Search Results for: concrete

Cake Batter and Concrete Mix Design: Same Thing!

Executive Summary Knowing how to read a concrete mix design is helpful for the project management team: from project manager to foreman. Here are some basics. What is concrete? Concrete is arguably the most common construction material used on the globe. It is a mixture of cement, aggregate, and water. […]

It’s Concrete, not Cement.

Executive Summary: Defining concrete and cement. The common misconception. Once a month or so it seems I’m watching the news or listening to the radio and I hear about the guy who fell on the “cement sidewalk” or crashed into the “cement wall” with his truck. It’s concrete people, not […]

Concrete Formwork – Pressure not a Function of Wall Thickness

Just a quickie on formwork pressures.  One of my foremen once asked me if we needed more form ties in a 24″ thick wall versus a 12″ thick wall.  That answer is “no”. Concrete, when being placed, is liquid.  Just like water.  And as all carpenters know, form ties are […]

Ways that Engineers Manage Failure: Deflection

Executive Summary In construction, or after the fact in the permanent structure, engineers are predicting structural behavior and trying to either control a failure or minimize it. Herein are ways engineers engineer failure in both instances – via deflection. Goal of the Engineer It is the goal of an engineer […]

Estimating: Theoretical versus Production History

Executive Summary Many approaches exist for estimating – two of them being a theoretical approach versus a production history approach. One is based on what you think, the other on what you know. These terms may not be familiar to you, but the difference in execution may be. What is […]

Using a Static Indirect Bid Item in your Bids

Executive Summary Create a static bid item in all of your bids to serve as a checklist for indirect costs – both jobsite and corporate indirects! The bid items in a job. Whether you make up the bid items in your proposal, or the client gives them to you, or […]

Jet Grout in Five Minutes

Executive Summary Jet grout has been, and continues to be, a successful means of ground improvement. It can serve many purposes – two of the most common are structural support and groundwater control. Definition of Jet Grout Jet grout is a method of ground improvement wherein a drilling machine injects […]

Foundations: Shallow vs Deep – What’s the Difference?

Executive Summary Our nation’s infrastructure bears on many types of foundations. Generally speaking, they can be classified into two different types: shallow or deep foundations. What’s a foundation? Loads on structures are created by all sorts of sources. Just the pure weight of the structure, or people walking in or […]

Mistaken Taboo: Project Overhead

Executive summary. Field overhead carries different names with different contractors and owners. Discussed here is what field overhead is, and why it’s important for owners to understand. Project estimation. When a construction project is estimated, a good estimate will be one that captures all costs related to a project. These costs include, […]

Estimating: It’s an Art and a Science

Executive summary. Construction estimating isn’t wholly about the numbers. It involves a “feel” in its execution. This is why many say estimating is an art and a science. What is estimating? An estimate is just that. An estimate. Not an exactimate. Getting low on bid day or successfully negotiating a job isn’t […]

Dear Owner, No Change Orders Thank You

Executive summary. Most Project Owners are convinced that Contractors thrive on change orders. The truth is that most would prefer to have none. Read below a sort of open letter to Owners. Speed. I feel the need, the need for speed [QR]. Mr. Owner, when I signed this contract, I […]

Letters to the Owner Need to Tell, Not Ask

Executive summary. Most contractors use letters to communicate significant events in a project. Use letters to tell. Use RFIs to ask. Letters for when and for what. Generally speaking, during a construction project, letters are used by contractors to owners at significant or milestone-type events. Common reasons for letters include: […]

But What Does It Smell Like?

Executive summary. Field experience is necessary to be a best of class construction and engineering professional. Can you or your employee relate to today’s article? Can you write your own article with similar anecdotes to these below? If you cannot, schedule some time in the field. I built this project. […]

Project Parties – Who does what?

