Category: Lessons

What’s the Difference Between Unit Price and Lump Sum Bids?

What’s the Difference Between Unit Price and Lump Sum Bids? Executive Summary. Prices in construction bids are usually received in one of two ways: unit prices or lump sum. Here we discuss differences and pros and cons of collecting construction bids via these two methods. Two ways. Pricing for construction […]

The Low Bid Model – Time to Go?

The Low Bid Model – Time to Go? Executive Summary. Although great in concept, the low bid model of construction proposal award is severely flawed. Here’s a quick evaluation of the two primary evaluation methods used by Owners in the award of construction projects. You evaluate which is best for […]

Utility Drawings 101: The Plan and Profile

Utility Drawings 101: The Plan and Profile Executive Summary. Learn the basics of how to read a utility plan and profile. One thing is consistent: no drawings are the same. You’ll learn enough here to talk intelligently. Utilities as a component of the site plan. Drawings used to construct the […]

Subsurface Disclaimers Don’t Hold – Travelers v. U.S.

Subsurface Disclaimers Don’t Hold – Travelers v. U.S. Executive Summary. The age old issue of whether or not the geotechnical information in, or associated with, the bid package can be relied upon has been in and out of courtrooms across the country. Perhaps the federal case which is the most […]

Parkinson’s Law – Hoping to Quantify Pacing

Parkinson’s Law – Hoping to Quantify Pacing Executive Summary. Parkinson’s Law states that “…work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” (Parkinson, C. N., The Economist, November, 1955) It explains worker behavior, but may not support well now an Owner’s quantitative offense to Contractor-induced conscious project […]

The Preparatory Meeting: Priceless

The Preparatory Meeting: Priceless Executive Summary. Federal construction work usually requires three phases of quality control within the work: the preparatory, initial, and follow-up phases. If you, as a contractor or owner, do not want to try incorporating all three just try one. Try the preparatory phase.The Feds and the […]

Legal Jargon and Process 101

Legal Jargon and Process 101 Executive Summary. Being in management, middle or upper, will likely land you close to a courtroom. At least you will be exposed to the legal process. Here are some of the basics from a non-lawyer. What sort of events would expose me to legal jargon? […]

Bonds and Bonding Capacity 101

Bonds and Bonding Capacity 101 Executive Summary. If you’ve ever wondered how bonding capacity is earned and calculated, it may be a bit fuzzier than you think. But it does rely on numbers. Read on for the basics. What is bonding? You’ve heard people say “The job is bonded.” or […]

Construction is Broken – Give me the Onsite EOR

Construction is Broken – Give me the Onsite EOR Executive Summary. Contractors are told to build projects in record time without having complete information. It’s not fair to the Engineer, the Contractor, the Owner, or the Taxpayer. There’s an easy fix which will get the project most of the way […]

The Importance of As-Builts

The Importance of As-Builts Executive Summary. As-builts are critical to future projects and can save Owners thousands or millions of dollars. As-builts can also save lives. Do them and do them contemporaneously (which means as you go, not after the fact). What are as-builts? As-builts are drawing set(s), either paper […]

University Cooperative Education – the Real Deal!

University Cooperative Education – the Real Deal! Executive Summary. Most resume readers consider professional experience, as an engineer or construction professional, as starting upon graduation. In a cooperative education program, it’s starts during college. What is cooperative education? Cooperative education (or co-op) is time spent during your college education out […]

Water in the Hole! What’s it Mean?

Water in the Hole! What’s it Mean? Executive Summary. Water in an excavation can tell a story. It can provide valuable information if you watch it carefully. Here are some things to look for in that trench.Why do I care about water? Just so you know – as an aside […]

Smartsheet™ – A Contractor’s Dream

Smartsheet™ – A Contractor’s Dream Executive Summary. It’s like Excel™, but not Excel™. It’s a great fit for logging: submittals, RFIs, letter, potential change orders, et cetera. Read on for a quick review of this not-so-heard-of product in our industry. Recommended! What is Smartsheet™? Smartsheet™ is a NYSE-traded cloud-based software […]

Pipe Encasement Flotation – Archimedes was the Man!

Pipe Encasement Flotation – Archimedes was the Man! Executive Summary. Ever prepped to pour a concrete encasement and lost sleep over whether or not it would float during the pour? Learn here how easy it is to calculate that buoyancy force. Archimedes was the man. Archimedes was a Greek mathematician […]

I Wrote a Children’s Book Because I Could

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes Executive Summary.  Nothing better than getting your kids interested in what you do for a living by reading to them to sleep at night about the glorious business of asphalt milling!  Then fill it back in with asphalt!  Good times!  Try reading fun rhymes to […]

Don’t Be Charlie Brown’s Teacher

Executive summary. If you are interested in communicating information to your audience, and you want your audience to absorb and remember what you’re saying, communicate effectively. Communicate using vocabulary, tempo, brevity, and body language that your client understands and wants. It’s not about you. It’s about them. They need to get […]

Top 10: Basic Business Etiquette

Executive Summary: Landing the work has enough challenges in meeting the scope, schedule, and cost requirements of the client. You’re defeating yourself if you can’t be polite and practice simple business etiquette. Low hanging fruit. If your client has been kind enough to consider doing business with you, don’t give […]