One Step Ahead: Keep Your Team and Customers Informed of Project Challenges

By Craig Carson

Material costs and labor shortages have brought challenging times. It seems like we are receiving notices from suppliers monthly, if not more frequently, regarding price increases or material shortages. Labor has been an issue as well, given the lack of trained installers and fabricators. I’d like to offer some advice to keep your customers (architects and general contractors) informed of these material notices. They (and you) are under contractual obligations, and you need to take steps to educate them about what is happening in our marketplace.

Attention to Detail

Let’s start with this: your shop drawings must be correct. That way, when they are approved, you can order your materials properly. You might be surprised how often the shop drawings don’t represent what the estimator intended in the take-off. I have always argued that the turnover process from sales and estimating to operations is not a simple one-hour meeting and file sharing. If the two teams see the project differently, they need to have a process to discuss the differences of opinion and figure out how best to move forward with the project.

I also encourage conferring with your fabrication and field teams. In some cases, one manufacturer’s detail appears similar to another’s but is, in fact, much more challenging to fabricate and install. You need to recognize this and understand that sometimes, material costs may be higher from one manufacturer to another, but the labor is less to fabricate or install.

Staying on Schedule

You also need to check your project construction schedules closely, as you will likely need to commit to suppliers sooner than usual and closely follow their progress for material deliveries. This does take more of your project manager’s time, but you can’t afford to be surprised by a late material delivery. Labor shortages, I believe, will be less of a problem as workers return once government subsidies are eliminated. Only time will tell, but be proactive.

On Another Note

If you’ve been following this column, you know that I’ve started a new position with 8G Solutions and opened a Denver office for them. It’s been exciting, and I feel reenergized from the support of my colleagues in and outside the company. One of the most rewarding parts has been hand-selecting the team members to join me and their overwhelmingly positive response. I feel truly blessed and will do my best to provide the support and positive workplace culture our company promotes and our team members deserve.

As always, the devil is in the details.

Craig Carson is the vice president and general manager of 8G Solutions in Denver.

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