Executive summary.  The management structure of sizable projects usually involves four major parties:  the owner, the construction manager, the designer, and the contractor.  Here’s how project management is structured and what the parties’ responsibilities are in two common project delivery methods. Project conception.  Let’s take a sample project, say, a […]

The Joint Venture Estimate: Setup is Key

Executive summary. Whether bidding a job together in one shared document, or running comparison estimates, the setup in a joint venture effort is critical to success. Consider establishing the following before starting your estimating effort. And, be consistent. Be consistent. Why setup is so critical. There’s nothing more important in […]

Optimizing the Contractor’s Professional Engineer

Executive summary. Do you often need a professional engineer to facilitate the construction at your projects? Here’s how to pick your engineer and to guarantee the quickest turnaround of the product you need. Needing a professional engineer. You have traffic control, concrete formwork, deep excavations, shored trenches, worker tie-offs, or […]

Laos: Infrastructure / Means & Methods

Executive Summary. You’re probably reading this from America or Canada. Ever wonder what the infrastructure and construction means and methods are like in a smaller less developed country like Laos? [For those who haven’t tapped into Google yet to find out where Laos is, it’s a landlocked country adjacent to […]

Takeoff: Beyond the Drawings

Executive Summary. Takeoff is a primary function in the estimation of construction costs. A good takeoff includes more than is plainly seen on the drawings. Here is discussed the definition and purpose of takeoff along with what makes a takeoff good. What is takeoff? Takeoff is the first step in […]

From Me to You: Things I’ve Learned as a Professional

Executive Summary. Advice for life in general, and professional life, is often gleaned by the sharing of lessons and anecdotes. Here are some lessons to apply to both home and work. My resume. I’m 49 years old. I’m not young anymore, but I’m not too old yet either. It could […]

Introduction to Contractor Estimating

Executive Summary.  The reader is introduced to the process of contractor estimating from initial project evaluation through the call for bond, the takeoff, the actual estimating of a civil project, an even the turn in of the bid. Bid Evaluation and call for bond.  Contractors consider many facets of a […]

Designers Design, Constructors Construct: Drawings Constructability Review

Executive Summary. A constructability review can significantly and positively impact a project. But what is it and what are the third-party reviewers looking for in their review? Here we look just at the drawings/plan review (not the specification and contract review). What is it? A constructability review is a third […]

The Lookahead Schedule and 90/60/30

Executive Summary.  Once the project starts, it is the Contractor’s project management team’s responsibility to update the client on a regular, usually weekly, basis.  This is done graphically using a lookahead schedule in bar chart format (also known as a Gantt Chart).  Here we discuss the contents and reliability of […]

Cracks in Construction

Executive Summary Cracks in construction provide information to a superintendent. We identify what you’re seeing and what it could mean in specific scenarios. Where are Cracks Seen? Cracks are seen in naturally occurring materials and construction materials used in the building process. These can occur in Timber Concrete Soil What […]

Embedding Cost Control Culture into the Project Cycle

By Scott Jennings, P.E. This article was originally published in CFMA’s Building Profits April 2019 Sometimes financial situations can cause a contractor to fail. But these mishaps can likely be avoided.  Forecasting and managing the timely implementation and execution of cost controls can considerably impact effective bidding. In fact, cost […]

Fleet Management: Ways to Gather Data

Executive Summary. Several means exist in the way of gathering data from your operating fleet. Here are the basic ways and then a quick explanation of current technology.  The Basics of Data Collection. Many contractors, or companies with large on/offroad fleets and/or construction equipment, use somethingto track their assets’ location and/or performance: Clipboard […]

What is Section Modulus, S?

Executive Summary:  One of the most basic properties of a beam is its section modulus. How does the section modulus, S, come into play in structural design?  And, why should I care? What is a beam?  Keeping it simple here, a beam is a horizontal member supported at two ends.  When you stand in the […]

Cost Codes: What, Why & How

Executive Summary:  Many construction companies run their operations with too little specificity; costs ought to be reviewed on an activity-by-activity basis.  Learn what, why and how to set up a good cost code structure.   The bid and execution.  Let’s use an example, say, Concrete Curb & Gutter.  Suppose this was a proposal item for our […]

If I Told You, You Would Have Screwed Everything Up

My Story I’ve written a couple posts about my superintendent Mike. This one involves another one of my superintendents in the past named Jon. Jon and I were running a good sized job at a large, public transportation facility. Of course, the location of this facility shall remain nameless to […]

Lose the political correctness and go find that pipe stretcher

We all hear on the news about this over political correctness and how everyone’s become so sensitive. Well, get over it. Sometimes people get a laugh at your expense. It doesn’t have to be mean – good fun is good fun. The year: 1990. The contractor: Peter Kiewit. The job: […]

Company Improvements

Our clients want to be ‘best in class’.  Often our clients excel at placing concrete or getting pipe in the ground but cannot get the processes and business end to that same outstanding level.  We can help. Personnel Organizational assessment – getting personnel in their correct roles Skills assessment – […]

The Difference Between a Good and Great Estimator

Executive Summary Estimators are difficult to find, but one way to determine whether you have a good or great estimator on your staff, or in the interviewee chair, is whether or not they talk productivity rates or unit prices. What is construction estimating? A construction estimator has many skills – […]

Why is the Accounting Department Telling Me How to Estimate?

