On the Job Site: Varsity Park Overview

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

There 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

2020 Bloopers

Aggressive Schedule, Quality Construction & Competitive Pricing… How to Get All 3 (Part 2)

There 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:

1. Aggressive schedule
2. Quality construction
3. 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 second one on the list….quality.

Often we have clients that are clear from the start that schedule is not important and they want the necessary time taken to plan and build without feeling rushed.  Their most important goal is to have it “done right” How do we make sure we get the design quality right and the construction quality right?  I will suggest a few keys in each phase.

Design Quality:

  • It is important to clarify the client’s goals and expectations.  The spaces needed and the size and shape of them are clearly documented as an OPR (Owner Project Requirements) document is completed.
  • Consultants – including architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and civil design professionals – are brought into a well-coordinated process early on.
  • Adequate time is given for document review to check for errors and inconsistencies.
  • The construction team members are brought in to look at constructability, to make sure it can actually be built effectively and safely the way it has been designed.

Construction Quality:

  • Subcontractors are selected that are known for quality workmanship.  Good quality is impossible without the right team.
  • The project superintendent is selected with experience in the project type being constructed.
  • Pre-installation meetings are held before each major task is performed to make sure all parties (PM, Superintendent and Subcontractors) are on the same page in regards to safety, and quality expectations.
  • A reasonable schedule is established that allows the work to be completed without trades working over top of each other or feeling rushed to complete.
  • Consistent project meetings are held to work out conflicts in drawings and to adequately define expectations.

We are often reminded that a missed week or two in a schedule can have a short term impact, but poor construction quality never goes away.

Our project superintendents, who average over 15 years at Harman, are standing on the front line when it comes to quality. Their daily oversight, coupled with years of experience, help ensure a quality product is delivered for each customer.

We could not be more proud of our team of professionals and the value each brings Harman.

Our team looks to extend the value of our people to our clients and help them “get it right” with quality throughout the construction process.