5 Construction Management Secrets We Think You Should Know

There’s no doubt that every industry has tricks-of-the-trade or expert knowledge that is invaluable, and the construction management industry is no different. With that said, we also don’t think this knowledge should be locked up and kept for ourselves. So, we’ve compiled a list of the 5 construction management secrets we think you should know. These will save you time and money, which we all know are the top priorities when building and developing. 

1. Always have the construction team involved in the design process

If you’ve read any of our blogs, or talked to us for that matter, you’ll know that we believe this is one of the most important aspects for a successful project.

A lot of companies wait until the drawings are done to look for a construction management company to begin tendering out trades and supplies. We humbly disagree with this approach. 

Architects and planners are experts in their field, they are amazing at designing and envisioning. Engineers are experts at knowing if a design is mathematically feasible. While the construction management team has boots on the ground experience. This brings a completely different perspective to the project, the ‘hands in the clay’ understanding of how a project will unfold. Construction management companies are also acutely aware of the costs and feasibility of the designed project based on managing trades, budgets, and experience. 

Over the past 50 years, we have noticed that when we (or any construction management company) are involved early in the process we’re able to mitigate unnecessary expenses, give valuable input into the design, and help plan from the beginning for any possible problems that may arise. 

So, the long and short of it is: get a construction management company involved as early as possible in your design process, it can save you time and money, which are both precious commodities in the development world.

2. Plan around winter construction

We live in Canada. An obvious statement to be sure, but you’d be surprised how many proposed timelines we have with construction starting in the middle of winter. Don’t get us wrong, we are fully capable of starting projects in the middle of winter, but let’s be clear, this is a sure way to increase costs and go over budget. 

The most important part of the construction that should be avoided during the winter months is concrete work IE: pouring the foundation. Other aspects of construction are feasible during the winter without worrying about the weather, some exceptions apply to this of course, but generally speaking, this is true. 

To pour a foundation that will pass testing, heating and hoarding are required to thaw the ground and keep the concrete at a certain temperature so that it can cure properly. Depending on the size of the project this can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Sometimes construction has to commence in the winter, and when it’s unavoidable then the project will go on. However, if there is any way possible that when planning a project, the timeline can accommodate for the winter months, this is always best. 

Typically, when we receive a proposed timeline for a winter start, we will put together a cost-benefit analysis for the project and let the client decide if they would like to get in the ground sooner, keep the schedule, or push the schedule to a spring start date. 

No matter what your situation is, keep this in mind and assess all of your options and the costs associated with them. Again, whenever possible, avoid starting your construction project in the winter months.

3. Equipment Costs

Did you know that a lot of projects are paying for large equipment more than once along with delivery charges that are associated with getting the piece of equipment on-site? This is definitely the least known industry secret on this list. 

When a construction management company doesn’t have its own equipment the costs of this equipment are hidden in the tendering contracts. For example, say that you have three trades that need a forklift to complete their job, it’s typically assumed that there is no extra cost whether one trade needs one or three do, but this is incorrect. 

For each trade that requires the excavator, you will be charged for the transportation fee to and from the development as well as a per diem cost. So, if your construction management team doesn’t have equipment on site for the trades to use, you will be paying three times for the transportation fees, as well as paying for the equipment to sit when it’s not in use. 

This is a big reason why we provide certain equipment to each site so that it’s available to multiple trades and is rarely sitting idle. 

Make sure to ask these types of questions when looking for a construction management team, or finding a trade for your project.

4. Doubling Down on Trades

We’d all like to believe that when a schedule is put in place that it’s followed to a tee and the project is delivered on time. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, so this isn’t feasible. Just think of how Covid-19 has put a wrench into timelines, or how lumber pricing going up can affect budgets and timelines. But don’t worry, there’s almost always a way to gain time back. 

If your project is delayed at the onset, or during construction for any of the infinite reasons it could be delayed, one of the best tools is trades. 

Ask yourself (or your construction management team), are there trades that you can double up on? For example, can you have two framing crews onsite instead of one? We’ve made up over a month’s delay by having two framing crews onsite. 

Don’t be afraid to double up on trades if the timeline is important to the success of your project. Talk to the experts and ask what your options are. Once you know, you can make an informed decision on how you want to move forward.

5. Minimize Surprises

This would be the most obvious on this list, but it’s easier said than done. At the end of the day, this requires you to lean on the experts and making sure you trust the team you have in place. So, what should you be looking for?

We’ve touched on soil testing in greater depth in another blog, but it’s a perfect example for this point. As a construction management company, we don’t like surprises. There’s nothing worse than finding a creek hidden underneath the foundation, or realizing that there weren’t enough test holes done and now we’re looking for a different solution for the foundation.  

Ultimately the best way to minimize surprises is to have the construction management team in place sooner than later to collaborate with the design team and make sure all of the appropriate testing has taken place. 

Due diligence is your best friend. Of course, it’s impossible to plan for everything, but it’s important to be intelligent about the things we can test and plan for. 

We hope this blog has shed some light on some of the industry secrets and will help you keep your project on time and budget. Happy construction!


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