Aggressive project management
August 1, 2005
It’s about being the last one on the job. “Every one else is paid and gone”; “We are paying for the previous subs’ [subcontractors’] mistakes”; “We were held up and now our schedule is condensed.” These common phrases echo throughout our industry. When faced with these situations, our jobs become very frustrating. Why accept these scenarios when they are preventable?
Workers at Trainor Glass Co. have a motto of “First one in wins,” and we have seen greater success across the country by following this concept. Traditionally, glass has become the last thing installed on a base building. Therefore, glaziers have found it necessary to be creative in seeking ways to get in earlier, and this involves every phase of the project, not just installation.
Here is a list of ways to be first:
1. Start your submittal and shop drawing process the minute you know the job is yours. If your shop drawings are the first to be reviewed—and you can make this happen—then you will be the subcontractor who drives the dimensions on the job. This will eliminate potential problems later such as paying for the previous subcontractors’ mistakes.
2. Get material approvals before your shop drawings are approved. This way, you can book orders early and prevent delays.
3. Coordinate dimensions in person with the surrounding substrate, subcontractors and the general contractor and have a written agreement including tolerances and schedule. Again, do this early.
4. Double check the dimensions of the work provided by surrounding subcontractors and even the structural steel erector. A column being off by 3⁄4 inch may seem fine to the steel erector, but it can cost you a bunch if your materials are pre-ordered. This is an extremely pre-emptive and proactive approach; and yes, it will feel like you are doing someone else’s job, but it is mandatory if you truly want to prevent future problems.
5. Fabricate everything early. It’s cheaper to load a $100-per-month trailer on site with your materials than it is to be late and pay for overtime.
6. Find a way to install early. If the roofer is late but the precast is up, don’t wait for the roofer. You may bang heads with the general contractor on your attempts to get this done, but beating his schedule will surely get you more future work with this customer.
It’s amazing how much smaller your punch lists are when you are way ahead of schedule. This approach seems like common sense these days, yet I still hear arguments against it. One of the biggest concerns protection of installed materials.
We are currently installing Trainor’s hurricane-impact glazing system at terminals D and E at the
Even though this concept is proven and works, sometimes the general contractor needs convincing to buy into this approach. Many contractors believe going into a project that it will be field measured by the glass subcontractor, even on large-scale projects. This is why it is imperative to meet with the general contractor and the other subcontractors to plan your strategy and let them know the approximate time you’ll be on the job and the sequence of construction that you anticipate. If you are the one to call this meeting and you set the agenda, the concept will be an easy sell.
Your entire team must buy into the concept and be fully committed to it. Our team members in