You can never start a conversation early enough in construction. Why is it that we wait so long to have that difficult talk? This isn't the birds and the bees with a pre-teen. This is real world ramifications that can affect many on a project.
We' are working on a flooring replacement project that we bid in April of 2018. This project has been on the verge of installation since September. We go over and above to ensure that our proposal is very clear at the time of the bid: What we will do, what we won't do and what is the responsibility of others.
It's important to note that any flooring contractor is not the Clark Kent of a renovation project. More importantly, we are not Clark Kent's alter ego, Superman, on a project. Meaning, we don't have x-ray vision. Conditions underneath existing flooring are unknown to all until the existing flooring and adhesive is removed and the base slab is 100% visible. You could have unexpected layers of flooring or adhesives, hazardous materials such as asbestos, mercury or lead, excessive concrete cracking, delaminating patching or high concrete moisture. Since we've seen each and every one of these unforeseen instances in the past, we exclude any and all subfloor preparation.
If you are preparing construction documents or readying for a flooring project yourself and you have a certain end result in mind and it needs to be included as part of the base bid contract, you need to be very exact and precise with wording. The end result should be so clear in your documents that a layman can understand the proposed scope of work.
On this particular project, the scope of work included flooring removal and to provide the following:
What's wrong with that scope? From a flooring contractor's perspective, I offer you the following response on each line item.
I sat through a pre-construction meeting via conference call today to go over the ins and outs of our upcoming flooring installation. This project will be a combination of a renovated facility, with a new addition being constructed. We have a scope within each section, installing two dance floors in the renovated side and installing 5,000 square feet of gym flooring in the new construction.
After we were asked to review our approximate duration on site to complete our work, we were addressed with the question "how long after the slab pour can you be installing your floor? Is two weeks enough?" At first, I thought I didn't hear the general contractor right, so I didn't put much emphasis on it. But then it was posed again. The project was behind schedule, they still wanted to be completed in May and they wanted to know how soon after the slab was poured could we be in there installing the floor.
First, let me just say that we are supposed to utilize an on-slab vapor barrier as part of our synthetic gym flooring system that allows us to install up to 100% relative humidity in the concrete slab. But, but, but...two weeks after the pour? Were we really being asked that? We're going to be putting a non-breathing system on essentially a brand-new slab and then expect it to behave in a predictable manor?
Secondly, how legitimate is this actual request? All other trade work needs to be done before the flooring actually goes in. Not only does that include the HVAC system, lighting and basketball hoops, among others, but they'll all be done within those two weeks?
For the record, our flooring's installation instructions ask that "the concrete subfloor will be cured for a minimum of at least sixty (60) days.” That would put us well beyond the proposed opening date for the school. Fortunately, we can offer a two-part epoxy moisture mitigation system, which can be utilized with the only parameters being “Newly prepared concrete must be cured for 7 days”.
We addressed our timelines and concerns and wrapped up our conference call after the Owner stated his position to the General Contractor on the importance of the schedule being met. He stated that our call should have been held months ago to state that the flooring couldn't go in during such a short window after placement. But was it really necessary to tell them this months ago? Is it not common knowledge what a typical new construction duration is?
Contributed by Julia Mollner
Imagine a construction site where material waste is minimized or absent; where any excess usable material is intentionally set aside; where project teams collectively choose to reuse.
The Useful Waste Initiative was conceived with this idea in mind; the idea that preemptive intentional action can divert excess construction waste and better serve the community. As a program of Portland State University’s Center for Public Interest Design, this initiative aligns with its mission to aid underserved communities while working within the typical construction workflow. The intent of this initiative is to redefine what is considered waste, and to utilize an overlooked material resource - construction mock-ups - by re-purposing them while responding to pressing social needs.
Mock-ups play an integral role on the construction site by demonstrating and establishing high quality procedures for building systems, sequencing, and installation. Project teams use the structure to perform tests, understand material compatibility, and demonstrate design aesthetics. It is used for quality assurance and a demonstration of design. Yet, as mock-ups act to save time and money with building installation errors, these mock-ups are seen as temporary structures and typically end up at landfills, which create the opposite output: waste and emissions.
Backtrack two years ago, when the Kenton’s Women Village in Portland, Oregon was going through the development process. This village is based on other local villages such as Right 2 Dream Too, Dignity Village, and Hazelnut Grove, which have their own communal governance. The village-model provides what living on the streets often cannot - privacy, personal safety, property safety, a quiet space, access to clean drinking and bathing water, and cooking facilities. Villages are comprised of small sleeping rooms, also called “sleeping pods”, which are built by individuals or village residents to house one or two people. These sleeping pods create a communal village of residents under a self-governance. With Portland in a State of Housing Emergency, these villages started a local mindset shift. Although these “sleeping pods” do not have electricity or plumbing, they serve a critical purpose - housing first.
After my participation in the Kenton Women’s Village construction and alongside my own professional construction contract administration experience, I began questioning what purpose a mock-up could serve after use on a construction site. Do these structures - similar to tiny homes - need to go to the landfill?
Unless you've been living in the 2000's and not the present day, you've undoubtedly heard the word CONTENT and the importance of it. Whether building a website or your personal brand, the name of the game is now content, and it is everything when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) and how you, as a business or brand, is found in the modern day.
The definition of content has changed so much in the last handful of years that definition c. from Merriam Webster is "the principal substance (such as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a website. Moving further down the definitions of content brings us to 3. which is "the matter dealt with in a field of study". While I personally frown upon using the term expert, especially given how rapid the world is changing, I feel that everyone has a specialty. Whether that is knowledge on CrossFit, baseball cards, baking or indoor sports flooring, you have a skillset that is unique to you. Now, you may not be an expert baker, or have that stash of 1952 Mickey Mantle's in your closet, but you have information and CONTENT, inside of you that is unique.
