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Why does a contractor’s proposal matter?

Why does a contractor’s proposal matter?

There is is a world of difference between naive and cynical. Between the two extremes is experience. It’s amazing the things we do when we were young and naive. Am I right?

I did some crazy things when I was young. Looking back, it’s hard to believe I drove home from college in a clunker of a car – a 1972 Beetle. My youthful exuberance didn’t break even after my 1970 AMC Hornet died during my move. I did this by myself in the days before cell phones were commonplace. You were lucky enough to have call boxes on the highway.

Today, I’m in a panic if I don’t have my cell phone. What a difference twenty years makes.

Buying a car is like hiring a general contractor.

I think we’d all agree that only a naive person would buy a car on the internet based price alone. Continue reading

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“The Conductor” by Christine Schmidt on Flickr

Does a project need a superintendent? Does an orchestra need a conductor?

“Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble.” Wikipedia 

You just bought tickets to see a symphony. You and your Plus One are in black tie, expecting the night of your life – a night to remember.

The curtain opens. Puzzled, you don’t notice a conductor. It shouldn’t matter. You look at each other and smile. The orchestra begins. How will it sound?

Just like a symphony, tradespeople and their teams need to be coordinated. If there isn’t onsite supervision and project management, where do they look to?

Does the floor go in first or the doors? Does it matter? You have drawings so everyone’s on the same page. You think. Continue reading

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Lego Bricks by Benjamin Esham, on Flickr

Why Design-Build is Like Building the Millennium Falcon from the Lego Kit, Not Garage Sale Finds

As an avid Star Wars fan you promised your nine-year-old son that your next project together would be building the Millennium Falcon. Great Father-Son time, right?

Then you go to the Lego store and the cost seems steeper than you had imagined. But it does come with 6 figures including Han Solo and Chewbacca, of course. And who can turn down a rotating laser cannon?

Plus, it has the directions. Now, you can go online and download them but pfft, it’s not original.

Still, your wife says it’s not in the budget so you get creative.

You decide to download the directions and use the lego bricks from the seven collections you already have. Good thinking – frugality is a plus.

The Falcon needs thousands of pieces! Who wants to start a project you can’t finish? Continue reading

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Is your building watertight? Creative Commons Attribution Seaglass by Ken on Flickr

Is Your Building Watertight?

 

There is more to a building’s waterproofing than its roof.

Now, the roof is important don’t get me wrong, but there are other areas that should be carefully monitored.

We’re talking about a force of nature whose erosion created The Grand Canyon. Water is not to be ignored. Remember, water always travels the path of least resistance.

Water is great for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. Who doesn’t love a cup of coffee? But you do not want it invading your building. Its damage isn’t limited to rusting steel rebar within concrete. The smallest amount of moisture can allow mold to grow. Yikes. Who wants to breathe that?

In Southern California we are spoiled with a Mediterranean climate and an average annual rainfall of just under 15 inches (Seattle is 37 inches). This weather dynamic gives us beautiful days and awesome sunsets but the lack of rainfall causes us to forget and possibly neglect these waterproofing issues.

Roof

Depending upon your roof type, there are many areas of concern. These areas can be caught during regular roof maintenance (see more detailed blog post here).

HVAC Condensate

Condensate from roof-top equipment is required to exit to an approved receptor through approved piping. In no way do you want any kind of water, condensate or otherwise, just dripping and pooling on your roof. Continue reading

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Anne Street - Before and After - Tilt-Up Panel Replacement

Project Profile: Anne Street Fire Damage Repairs

We are proud to announce the completion of the design-build restoration to a building recently damaged by a neighbor’s fire.

The client took the opportunity, since much of the roof structure was damaged, to replace the entire roof with four-ply built-up roof system. Six skylights were replaced and two were added, increasing the natural light throughout the warehouse. Additionally, a self-flashing galvanized steel roof access hatch was installed.

A 3-ton heat pump unit was replaced and it was relocated onto a factory curb to minimize leak potential.

During reroofing is the best time for a volunteer seismic retrofit of the building and that is precisely what our client opted for. We also replaced the tilt-up panel that had been compromised structurally (it bowed outward) with two new concrete tilt-up panels.

Continue reading

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RBC Transport Dynamics - This is the new entrance of the building which is more inviting and makes a statement.

