Category: Management

Larry King and Katt Williams: Now It’s Your Turn

Larry King and Katt Williams: Now It’s Your Turn Executive Summary. Reflecting on your career and your life is always fun and interesting. Try this with yourself or with a friend. Larry King’s questions. My social media feed recently brought me to an interview by Larry King of Katt Williams. […]

Measured Mile: It’s Not Just for Contractors

Measured Mile: It’s Not Just for Contractors Executive Summary. The measured mile is a common term used in claims by Contractors. It is the term used to describe the production rate that forms a basis of financial reimbursement. Owners would be well-suited to collect production rates during the work too. […]

Partner, But Not Necessarily Via Partnering

Partner, But Not Necessarily Via Partnering Executive Summary. Partnering was created decades ago to bring the Contractor and Owner together in a semi-formal setting to align goals. Partnering session(s) can be effective, but so can a beer and a burger. Roots of partnering. The Construction Industry Institute defines the purpose […]

Stroke: You’re Having One Right Now

Stroke: You’re Having One Right Now Executive Summary. A stroke is when blood flow to the brain stops. A quick response (on the radio I hear that one hour is the maximum time you have to get to a hospital) is critical in reducing brain injury and other complications. How […]

Contractor Estimating: Drop the Curtain

Contractor Estimating: Drop the Curtain Executive Summary. Lots of times we hear from Engineers that Contractors have fat and contingencies in their estimates. On a low bid wins scenario, that’s just not the case. Look behind the curtain here at some real numbers. What job are we talking about here? […]

New Civil Grads: Three Roads, Choose One!

New Civil Grads: Three Roads, Choose One! Executive Summary. A recent discussion with a soon-to-be civil engineering graduate spurred this article on what your options are heading towards “the real world.” Here’s your three options in my mind. What’s a civil engineer? Simply put, civil engineers improve the quality of […]

Construction in Thailand: 1st and 3rd World Combined

Construction in Thailand: 1st and 3rd World Combined Executive Summary. A quick visit to Thailand revealed some interesting construction and engineering – a mixture of 1st and 3rd world construction! The trip. Thailand is in southeast Asia. That’s southwest of Japan and south of China. Both Laos and Vietnam border […]

Your Last Choice: The Total Cost Claim Approach

Your Last Choice: The Total Cost Claim Approach Executive Summary. In a claim situation, when choosing a method of claim recovery, the total cost claim method is usually the weakest choice. A recent court case put another nail in that coffin. ASCE recently caught my eye. I am a member […]

What is Extended Performance?

What is Extended Performance? Executive Summary. Generally speaking, the cost associated with time loss on a contract are called extended performance costs. Here’s a brief talk on extended performance. What is extended performance? Let’s break down theterm. Extended refers to the duration of the contract having gone longer than was […]

Mindset Differences – Major Leaguers v. Minor Leaguers

Mindset Differences – Major Leaguers v. Minor Leaguers Executive Summary. There’s a different mindset between major league contractors and minor league contractors. Here’s three ways they differ. Graduating to the big leagues. You’re in the elite group when you score an A+ on all of the bonding 3 C’s: character, […]

An Offering of a Contractor’s Standard of Care

An Offering of a Contractor’s Standard of Care Executive Summary. Many are familiar with a design professional’s standard of care (SOC). Why don’t contractors have a standard of care? This is the start. Research by the author – nothing. Go to Google, go to, go to, go to […]

Business In Hawaii Is The Same, But Totally Different

Business In Hawaii Is The Same, But Totally Different Executive Summary. Business in Hawaii is just like in other states, but yet so different. Read on for your guide to doing business in Hawaii. Kamaaina status. Kamaaina (pronounced “kaa-ma-eye-na”) is a Hawaiian word used to describe someone originally from Hawaii, […]

Trench Talk: Clem Conceicao, Crane Operator

Trench Talk: Clem Conceicao, Crane Operator Executive Summary. Listen to my discussion with Mr. Clem Conceicao, long time operator of friction cranes, tower cranes, and squirt booms in Hawaii. Running a crane, or any piece of equipment. Being an operator of any piece of equipment carries an obligation of safety […]