Tomorrow I "celebrate" thirteen years of experience as an indoor sports flooring product rep and subcontractor. If I have done my job properly over those thirteen years, I will have absorbed years of unique experiences that have built up to January 23, 2019. Now, there is that chance that I've been doing something wrong for those thirteen years, but chances are that I've been doing some things right over these last thirteen years too. While I don't consider myself an expert on indoor sports flooring by any means, I do consider myself a specialist and an information provider.
Information gathered is absolutely no good unless it is information shared."
If you have had the opportunity to sit through the Let’s Fix Construction workshop, I hope you took home the mantra to share your knowledge. If you didn’t take that home with you, I apologize. We do our absolute best to reiterate the fact that we are unable to better the construction industry if we go to the grave by holding in our lessons learned aka our knowledge aka our CONTENT. We implore attendees of our workshops to share their insight and their experiences. Even after practicing architecture for 45 years, I don’t expect to hear a firm principal to say they’re an expert at design. Technologies and building materials are changing along with our world and in order to be an expert, in my opinion, you need to know all. No one knows all.
But you do know something. You may make an incredible souffle, have an incredible eye for the next great New York Yankees prospect, or have a personal insight into your niche of the construction industry; and this last component is where I implore you to share your content. It may be on LinkedIn, on your personal website or blog, at an AIA accredited box lunch, here on the Let’s Fix Construction blog or at CONSTRUCT, but please, SHARE YOUR CONTENT.
Don't have a blog or website? Start one. It's easy. Look it up on YouTube. Share your messages on a video platform, like Instagram, Facebook or YouTube. Perfect your pitch and get out of your office and speak to more companies and firms. Use your LinkedIn for good and not evil. Or better yet, speak at a conference attended by your industry peers.
And a great opportunity for you to speak at a peer-attended conference and for you to share your knowledge and content is at CONSTRUCT 2019. The deadline to speak is here and I implore you to step out of your comfort zone and submit. You have a personal perspective on something within construction – and face it, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be this far in this article – and what good is hoarding that perspective?
Much like this website, CONSTRUCT provides a platform for exploring and refining innovative solutions to solve complex problems facing the AEC industry today. It is truly a conference where industry leaders converge with a common goal of educating and inspiring for the betterment of the industry. This year CONSTRUCT will be held October 9-11 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland (right across the bridge from Washington DC) and the deadline to submit your proposal concept is THIS FRIDAY, January 25, 2019.
I know firsthand as a presenter at the last few CONSTRUCT shows that you don’t need all your ducks in a row when you submit your pitch. Get a catchy title, come up with a good synopsis and your learning objectives and that is all you need. And don’t get caught up on if your niche in construction is truly a niche – as a member of the Education Advisory Council, we are looking for topics that are unique and aren’t canned, nor offered at every conference in the industry.
I implore you to look within and challenge yourself in 2019 to share your content. CONSTRUCT is an amazing opportunity to do so and you’ll leave National Harbor on October 11th glad that you took my advice.
To learn more about speaking at CONSTRUCT, please visit the CONSTRUCT show website here.
For additional assistance, contact Jennifer Hughes, Sr. Education Manager at 972-536-6388 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributed by Marvin Kemp
In a musing about leading meetings, I wrote that "I'm an architect by education and licensure. I'm a project manager by definition of my firm." Since a recent strategic planning exercise our firm went through, I've been thinking about what it means to be an architect and a project manager. The architect part is easy, legally speaking: you've earned a first professional degree in architecture from an accredited university, completed the Intern Development Program (now known as Architectural Experience Program AXP), passed the Architects Registration Exam (ARE) and have applied for and been granted a license to practice architecture in the State where you reside. Okay, so maybe its not that easy, but it is a straightforward and linear process.
The philosophical notion of what it means to be an architect is much more complicated and probably meant for a different blog post or maybe even several blog posts! But, from the beginning of my career, I had the goal of becoming an architect. I accomplished that in 2001, just shy of seven years after I graduated from college. I also had the goal of being a project manager and eventually a partner or principal in a firm. Project manager may seem a strange goal for someone educated as an architect. I was never the strongest design student in school. At first, I wasn't mature enough to understand or focus on the studio curriculum. That set me back in terms of my design maturation. I probably could have caught up but let my ego and confrontations with several professors get in the way. I graduated with a respectable GPA north of 3.0, but had many C's in design studios, though I did manage a B on my thesis project.
When I took my first job out of school, it was with a small firm that did good work, but not great design work. Generally, the two partners were the designers and with our clientele there was little opportunity for more than basic design solutions. I got my shot at some basic planning and elevations studies, but rarely had the budget to do much more from a design standpoint. At the same time, one of my bosses and first mentors, began taking me to client meetings. I found I really liked being out of the office, meeting with our clients and getting to know more about that end of the practice of architecture. It seemed more real to me.
I also had four solid examples, other than the two partners, of what good project managers do in that office. My first desk was in a studio with three of them! What a treat to work with them, interact with them and listen to their phone conversations on a daily basis. It was in those early experiences that I decided I wanted to be the hot shot project manager, not the hot shot designer.
Nearly 21 years later, what does it mean to be the "hot shot project manager?" Here are some notions.
Let's Fix Construction is an avenue to offer creative solutions, separate myths from facts and erase misconceptions about the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
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