Corner of Compromise St. and Success Blvd.

All our projects begin with a meeting where we talk with the client about the scope of the project and their expectations for the process of doing the project. I can’t tell you how many times the client looks like the “deer caught in the headlights” as they come to the realization that they may not get everything they want and there may be “bumps” along the road to completion. The thing that amazes us most is that often the “deer in the headlights” client is the one that has gone through a building project before. We just had this happen again last week with a client who wants to build a new office building.

As they come to the realization of how the process will work, I like to say “Welcome to Realville, USA”. Realville is where Compromise Street intersects with Success Boulevard. Every project has a Compromise Street and you will travel down it. Traveling along it is not a bad thing (after all it leads to Success Boulevard) unless you find yourself on it unexpectedly. In other words your travels are not managed properly.

Three areas of the project where compromise will need to be managed are:

  • Budgets: There are no free lunches and every scope item and quality issue has an associated cost. There is always compromise in the Scope x Quality = Budget formula, but at the end of the road will be success if managed well.
  • Construction Technology: It is not always what you build, but how you build it. Site conditions, weather, material availability, or schedule will often dictate the final detail or function of a part of the project.  Managing the how, and the technology of the how, will keep you between the guardrails.
  • Regulatory Agencies: Understanding, from the start, the regulations and building codes that apply to your project will keep you from getting caught on a side alley that adds time and unexpected expenses.

Give us a call. We would love to meet you at the city limits of Realville and travel to Success Boulevard with you.

Sooo … Many Regulations

Through the years, I have met many people who wanted to build a new commercial building, add onto or renovate their existing building and thought that all they needed to do was go down to their local Building Department and get a building permit.  They got a rude awakening when they were told they needed to deal with various different agencies before they could get approval to start their project. Most people are not aware that there are local (Zoning & Fire Prevention) ordinances, state (Building, Fire, and Mechanical) codes and sometimes private covenants or licensure requirements that need to be considered and incorporated into their project. Dealing with multiple organizations that require separate submittals with different procedures can be a nightmare.

In a nutshell…            

  • Local Zoning ordinances control the use of the land and have different requirements for type of use allowed on the property as well as setback distances from property lines, minimum number of parking spaces, required landscaping, flood control and stormwater management. Local Street, Fire, and Utility departments also have their own requirements and standards which are reviewed and approved through the Planning Department’s routing process.
  • State Construction Codes regulate the design and construction of buildings & structures. Most commercial projects will require drawings by a registered design professional to be submitted to and reviewed & released by the state prior to obtaining a local building permit. Depending on the type of use and location of the project, submittal to other state agencies such as the Department of Health, FSSA, Department of Natural Resources, State Highway Department or Department of Environmental Management may also be required.
  • If the property is located in an industrial or office park, private covenants attached to the deed may be more restrictive than the local zoning or state requirements. If the building use requires licensure to operate, such as a restaurant, daycare facility, or some medical facilities, compliance with more restrictive standards & codes may be also required.

As you can see, the forest of building regulations has grown dense and requires an experienced guide to help you, the Building Owner, get through it safely and by the most direct route. PDMi would love the opportunity to lead you through this process so you can avoid unexpected surprises along the way.

Give us a call…

Just Wrong…

This guy had a job to get done, and quite frankly he may get it done, but he is going about it Just Wrong. The family van is not the right vehicle to haul a log from point A to point B.

This reminds me of a client that called us several weeks ago. They had an exterior paving and site improvement project at their plant that they wanted to get done before year end. One of the facility engineers decided he could put together a scope of work document for competitive bids from contractors. It did not work out well. Because, like the guy with the van, the facility engineer did not use the right vehicle to convey his message to the contractors. The quotes he received from his document of general notes, a non-scalable plans & no specifications, were not complete and could have led to major change orders. His supervisor stepped in and gave us a call. We created a document that clearly conveyed to the contractors what the owner wanted done.

So how do you determine if you have the right in-house vehicle to get a project done?

  • Assess what existing documentation (plans, details & specifications) you have on file. If you don’t have good documents or a way to create them – you may want to call a professional.
  • Assess the experience and abilities of your staff. If your staff has not successfully managed a project like this one – you may want to hire a professional.
  • Assess how busy your staff is. If your staff already has more work to do than there is hours in the day to do it – you may want to hire a professional.

PDMi would love the opportunity of helping you create documentation, manage the information and provide the effort needed to complete your project.  We can be the right vehicle to bring your project home. Give us a call…


This is a picture of my two granddaughters taking a breather after a rough and tumble tube ride. The older one always says, “Grampy, please let’s have just a normal ride, nothing crazy”. While her younger sister says, “Start with crazy and go from there”. Obviously as the ride starts, they do not share expectations; by the end they both have a great time whipping outside the wake, bouncing over the waves and riding without holding on.

Just like a building project, you start out with certain expectations. As the project moves along you get out of the wake, you bounce on the waves and at times you feel like you are not holding on. So how do you set your expectations on your next facility building project?

  • Know why you are doing this specific project and what value it will bring to your business. This allows you to have a measuring stick to determine if your expectations are met.
  • Retain, as part of your team, professional Engineers, Architects and Contractors that understands codes, design concepts, construction technology and cost. Their input will be invaluable in managing your expectations.
  • Recognize that sequence matters. Plan before you design; design before you build; then build the designed plan. As the old saying goes “Ready-Aim-Fire”. Following the right sequence will always lead to fulfilled expectations.

PDMi would love the opportunity of helping you set your expectations, manage your expectations and see your expectations fulfilled on your next project. Then you, like my granddaughters, can look forward to the ride. Give me a call…