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Jeff Shelton
Vice President
Cintech Construction
Cincinnati

Many factors affect our decision to take on a project. While we would like to pursue every opportunity that comes our way, it simply is not feasible. 

When we are presented with an opportunity, we evaluate several criteria: project size (dollar value and square footage); if team members are available that match well with the project; anticipated start date; whether the project is design-build or plan and spec; whether we have experience in that industry; and whether the project fits in our current estimating schedule.

Some of the indicators that a job or client are not a good fit for us include: the project is not what we do (e.g., residential or service work); unrealistic project budget, financing or schedule; and bad project timing.

Additionally, will the project take too many resources and prevent us from obtaining more work or making a fair profit?

Finally, will the construction project help us meet our goals and adhere to our company’s core values?

Scott Fithen
General Counsel and Director of Operations
Stella May Contracting
Edgewood, Maryland

The first determinative factor is our contracted backlog. If the choice is between taking on risky low margin work or laying off crews, we will chase the work.

We are currently lucky to be at the point in the cycle where there is an abundance of work available and we have the luxury to turn away opportunities. 

Next, we evaluate our current project schedules and determine if we can complete the project while maintaining our quality and safety standards and not adversely affecting our ongoing contracts. 

If the project appears to be a good fit for us and we have capacity, we then evaluate the reputation of the potential client. If the company is a new client, we reach out to other subcontractors and vendors to hear their thoughts, and we run a case search to determine how litigious the company tends to be. 

Our final consideration is the contractual language. 

Our willingness to accept more risk is directly related to an evaluation of the aforementioned considerations.

John Theiss
President & CEO
San Juan Construction
Montrose, Colorado

San Juan Construction specializes in overseas government projects in logistically challenging locations such as Kwajalein Island and Diego Garcia. We have a robust new business pipeline, but have to be smart about what we take on.

We pass on many opportunities because of a shortage in quality supervisory personnel and skilled labor in our target markets. We cannot assume that we will find qualified labor or bring in ex-pats at a competitive wage to do the work. For example, we haven’t re-entered the Guam market because it is so difficult to find quality labor there. 

Also, we may pass on work due to unrealistic schedule expectations or other factors that reduce our margins. For example, if we see that a client can’t administer the work efficiently, then we will devote our resources elsewhere. 

It takes a long time to get equipment, materials and people to these logistically challenged sites. Experience has taught us to steer clear of risky project schedules that can quickly manifest themselves into margin-eating problems.

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