Helping developers meet their pro-formas in the post-pandemic world: 3rd and final in a series

Through our series of articles, we’ve explained the necessity for every successful construction project to have a solid foundation, achieved through a strong and thorough preconstruction process. We’ve traveled into the construction phase of developer-led projects and explained the PC approach to solving the inevitable challenges that arise in almost every project – and how a combination of hard work and innovation gets the job done. We’ve shared our experiences with pandemic-related delays, supply chain issues and labor shortages. And we HOPE we’re seeing a light at the end of that tunnel!

Now we’ll pass along some of what we’ve heard from our many development partners over the years about the process commitments we have on the PC side, throughout the entire construction process, that help make our shared projects successful and profitable. 

  • Communication is most important – not just in the preconstruction phase, as we discussed in Article #1 of this series, but throughout the entire construction process. This active communication heads off any potential surprises on budget and cost control. The second we learn there may be an issue with a product delivery or a procurement challenge, we always let the owner know, even if we don’t have the solution right away. While in an ideal world we have a remedy in hand when we present the client with a problem, we’ve learned from experience that delaying communication often only upsets our owners. 

  • Leverage information across projects. As our construction professionals participate in other project meetings, my colleagues message me immediately if they hear others, for example, say, “We’re having trouble procuring fire alarm panels.” That way, my team and others working at various sites around the country, can get on the phone immediately to get ahead of it.  

  • “On the fly Value Engineering” is a huge element of design-to-budget and keeping a project viable. If a material cost escalates, or we run into an abnormally long lead time, we are often able to work with the design team and the owner to change a product or brands.  

  • We “trust but verify.” If a subcontractor tells us they’re having issues procuring a product, we check with other suppliers and manufacturers to see if anyone else is hearing the same story. At a recent southern New Hampshire project, we had an issue getting wood trusses. But after we did some research, we found out that it was actually the metal clips that hold the trusses together that were in short supply. After digging deeper, we discovered that it was only one vendor that was overcommitted and couldn’t keep up with demand. Once we had the right information, we were able to find another truss manufacturer that was able to procure the clips and the project kept moving. It was only after asking some questions that we were able to come up with an alternative that could keep the project moving. Had we failed to verify, we would have been stuck with a long delay. 

  • Early buyout, early submittals, early release. We put an army of PC professionals on buyout and procurement to make sure there’s always plenty of time to get products onsite. And our efforts extend to coordinating the owners’ vendors as well. No, it’s not in our scope and it’s a little extra work for our team, but when the work flows through us, we have more control. Obviously, we also bear more of the responsibility. But when you’re confident in your process, your communication and your information networks, that becomes a pretty light load. And the owners typically don’t mind when we offer to take away some of their work! 

These approaches help us add value to the construction partnership from start to finish – and help ensure that all of a project’s stakeholders (us included) realize the full value they were hoping to see. As we know, market forces can threaten project profits and timelines seemingly at every turn. But thanks to solid communication, confident procurement management and investigative skills, we – and our development partners – can all walk away happy on the day we hang up our hard hats.

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