Author: Gerry Bollman

What’s Below Your Waterline

I love this picture of the Iceberg. I have used it over the years to illustrate that there is always more below the water line than there is above the water line. In the case of the Iceberg, only 10% is seen and 90% unseen. Many times, on building projects, what is above the waterline is considered “The Project”. That which is seen often defines the project’s success or failure. But the truth is, what is below the waterline has a much greater influence on how successful the project will be.

So the question is “What’s below the waterline of your project giving it balance and stability? I believe things like Good Planning, Understanding the Building Codes & Regulations and Knowledge of Building Systems & Materials are key to making what is seen a success.

At PDMi we are proud of what is seen above the waterline of our projects, but what defines us are the things we do below the waterline. We work hard on the things below the waterline in order to make what is above the waterline successful.

Call us to help you understand what needs to be done below the waterline in order for you to have a successful above the waterline project.

It’s All In The Collaboration

In our last several eBits we have shared with you that the keys to a project’s success are built around PLANNING – DESIGNING – IMPLEMENTING. Our whole staff believes that to be true. We also know that you can do all the planning and produce all the documents you want, but until you IMPLEMENT them, in a collaborative environment, the project is still a dream. We have multiple tools to accomplish this, but they will only work when all the stakeholders are working together.

We recently completed a large facility expansion project with a regional firm. They chose Construction Management as the delivery method for IMPLEMENTING their project. They saw construction management as a way to bring the Owner, Designer, and Trade Contractor/Vendor into a collaborative environment. We told them that the delivery method certainly is important, but the essential factors in a well IMPLEMENTED project are…

  • Communication- Who is doing what and when? Without continually answering that question, all the stakeholders will be pursuing their own agenda.
  • Organization- What is posted and who can access it? When the stakeholder does not know what documents are available or where to find them they will tend to rely only on the information they have.
  • Accountability- Doing what you say you will do when you say you will do it. Having each stakeholder participate in the published work plan and schedule keeps the team accountable to each other.

The expansion project was a success because the team of Owner, Engineers/Architects and Trade Contractors communicated through an organized process, holding each other accountable.

If PDMi can help you IMPLEMENT your next project, give us a call.

It’s All In The Details

In our last eBits we talked about the fact that PLANNING – DESIGNING – IMPLEMENTING has been a constant on projects over the years. I made the statement that we firmly believe that Planning is the foundation for which all successful projects are built. If that is true, then Detailed Design is the superstructure. Without Detailed Design the construction phase is guided only by guess work.

Awhile back, we were contacted by a restaurant owner that was doing a tenant build-out of an existing building. He had already hired a contractor, had completed the interior demolition, and was starting the renovation of the space when he realized he had a problem. He had no Detailed Design documents to give direction to his contractor, only sketchy permit drawings. Then the inspector showed up and put a stop-work order on the project because he could not tell what was supposed to be done. The restaurant owner called us to help solve his problem. After a job site meeting, we began the process of producing documents for his contractor to work from and for the inspector to know exactly what was to be done. Before we completed our work, this project had a sad ending – the building burnt down.

Unless you plan to have your building burn down before it is completed, you should have detailed construction documents produced. These documents should…

  • …Communicate the design parameters and details to the contractor and the agencies. PDMi uses 3D modeling as a great tool to accomplish this.
  • Provide Constructable Details. Just because a detail can be drawn on paper (or for that matter, dreamed up in your mind) does not mean it can be constructed. Dan, Joe and I have spent many years alongside contractors gaining understanding on what details are constructible and what ones are not.
  • …Specify Material Selection. The right materials used in the right places will assure a project’s success.

We know that good Detailed Design documents will guide your project. Give us a call to talk about how PDMi can work with you on your next project.

It’s All In The Plan

PDMi’s Professional Staff of Dan Gagen, Joe Humbert and me have over 35 years of experience, each, in this industry. We have seen projects designed and built with all the delivery methods (Design-Bid-Build, Construction Management, & Design Build) and every variation of contractual agreements (Lump Sum, Cost plus a Fee, & Guaranteed Maximum Price). One thing that has been constant over the years is the fact that all projects go through three phases: PLANNING – DESIGNING – IMPLEMENTING. At PDMi, we work with our clients on all three of the phases of the project. Over the next several eBits we want to look at these three phases, starting today with PLANNING.

We believe that Planning is the most important of the three project phases because it establishes a foundation for the other two phases to rest upon. We have seen some companies think that calling a contractor and getting a price for a project is “planning”. Others spend lots of time and a bunch of money developing scopes and schematic drawings that they call their “plan”. We at PDMi understand that planning does not have to take a lot of time or money and it is certainly more than establishing a budget cost. We believe that PLANNING should include three basic things:

  • Establish what you value using the Scope x Quality = Budget formula.
  • Provide complete understanding of the Constraints (Site Conditions, Utilities, Building Codes, Regulatory Agency requirements, etc.) that will affect the project.
  • The use of visual tools like 3-D Modeling to communicate the project’s character and dimension.

We love to Plan. We know how to Plan. We would like to put our three-basic-step planning process to work on your next project. Call me; your next project can be a success when you PLAN.