Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

Schedules, Programmes, Programs, Timelines, Gantt Charts

Call them what you want.

They are one of the most vial parts of any tender

But are so often not done properly

How many of the projects you work on have some form of change or some form of delay?

I would hazard a guess at most of them

Without a schedule how do you demonstrate delay, or impact, or consequential delay?

Bear in mind around 50% or more of your costs are time related. Its pretty fucking important!

Ive just seen a project with an Extension of Time claim which doubled the original project duration. Luckily for the client, the contractor’s schedule wasn’t worth the paper it was wrote on.

No logic links, incorrectly sequenced activities, not enough detail, activities missing…the list goes on

So they couldn’t demonstrate the “cause and effect”

I mean this is fundamental stuff, if you’re pricing any project you should be pulling together a schedule

In this instance they lost out on tens of thousands of pounds at final account as the entire Extension was dismissed

It would have cost a fraction of this to get one set up at tender stage. Plus, they could have used it to monitor performance onsite rather than just guessing.

Challenging The Norm

Is it just me or does anyone else think Bills of Quants serve little purpose?

I remember thinking this in University. I nearly wrote my dissertation on it, but back then I was too afraid to speak up about stuff for fear of it damaging my career. I am in a different place now, challenge the norm if there is a different way.

Working for a main contractor and pricing their projects I realised that they bore no relation to the way work was estimated.

Unless you used SPONS.

Which we didn’t as we weren’t a clients QS and

Subcontractors hated them

Now, Im not saying we shouldn’t quantify work, as that’s fundamental, but measuring in accordance with SMM or now NRM is beyond me.

Quite often the descriptions make no actual sense to me and I am a QS, so anyone else makes head nor tail of them is a mystery to me.

The thing is, most QS’s will insist that you get a bill of quants done on your project. But the reason isn’t because that is what is best for your project, but because that is the way they have always done it.

The norm.

At Project Control Simplified, we challenge the norm

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Isn’t the construction industry incestuous?

You know what I mean, the same names, faces and companies keep popping up.

You also know the “good, the bad and the ugly” within those names, faces and companies too.

It happened to me recently, I know a project that has gone a little bit tits up. Work not completed, disputes, claims, you know the usual shit.

When I found out who the QS was, I laughed.

I had dealt with them before, back when I was a working for a contractor, and they were the client’s representative.

Back then, I did what I always did in those situations, which was to do their job for them, to protect the client despite me working for the other side (by the way I could have took advantage but that’s not how I operate)

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance this time though, as I am now only helping the client pick up the pieces.

The problem is, despite companies being national or even global, the support you get is only as good as the individual assigned to your project.

At the beginning, you get a Director, who wins the business, who most certainly can talk the talk. But then the service agreement gets signed and you get assigned someone much more junior, who you later find definitely can’t walk the walk.

Occasionally you might find a diamond, but these are hard to come by, as most realise they can earn a much better living actually providing the same services direct to the client (just like me)

Contractual Disputes

Contractual disputes are much more common than you would imagine. Studies show that up to one third of projects end up involved in some form of dispute.

There are many reasons this may happen but commonly it can be down to behaviour, uncertainty or most likely contractual problems.

Now most people take the approach that ignorance is bliss and disputes will not happen to them.

Then when the shit hits the fan they get in touch with a specialist – or in simple terms, a REACTIVE approach.

The funny thing is though, most disputes can be avoided or at worst, be settled quickly, effectively and fairly.

Its really simple too, just follow these key steps:

  1. Prepare clear and well-defined project documents
  2. Use simple, unmodified contracts which all parties can administer
  3. Agree realistic timescales
  4. Maintain clear lines of communication and keep records
  5. Pay in accordance with the contract

Or in simple terms, run your project properly!

No in all seriousness, you should set every project up on the basis you are going to end up in dispute even if you are convinced it won’t.

Remember, complacency breeds failure.

Grand Design

You know on Grand Designs, does anyone else find it strange when Kevin usually asks the doe eyed self-builder

“So, you are acting as Client, Principal Contractor, Principal Designer, Worker and project manager on the scheme”

Then they reply “Yes”

Why he doesn’t immediately say

“Have you got the required experience or insurance to undertake any of those roles under CDM?!”

I know it would make for shit TV but surely the law and people’s safety is more important?

What I’m amazed at is that no one has ever been injured or harmed on one of the sites, or maybe they just edited that out?

Joking aside, what this really does is send a message that anyone can perform any one of the roles listed above.

Which simply isn’t true. Well not if you want a successful project anyway