pre-construction

Ep.96: From The Experience of an Arbitrator with Dennis Dixon

If you’ve ever had to deal with legal action in your remodeling business, you know it can be a nightmare. The best thing you can do is to keep you and your projects out of the legal system.

Dennis Dixon has used his experience as an expert witness and investigator to help business owners understand the link between the legal system and the health of their business.

In this episode, Dennis talks to Tim and Steve about how to keep you and your projects out of the legal system through preventative measures, management, and oversight. 

Dennis is a 35-year veteran author, builder, and consultant, and is the president of Dixon Ventures in Flagstaff, AZ. His book, Finding Hidden Profits contains proven management, policy, and contract content solutions to keep any construction or design pro in the profit stream. 

His entry into the legal system began 25 years ago, when lawyers would ask him to investigate projects that were the subjects of lawsuits. Dennis says about 75 percent of these disputes arose from mishandled change orders, with the underlying causes of poor documentation and communication. He talks about how to help keep your company out of legal trouble, including:

  • Getting everything in writing 
  • The problem with allowances
  • Why you need good planning and specs
  • A-to-Z documentation
  • Asking how clients will use a space to get a deeper understanding
  • Resolving disputes before taking any legal steps
  • When to take the hit on a change order
  • The power of a real letter, not an email
  • Taking emotion out of the process
  • Addressing dispute resolution in your contracts
  • How to prepare for arbitration or a lawsuit
  • Why the party with the most paperwork wins
  • And more …

Maintaining good communication with clients will help head off disputes — and that includes the hiccups and problems too. Being transparent and documenting everything is the key to avoiding legal trouble.

Ep.88: Women in Production Management with Heather Tankersley

The remodeling and construction industries are dominated by men. Even such necessary things as safety equipment are a bad fit for the few women who are working on the production side in residential remodeling or construction.

But things are slowly changing. More women are showing up on job sites, and working in production and operations management.

In this episode, Heather Tankersley talks about her experiences as an operations manager with Tim and Steve. She discusses what it’s like to be in a management role as a woman in construction and the differences between her experience in commercial and residential projects.

Heather is co-owner of Tankersley Construction in Rancho Cordova, CA, with her husband Steve (check out his episode). Founded three years ago, it’s quickly become one of California’s leaders in residential construction by taking commercial construction principles and applying them to small- and mid-sized homeowner projects. Before working at Tankersley Construction, Heather managed complex projects for some of the largest electrical contractors in the United States. Heather’s prior project experience includes new student housing at Sacramento State University, new classrooms for UC Hastings, medical facility expansion at Folsom State Prison, and multiple VA and healthcare projects throughout Northern California. 

While still working full-time in her previous job, Heather worked with Steve to develop the new company’s processes, and they found the need for an operations manager role. She filled in. Heather manages the pre-construction phase. When the job is handed off to the project managers, Heather oversees the schedules and the progress of each individual job. She talks about what she’s learned and what her prior project management experience has helped her company, including:

  • How she got into the industry
  • Being comfortable with asking the three “whys”
  • Developing organizational skills
  • The need for good people skills
  • Her protocols for keeping information up-to-date
  • The platforms and applications she uses
  • Dealing with gender biases
  • Organizations supporting women in construction
  • Finding mentors 
  • The advantages of being a woman in residential remodeling
  • And more …

Heather says remodelers should look to recruit commercial project managers — male or female — by using the appeal of the more personal, relationship-driven work of residential remodeling.

FREE Webinar coming up in February…

Change Orders: The Top Three $$$ Mistakes Corrected

Join us on Thursday, February 20th as Tim Faller walks you through key strategies for addressing change orders and hitting your profit targets in 2020. This webinar for owners, estimators, and field staff will focus on the top 3 Change Order mistakes companies make that cost them money. We will share Spreadsheet Calculators using real demonstrations – not only how each mistake occurs, but how much it costs you as well. Each mistake will be discussed, and possible solutions presented.
Click Here to Reserve Your Seat >> 

Ep.57: Checklist Implementation with Wesley Yoder

Problems in Production can be hard to fix — even identifying chronic mistakes and hurdles takes time. Too often, remodelers stop there, shrug, and say, “it is what it is.”

It doesn’t have to be that way. Checklists are a great tool to use in the next step, when you solve the problems and prevent them from happening again and again.

