I am a Construction Project Manager & will answer your questions

6 Replies

I have been successfully managing projects for over 30 years and will be happy to answer questions regarding ways to control your projects to keep costs down and quality high. Running construction projects can be intimidating whether they are single homes, remodels or multi family. You, as project manager (which is what you are if you are in charge of your building project), must be able to project your vision to architects, city or county planning groups, your financiers, your subcontractors and their employees. It is complicated but very satisfying. So, ask away.

@James Birdsall

The permits in my area and the associated inspections take a lot longer than I think they should.  Do you have any advice on how to get those turned over quicker?  Make friends with the staff or something, or would that violate ethics guidelines?

Originally posted by @James Birdsall :

I have been successfully managing projects for over 30 years and will be happy to answer questions regarding ways to control your projects to keep costs down and quality high. Running construction projects can be intimidating whether they are single homes, remodels or multi family. You, as project manager (which is what you are if you are in charge of your building project), must be able to project your vision to architects, city or county planning groups, your financiers, your subcontractors and their employees. It is complicated but very satisfying. So, ask away.

Hi James,

15 hours and not so many questions.

Maybe if you talked like a teacher about [1] ways to control projects, [2] how to keep costs down, and [3] how to keep quality high, it might start this thread out more powerfully vs asking what they want to know (because a blind man cannot see, but he can be led--Confusious)

Because this can be a GREAT thread.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSpUJICN7JE

Kris, some of this is out of our control. They tend to move at their own pace. However, do get to know the staff. I don't know the situation in Tampa but I can tell you what I do here In Boise. At the very beginning of a new project I go in and meet with a planner, some places you may need to make an appointment. I show up with at least preliminary drawings and a description of the property. Then I start asking questions. These folks have a lot of knowledge about your local real estate market and the codes and restrictions that can be very useful. This is not about making friends as it is getting to know them and them getting to know you. It also lets them know you are concerned about doing everything correctly. They will remember that. With inspections it is the same thing. If I am waiting for an inspection I will call and find out who the inspector is assigned to this job. Then I call him and introduce myself and ask when he expects to come and very subtly let him know that the sooner the better. Just be very friendly. At the appointed time meet him there face to face and thank him for coming. Then find something to do to keep your self busy. Do not hang around him! If he finds a problem he will find you. Hope this helps.
Originally posted by @Kris L. :

@James Birdsall

The permits in my area and the associated inspections take a lot longer than I think they should.  Do you have any advice on how to get those turned over quicker?  Make friends with the staff or something, or would that violate ethics guidelines?

 I have been a GC, PM and superintendent most of my life. One thing that is a steady constant is ask questions at the inspection dept. Even if you already know the answers. They love to talk about their knowledge and would love to "teach" you what you may already know. Most inspectors dont know what they dont know. They are hired as former plumbers, electricians or whatever. But they are good in certain areas for sure. 

As far as the front office, good luck. 

@Scott Mac , Thanks for your comment. Sorry for the delay in answering, got busy. How to keep costs down? Question everything. Costs come in many guises. Time costs, material costs, regulatory costs and mistake costs. Think of each one as something you need to pay attention to.

Time costs: Every minute costs you money. Scheduling your subcontractors is a tricky business. Say you have 7 different subcontractors that need to be on site one after the other. They all have their own schedules and you are only one of them. This is, again, another relationship building exercise. Don't expect them to show up on X day just because they said they would. Keep in touch with them as their turn is coming up, like two weeks ahead to confirm. You will be on the phone a lot. And always be nice.

Material costs: Most of your materials will be commodities and no one can do too much about that. However, find suppliers that will go beyond the sale and take care of you. That is valuable. This can only come with experience. But when you are short one beam hanger that is hard to find and they bring one out from 20 miles away for free so your framer can keep working, that's valuable.

Mistake costs: Your suppliers, your subcontractors and you will make mistakes. Your suppliers should own up and make good. Your subcontractors are going to be a mixed bag. If you really understand what they are doing you can spot their mistakes. This is about keeping your eyes open and seeing to it that they fix or repair their own mistakes. Some of these can be very expensive.

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