How to Start a Professional Construction Company

How to Start a Professional Construction Company Executive Summary. If you’ve ever wanted to start your own construction company, here’s the process. What do you want to do? First thing to do is figure out what you want to do. Heavy/civil, window installation, frame houses, industrial coatings – what? This […]

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 […]

Help Yourself: Be the Most Coachable Player

Executive Summary Being the best employee does require having traits which benefit your company, but one trait more than any other will help you as an employee benefit yourself and your own career. It’s called being coachable. Do you want to be a leader? Most people in their career aspire […]

Blind and Dumb: Meeting Attendees

Executive Summary An effective meeting is one wherein the attendees are “with” the facilitator the entire time and can and do follow along. Here are some suggested tactics. “Musts” for an effective meeting. Have an agenda. Make it simple. If you need to hold someone accountable for the events or […]

The Calibration Period: Plan for Patience

Executive Summary New business relationships do not come free of humps and bumps. Work through these challenges to develop lifelong partners. The need for others. Whether you are a business owner looking for employees, or a front-line manager looking to get a project built, you cannot do it all on […]

What a College Degree Says

Executive Summary A college degree sometimes seems overrated as it isn’t necessarily a measure of intelligence, nor a guarantee of success. A pigskin on the wall says more than “I know engineering” or “I know business”. It says, “I can finish things.” What is a College Degree? A Bachelor of […]

Please Cough – The One Thing to Do This Week

Executive Summary Caring about your employees is human and it’s good for business. Combine the two to create solid and long-lasting relationships plus a healthy business. Send your employees to the doctor. Regularly. I’m in construction, why do I care? You care about your employees and co-workers because you’re human. […]

Fire! Run to It, Not From It!

Executive Summary Construction often times does not go per plan. These unexpected variances in the plan can make or break a job. How you treat these “fires” can define your effectiveness as a manager. What could go wrong? In construction there’s dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of things, that […]

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 […]

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 […]

Project Management Triple Constraint

Executive Summary: There’s an adage, fast/cheap/good, pick any two. This relates to the Project Management Triple Constraint. It also has other names like Iron Triangle and Project Triangle. The Triple Constraint. A common teaching in the project management world is the Triple Constraint. This is represented by the simple triangle […]

Divisional Separation: Pure Crap

Executive Summary: Companies lose money and affect reputation by divisive behavior between divisions. Work to make this better by improving morale, efficiency, and the bottom line. How it goes. You’re a member of a successful construction company. You work in the heavy/civil division building treatment plants. The boys and girls […]

Why Hire a Management Consultant?

  Executive Summary: Consultants sometimes carry a bad rap for what they do. They’re expensive and actual or perceived value is not recognized in their effort. Consider what they do bring to the table that your firm cannot. What does a management consultant do? At the heart of their duties, […]

The Importance of Construction Cost Estimating for Civil Engineers

In episode 066 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, Anthony Fasano talks with Scott Jennings, P.E. principal of SJ Construction Consulting, LLC about the importance of cost estimating for civil engineers. Here are some of the questions asked of Scott: Can you walk us through the process of putting together a construction […]

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 […]

Hawaii Case: A Subcontract is Valid and Binding Without a Signature

Executive Summary: Contractors too often allow their subcontractors to commence work without a fully executed subcontract. A contract between the two parties can be binding even without a signature. Learn from this June 2017 case in Hawaii how a contract can be formed without a signature. No signature required. Pacific […]

Cut Out the Office Cancer for Better Office Health

Executive Summary A lot of offices have that one person or that one small clique that creates a negative atmosphere in the office. You and your office will be better off with this cancer removed. Cut it out. Bad Attitude This person or persons I’m referring to may exist in […]

Do Something Awkward Every Day

Executive Summary: As a manager, it may be often that you run into a situation in which you must do something outside of your comfort zone. Mitigate stress and make this exercise easier for you by practicing uncomfortable and awkward situations every day. The problem. As a manager of one […]