Project Profile: RBC Transport Dynamics

Riggins Construction & Management, Inc. is proud to announce the completion of the design-build RBC Transport Dynamics project right in the heart of Orange County, California.

The goal for this project was to create a cohesive facility on this two-building, two-shift manufacturing campus. The caveat is that the work had to be performed while maintaining their production levels at 100%.

The building unification combined the manufacturing and production area, test labs, and chemical storage with a new, engaging office space and high-end training facility. Two existing buildings were connected by a new building addition. A new steel-framed, metal building for chemical storage and bead-blasting was also added on site.

The second phase of this project was twofold: create fluid access and incorporate additional security features. Monument and site signage was added as well as the creation of a focal point from the street. The new metal-clad entry with its aluminum sun shade louvers does this beautifully. Continue reading

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Buying a Building is a Risky Business – Get a Survey First

samplesurveyRisk. We all crave it to one extent or another. Whether we surf 20′ waves, mountain bike on a narrow path in the dark, or cross the street where there’s no crosswalk, risk is part of our daily lives. And, to be truthful, every decision has a degree of risk.

An example of a low-level risk is when you’re at a diner. You could order the cheeseburger with onion rings and run the risk of an upset stomach. The risk is whether or not the momentary pleasure is worth future discomfort.

People often say the “bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.” That may be true but the risk is still big in that scenario.

When you start looking for a building, presumably with your real estate broker, emotion sets in. You may feel charmed, intrigued, and, well, ready to make the deal. Endorphins kick in. Like eating the cheeseburger and savoring all of its flavors, you have now entered the lizard brain zone where logic is not welcome. Continue reading

#ConstChat Questions 8/20/15 Training

Hire Slowly — Fire Quickly #ConstChat Recap on Training

Construction Chat is a weekly chat on Thursday mornings at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time. If you’re free, we’d love you to join us.

Training Employees

We all get newbies. They may know our industry, but do they know how we work?

This chat was a bit more lively than even expected but the summary is this:

Hire right. Pair with Vet who knows culture and has outline of major points to learn. Rinse. Repeat.

Here are some highlights on training best practices.

  • “If the company vets the right candidates there are less bumps in the road… unless they’re necessary.” Jewett Construction
  • “Pairing a new employee w/an experienced one is a great way to provide orientation. Formal or informal.” The Ferri Group
  • “Don’t stop at one, pair them with as many as you can throughout the training.” Construction Data
  • “Also, assign mentors who can work more in-depth with the new individual from a culture perspective.” Zircon Tool Pro 
  • “I think shadowing is effective. Better than a video or “reading” a program. They get a real feel of company culture.” The Ferri Group
  • “And having someone patient that’s going to take the time to make sure that you get whatever it is and that it sticks is HUGE.” Fabuwood Cabinetry
  • “The best training is probably tailored to the trainee’s learning style.” Construction Data 
  • “Depending on the position we set up several training sessions teaching them about our products and procedures.” Hager Co
  • “There are 2 distinct sides: Job Tasks and the Culture. Likely not the same person would intro the newbie to both.” CGI Container Sales
  • “A company should always take time to train a new ‘ee, even when they’re experienced in the industry. Good way to ID bad habits.” The Ferri Group
  • “We also have a ‘customer is always right’ viewpoint, so there’s that training, too.” Window Works CA
  • “I think it’s important to make new hires aware of exactly what their role/responsibilities are & what goals you have for them.” Jorg Material Handling
  • “I think that on the job training is great because there are things that you just can’t/don’t learn in school.” Fabuwood Cabinetry 
  • “Particularly with safety, we have our own training course, a manual, guide, etc.” General Heating
  • “Cross-function training is great so employees get a feel for what everyone else does.” Construction Data
  • “Have a written training program for consistency, don’t just fly by the seat of your pants.” Construction Data
  • “Draw up a formal training plan to make sure its all covered. Include human element. Make it engaging.” Feeney, Inc.
  • “Constant continued learning is absolutely critical but a training guide can help in the early parts of the learning process.” Capital Tristate 
  • “Training should be on-going. We all want to get better and better. Never rest!” Feeney, Inc.
  • “Stay consistent, and check in to ensure employee is happy.” Fabuwood Cabinetry 
  • “If you need help with new hire training, ask your workers comp carrier or ins broker, they often have great resources.” The Ferri Group

What is your advice for training new hires?

