  It’s also extremely important to stick to your timeline of the project.  Of course unexpected delays occur daily, but aiming for that finish date is one of the best ways you can make your client happy.  If time management is more of a problem for you or your team, the Construction Project Log Book from BNI Building News is the perfect resource to help you stay on task.

3.  Unclear Budget/Not Sticking to the Budget

Like plans, budgets are placed in your projects for a reason.  Sometimes it’s because project managers don’t want the project to go over a certain amount.  Other times its because that’s all the money they have.  Obviously, projects never follow the plan perfectly.  Sometimes things come up that affect the budget, and that’s out of your control.  But always stay on budget within your control.  Don’t get fancy, don’t go expensive, and don’t get lazy.  Coming in under budget and having the project actually work can reflect great on you and your team.  If you are constantly coming in over budget, word travels fast and that can affect future projects.  So, best to stay within the numbers.

4.  Doing Things Yourself

This New Year’s resolution more applies to those self-proclaimed handymen that are trying to save as much money as they can on that busted sink, but it can certainly apply to other types of contractors and professionals.  I’ll say this once.  STOP DOING PROJECTS YOURSELF.  Clearly you aren’t going to call a handyman or professional if you need a new lock, or need to tighten the screws on your door handle.  These occurrences aside please, please, please stop taking on big projects you have no idea how to start or finish.  Your spouses will still love and respect you if you don’t know how to fix the leaky sink, I promise.  Even if they don’t, it’s not worth trying to figure it out yourself and potentially making a bigger mess in the end.  We all know how fast one leaky sink turns into a waterfall of water, and then suddenly your kids are putting on their swimsuits and jumping in the puddles that are now all over your house.  So, save yourself and right from the beginning call a professional.  It might be more expensive in the end, but its money that you would have spent on Advil because of the headaches you would have created for yourself. 

5.  Not Speaking Up

Much like communication, I think this New Years resolution continues to suffer as we move toward more tech communication.  If there is something you don’t understand, or something you aren’t comfortable with on the project, speak up.  It doesn’t help anyone if you voice your concerns after the project is finished or near completion.  These are jobs you have spent money on, so what good does it do you to see them different from what you imagined or wanted.  People often associate speaking up automatically with contention and problems.  Remember, you’re dealing with professionals.  Most problems and matters will be dealt with professionally.  So, if there is something you don’t like, put a stop to it right then, and let the project continue forward.

Whether you are an architect, and inspector, an estimator, or a handyman, there is at least one resolution you can take from this list, and make 2018 the best year yet!

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