Aggressive Schedule, Quality Construction & Competitive Pricing… How to Get All 3! (Part 3)

Harman-Construction-Day-1-1116 w logoThere is an old saying in our industry that you can deliver a construction project with one or two of the following qualities but not all three:

  • Aggressive schedule
  • Quality construction
  • Competitive pricing

At Harman Construction we think it is possible to do all three but not without careful planning and a project that is set up for success right from the start.  In this blog post I will address the 3rd quality on the list – competitive pricing.

We are fortunate that most of our clients are repeat customers or referrals from previous customers.  The common theme is that they want quality and they want a contractor they trust to do the project right.  However, Competitive pricing is a must for any project.  In some cases our customers need to be in budget for corporate or board approval.  In others cases it is simply to get the best value for the dollar.  In any case our job at Harman is ensuring that the numbers are right.

I believe the following points are key to making sure competitive pricing is delivered.

  • Finding the right subcontractors.  It takes a little extra time and effort to make sure the right team is in place but we work very hard to make sure we find and develop subs that are right sized to fit our customers needs.
  • Delivering good clear well written bid documents or clarifications.  When the bid package is sloppy or unclear then less bids will be received and higher contingencies will be included.
  • Adequate time is given for bid completion.  Time is needed to check for errors and inconsistencies.  It is also critical because if not enough time is given for the bid process then less bids will be received.  Less bids can likely mean higher overall numbers from subs.
  • The GC (General Contractor) needs to treat subs and suppliers fairly and pay them well.  We learned long ago that treating our sub team members with respect will help us in the long run.  If we are consistently difficult to work with and don’t pay our bills promptly, then we will not get the best pricing from our team members.
  • Efficient scheduling and operational strategic thinking.  General conditions can be very expensive.  We work hard to make sure that our operations team can provide input on how to layer a schedule to reduce time.  Also sequencing strategies that could reduce equipment or safety costs are very important.

At the end of the day it all comes down to planning well for success and finding the right team members to help us carry out the plan.  Companies that don’t plan, or uncover details, end up throwing extra cushion in their pricing for fear of missing something.

So, it is possible to have all three –  quality, schedule and pricing – But it doesn’t happen by accident.  It starts with picking the right team and taking the time to build a plan that works for success.

This business can be a lot of fun when team members are pulling in the same direction and the clients’ goals are met.   We look forward to helping many more of our customers as we ”Deliver all three” now and into the future.

Wayne Witmer

President & COO

Green Light on Green Building

Green Building LogoI’ll have to admit, I wasn’t always a fan of green building.  Early reviews of green systems and their associated payback periods weren’t adding up to substantial value for most clients.  For this reason Harman did not pursue green building much in the early years unless asked.

However, today technologies are improving and making things like solar panels, LED lighting and skylights a more viable and affordable option for some of our clients.

In the last few years HCI have undertaken a number of large solar panel projects and have been able to include “day-lighting” into some of our industrial projects through the use of skylights.  If you are in Harrisonburg, VA stop by and check out Weaver’s Flooring America.  We added onto their warehouse space in 2014 where we were able to incorporate skylights throughout.  As a result during the day when you walk through the warehouse it’s easy to believe the lights are on, when in reality they are not.

“Pretty cool” is what I often hear after showing the skylights off.  Through the use of prismatic skylights, the light is dispersed evenly and hot spots are eliminated.  We incorporated the same system up at Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative’s (SVEC) distribution center in Mt. Jackson, VA.  Over the years day-lighting has become more and more popular and a efficient means to saving on a company’s overhead cost.

Over the last six years, Harman Construction has ramped up our efforts toward green building and becoming a leader in sustainable construction.  We are excited to have been a part of eight Green projects with six of these projects being LEED Certified jobs.  These projects have ranged from a metal building warehouse/office for SVEC to dormitories for Eastern Mennonite University.  Our latest green project is for a six story Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Northern VA.

Green projects can demand much more attention in their planning and delivery, but with a seasoned team here at Harman we are more than willing to step up to the plate and deliver.  As part of our commitment to building green we currently have three certified LEED AP’s on staff here at Harman.

Technology advancements in the green building envelope and green building systems analysis are making it easier to find the best solutions for each project.  Today there are tools that can measure multiple systems quickly, which can help us make smart, informed decisions.

Each project is unique, so finding the best solution for one project is not always the best solution for the next.  Today’s tools can help us optimize efficiency and give owners the biggest bang for their buck.

Our team is excited about what the future holds for green building and we will continue to be on the leading edge of delivering smart solutions for our clients.  If you want to talk to someone about your next building project, please give us a call.  We’d love to hear from you!

-Ryan Strite

Business Development Manager