 

 

#ConstChat Questions 8/20/15 Training

Employee Training – #ConstChat Questions 8/20/15

Are you in construction? Do you want to build up your following? Are you looking to connect with the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) community?

You’re in luck!

Joining our weekly Twitter Chat may just be the right thing for you.

Construction Chat is on Thursday mornings at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

How to Join a Chat:

1. Follow the hashtag on Twitter (but don’t forget to add #ConstChat manually after your tweet or we won’t see your tweet).

2. Use Hootsuite or TweetDeck and make a column for #ConstChat (but don’t forget to put #ConstChat manually after your tweet).

3. Go to the Twubs page for #ConstChat.

4. My preferred method is using TweetChat. Just go here and log in with your Twitter account. You can even highlight the moderator so you don’t miss questions.

Training Employees

We all get newbies. They may know our industry, but do they know how we work?

Q1 What is the best method to train a new employee? Continue reading

Blogging - #ConstChat Topic 8/13/15 Co-Hosted by Tess Wittler

Blogging, Co-Schedule, Trello, Oh My! #ConstChat Recap

Construction Chat is a weekly chat on Thursday mornings at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time. If you’re free, we’d love you to join us.

Blogging for Contractors

Today’s chat topic and questions are from Tess Wittler, a regular chat participant, and blogging for contractors expert. Check out her 52 Ideas post.

But first, some of her tips.

  • Construction is so visual – photo blogs or vlogs with bullet points.
  • I started using a few weeks ago and love it! CoSchedule has analytics, “drip” posting, and a content calendar all built into it, and is also a WordPress plugin if you want it. CoSchedule – you need to pay for it, BUT totally is worth the cost, IMO.
  • I use Trello to gather my blogging ideas. Trello connects with Google Docs (as does CoSchedule) so you always have one place to gather, write and post your blogs. Link to Trello .
  • Smart approach is to post a blog article and then “drip” it out to the social media over days.
  • This may be “old school” but I use Feedly to gather online pubs/blogs to browse.
  • Most people are VISUAL learners.
  • Learning preference of visual is why YouTube and photos on Facebook are so effective!
  • Re ROI – you can’t always measure tangilble in marketing efforts, but you know what’s working.
  • Sometimes we get so focused on sharing WORDS that we forget there are other ways to share content that’s interesting and helpful.
  • Can any of you line up a few “guest” blog writers? Perhaps suppliers or others in the company?

 

Questions:

Q1. Where do you find topics to write about?

Continue reading

Blogging - #ConstChat Topic 8/13/15 Co-Hosted by Tess Wittler

Blogging – #ConstChat Questions Co-Hosted by Tess Wittler 8/13/15

Are you in construction? Do you want to build up your following? Are you looking to connect with the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) community?

You’re in luck!

Joining our weekly Twitter Chat may just be the right thing for you.

Construction Chat is on Thursday mornings at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time.

How to Join a Chat:

1. Follow the hashtag on Twitter (but don’t forget to add #ConstChat manually after your tweet or we won’t see your tweet).

2. Use Hootsuite or TweetDeck and make a column for #ConstChat (but don’t forget to put #ConstChat manually after your tweet).

3. Go to the Twubs page for #ConstChat.

4. My preferred method is using TweetChat. Just go here and log in with your Twitter account. You can even highlight the moderator so you don’t miss questions.

Blogging for Contractors

Today’s chat topic and questions are from Tess Wittler, a regular chat participant, and blogging for contractors expert. Check out her 52 Ideas post.

Questions:

Q1. Where do you find topics to write about?

Q2. How often do you post a new article to your blog?

Q3. What’s your biggest hang-up to blogging?

Q4. What kind of Return on Investment (ROI) do you see from blogging?

Q5. Have you tried using other content in your blog, such as videos, info-graphics, audio? If so, what?

Q6. How important will blogging be for your company in the next year and why?

Q7. When it comes to blogging, what do you want to know more about?

See you then!

Construction Chat - Content Curation 8/6/15

Curation Takes Time — #ConstChat Recap

Construction Chat is a weekly chat on Thursday mornings at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time. If you’re free, we’d love you to join us.

Content Curation

Today’s chat topic and questions are from Loni Morrey aka @MaterialHndling, a regular chat participant.

Bonus Tweets

 

Q1. How is content curation important to your marketing strategy?

Continue reading