Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

An Engineer’s DNA

Yesterday, one of our customers stopped by to talk about a new mixed use development that we will start end of the 1st quarter–retail, apartments and condominiums.

“You may have the curse of being an engineer,” I told him. When he gave me a puzzled look, I explained that a lot of our customers are so focused on the end game that they forget what it takes to get moving, getting one’s feet squarely in starting blocks. I also told him that the best sets of reviewed 90% CDs look like someone unloaded a case of red ink. So maybe, in reality, it’s not a curse at all. Those plans have been given the once over…and over…and over.

We coincidentally have another project where this did not occur. It seems every time we get a customer visit on this job, more changes are initiated, and it feels like we are starting all over with that aspect of the job. I can count on one hand the times this customer has come to their project and not made changes.
 
No good deed goes unpunished in the change order arena. Sure, it’s sometimes needed, but a lot of times, change may be avoidable. Changes can slow down the project, adding more paperwork. Everyone gets to enjoy administering the change, our customer typically thinks the change is too costly, and meanwhile there are some demoralizing aspects. Not fun.

The cheapest changes are the ones made before the first shovel hits the ground.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and President of the Stewart Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.