Raising the Bar, in Sports, and Construction Projects
By Brooks Gentleman | Posted: 01/09/2014 9:14PM
Brooks Gentleman As I was watching the Florida State/Auburn NCAA football title game Monday night I reflected upon the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system of ranking the teams. This system uses a combination of polls and computer simulations to determine team rankings and post-season matchups. Many people have been highly critical of the system over the years and next year it will be replaced by a college football playoff.
This made me think about how the construction industry is in need of a better way to determine who gets to play in the marquee games. When I say “marquee games,” I am referring to projects that demand highly unique products and skills, or are significant in size. They are the types of projects that only a select group of architects, general contractors, subcontractors, and manufacturers have the experience and resources to effectively manage. So here are my thoughts on how the industry can better determine who plays in the championship game.
There are several conditions that may dictate that a project requires a methodical selection process for the construction team. Here is a list of a few that come to mind:
•The project is of monumental scope requiring the personnel, facilities, background, and financial resources to meet the demands
•A complicated technology is involved in some aspect of the project such as a new curtainwall system, rainscreen design, mechanical system, or unique structural conditions
•A specific skill set or craftsmanship required to perform the work such as finishing, masonry, or window restoration on preservation projects
•A challenging construction schedule that has no room for mistakes
•A very demanding owner that is overly involved in all aspects of the project
When a project contains one or more of the above conditions, it is important to establish a set of guidelines to prequalify who is going to have an opportunity to bid the job. If no such restrictions exist, the team could be inviting a weak link to manage a critical function. Instead of creating a computer simulation model to mimic the BCS to screen participants, I recommend that the construction team spend time drafting prequalification criteria for all those disciplines that are vital to the success of the project. These criteria should consider the following elements:
1. Past Projects
One of the best determinations of future success is past performance. A good prequalification form will have a list of past projects of the same scope of work and size of project. The submissions should have a list of contacts so it can be verified that both the scope and magnitude of the work qualify the company. For example, performing a window replacement scope on a historic project does not qualify a company for window restoration just as painting the exterior of a landmark building does not qualify a company to perform detailed fresco work. The construction team must spend time to verify the validity of the submissions of past project experience.
About the Author
Brooks GentlemanBrooks Gentleman has been in the wood window and architectural millwork business for the past 25 years and is currently the owner of Re-View, a manufacturer of custom wood window replicas for historic landmarks across the country based in Kansas City, MO. www.re-view.biz