Executive Summary: Estimators know the construction work while the accountants know the financials. These two parties must work in harmony to benefit the company and their own livelihoods. This article recognizes the needs of both parties. The dilemma and end goal. Most firms beyond the “Mom and Pop” stage, have […]

Anticipate Non-Obvious Movement to Prevent Serious Injury

Executive Summary: There exist thousands of hazards on a construction site. Some are obvious, some require more intimate knowledge of the industry and its equipment. Below are some of the non-obvious, learned hazards. A bed and other leaning things. Not your mattress, but a truck bed in its upright and […]

Top 5 Countdown: Things to Look for in Vendor Quotes

Executive Summary Each quote on bid day, whether from a subcontractor or a supplier, needs to be thoroughly reviewed before incorporating into the bid. Here’s a Top 5 countdown! #5 Math Errors Often times subs or suppliers will quote a certain quantity of an item and then a unit price. […]

RFID (and NFC): What is it & how can it help you?

Executive Summary: RFID is defined and the differences between RFID and NFC are explained here. Also discussed is how they can help your company. RFID defined. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. It’s a process. It is a process where items can be uniquely identified using radio waves. By taking […]

Estimate Handoff – Estimators to Field Team

Executive Summary It’s great that your estimators just landed a new project, but your competitive advantage can be lost without a synchronized handoff to the field team. Make sure to have a formal meeting between the estimating and project management teams before the project starts. Estimator knows best. There is […]

Award Reversed Because of No Expert Testimony

Executive Summary:  A Washington concrete contractor, Salinas Construction, Inc. (SCI), was awarded $404,000 of its requested $425,000 for a job at U.S. Army Joint Base Lewis-McChord only to see this decision reversed in district court.  The problem was that SCI did not offer expert testimony, despite warnings that it was […]

Grammar for Professionals… and the Rest of Us

A friend recently sent me this link to a grammar website, Grammarly.  Grammarly gives you tips, tricks, and some plugins to help keep your grammar in check. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s any better than the next, but I do know one thing. I know that the majority of engineers […]

Incentive Clauses: Do they Work?

Executive Summary: Engineers have wondered if incentive clauses are a benefit to Owners in producing a timely, or accelerated, contract completion. My experience has been that it is of great benefit to the Owner because of the aggressive nature of project completion by the Contractor. What is an incentive clause? There […]

Clients – Covering North America and the Pacific

SJCC has had the pleasure of doing business with the following: A-C | D-G | H-K | M-O | P-R | S-T | U-Z A-C A&K Landscape Services, LLC, Kailua, HIACI Northwest, Coeur d’Alene, IDAdvantage Demolition, Ontario, CAAhtna Environmental, Inc., Anchorage, AKAll Phase Construction, Citrus Heights, CAAlpha Hawaii, Inc., Kahului, […]

Construction Management

Construction Management With over twenty-five (25) years of progressive experience from field engineer to Division Manager, Mr. Jennings is well qualified to assist in every aspect of project management. His knowledge base can become one of the biggest off-the-balance sheet assets to a contractor, owner, or construction management firm. After the […]

Preconstruction Services

There are many parties associated with any construction project. Major parties include the contractor, the owner, the architect/engineer, the insurance carrier, and the surety. For a truly successful project, each of these parties must be successful. SJ Construction Consulting, LLC (SJCC) provides assistance to each of these parties from conceptual […]

Professional Engineering

Contact us if you’re in need of a professional engineer’s stamp for any of the following types of construction work: Concrete formwork Traffic control Worker tie-off Light shoring Sewer bypass Pre-construction documentation Quality control Submittal We have construction engineers who know the value of timely response who can seal documents […]

SJCC Toolbox Terms & Glossary

Listen to our podcast for new terms and check out our glossary below. Click on a term to find articles that reference that term. Glossary of Terms A Aggregate – Coarse material such as sand, gravel, or other crushed rock. Often used as a substrate or base course. Artics – […]