As an independent contractor or a Project Manager (PM) within a large construction company, the goals are the same: produce quality work, on time and on budget. If properly bid out with no surprises along the way, then “on budget” can be more easily accomplished. But it’s construction, and we all know what can and will go wrong. So how can you attempt to keep on schedule and budget?
Regardless of a huge undertaking or small project, each job should be addressed with the traditional five phases of project management: initiation, planning, execution, performance and monitoring, and closure.
When those five areas are thought through, it helps keep everyone (including architects, contractors, suppliers, etc.) along the process on the same page and offers a reference point for the PM to go back to if issues arise.
A few key strategies for staying on budget include the following:
- Don’t Forecast and Forget. Construction budgets can implode very quickly. It’s important to not just monitor the budget, but also to reforecast it several times along the life of the project. Would you rather face having to correct a 15 percent budget overrun, or a 60 percent overrun?
- Labor Management. Many larger construction companies, as well as owner-builders, are likely to hire a number of subcontractors. It’s important to find and hire good subs and to manage them effectively. This is where Parkinson's Law comes in. Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time available for it. A HBR article sums it up like this: “The farther you are from the goal the less important it appears to you, and the less up front effort you expend to get it done. The closer the delivery time comes the more importance the deadline assumes. To minimize the incidence of this effect: (1) don’t ignore the possibility that apparently minor sub tasks may turn into major time sinks, and (2) break up the goal into several smaller sub goals strategically spaced out in time.”
- Research (All) Material Costs. You can save big with some pricing research. What can you buy in bulk? What equipment can you buy used? Which supplies give you quality and speed like the SCRAIL® fastener? Yes, even a fastener can help you stay on budget! How you ask?
When you use the crossover combination of a screw and a nail, you get many advantages over just the common nail or screw, such as:
- Increased speed of application, which results in significant savings in labor costs.
- Driven by a pneumatic gun, they're twice as fast as the typical collated screw and eight times faster than manually installed bulk screws.
- They're designed and manufactured specifically for ease of use in most commercially available coil or strip nailers, so no new or custom equipment is required.
- Their unique configuration provides dramatically increased holding power when compared to the common screw or nail.
- Since the thread configuration means they can easily be adjusted and/or quickly removed.
The best part – there’s a wide range of specific configurations to optimize labor performance in applications such as drywall installation, framing, sub-flooring, decking, fencing, crate manufacturing, light gauge steel construction, furniture, and more. There’s even a JUMBO SCRAIL® which makes the monumental task of building a log home, for example, easier than ever.