In this episode, Wesley Yoder talks to Tim and Steve about how he took control of the Production process after reading The Checklist Manifesto, and how you can, too.

Wesley has been the Production Manager at West Chester Design Build in West Chester, PA, since January 2018. He joined WCDB nine years ago as a Lead Carpenter. After three years, he moved into the Project Manager role.

When Wesley read the book, he was surprised at how useful it is for remodeling processes. It covers the use of checklists in diverse industries, describing how they can significantly reduce errors, save money, and prevent accidents. In Production, checklists can also reduce slippage and keep the job running smoothly. As your processes and jobs become more complex and involve more people on site, checklists can help you run your jobs more efficiently. Wesley talks about how to create and use your checklists to be effective, including:

  • Getting feedback and buy in
  • Why checklists are always evolving
  • Keeping it simple
  • Building on past experience
  • Boulder-drop moments
  • Using them as training tools
  • Discussing the checklists with clients
  • Where to keep them so they’re used
  • How to know what to add
  • The power of paper
  • And more …

Wesley also uses personal checklists for his own job functions, and says it’s a great way to get started with using them on a larger scale with the rest of your team.

What Do You Want to Hear About?

We’ve gotten some fantastic suggestions for topics and guests, so keep them coming! Send your ideas for topics or guests to Tim at tim@remodelersadvantage.com. Thanks!

Ep.34: Job Planning for Success with Dave Wittig

You need to take time at the start of a job to plan so you can keep to a job’s schedule and the budget. But the Production department almost always feels like they’re under the gun at the start and just want to get to work. Even with a schedule, something unexpected almost always happens and throws the whole thing off.

It’s frustrating, and it’s easy to throw up your hands and give up on planning — it takes up too much time at the beginning of the job and it seems like it never works. That’s why you need to plan for the unexpected at the beginning, says Dave Wittig.

In this episode, Dave talks to Tim and Steve about spotting potential problems and building in contingencies in your job planning and scheduling.

Dave is a Project Manager with Adams & Beasley Associates in Carlisle, MA. He’s been with the company for almost two years, working on high-end residential remodels mostly within Boston. One of his projects recently won a Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston Prism Gold Award.

Because most of his projects take place in the downtown core of a major city, logistics, deliveries, and parking add to his planning and scheduling headaches. But learning to spot the red flags and make allowances in his schedule for them helps. “When I hear an ‘if,’ I know there’s going to be a problem,” he says. He tells you how to stay flexible within the structure of a schedule, by building in contingencies, as well as:

  • The value of working backwards to fill in gaps
  • Working with your team to nail the details
  • Getting buy-in
  • Tapping others’ knowledge and experience to forecast problems
  • Not painting the rosy picture
  • Why you need a whiteboard on-site
  • And much more…

It’s not the hiccups in the job that get things off track, says Dave. It’s how you react to them that will make or break the schedule.

Have a Production Superstar?

If one or more of your Production pros has a skillset, system, or solution that should be highlighted on the podcast, drop us a line at tim@remodelersadvantage.com or steve@remodelersadvantage.com. We’d love to have them on the show.

Did You Know There are Roundtables For Production Managers?

Developed by show host, Tim Faller, this special Roundtables™ Group Program for Production Managers focuses on all aspects of production management including: People Management, Training, Technology and Customer Service. For more information, click here or contact Tim directly.
 

Ep. 15: Making Money on Change Orders with Brad Hogan

No matter how meticulously a job is planned, change orders are inevitable. They can either cost you or make money — the good news is, you get to choose!

In Episode 15, Tim and Steve learn how to make the profitable choice by putting the right systems and communication channels in place from Brad Hogan of Hogan Design & Construction.

Brad’s the Production & Sales Manager at the Geneva, IL, company, and organization and leadership have always come naturally to him. Brad started as a carpenter, and worked his way up to his current positions. He’s developed, changed, and implemented new systems to make Hogan Design & Construction stand out in the industry.

We all know there are going to be changes and change orders on jobs. Avoiding miscommunication at the beginning — at the handoff from sales or in pre-construction — is one key to keeping change orders from costing you.

Brad’s insights into turning your change orders into more profitable jobs include:

  • How to structure your contract to avoid conflict
  • Empowering your project manager or lead carpenter to handle change orders
  • Preparing the client for unforeseen complications
  • Establishing clear communication channels upfront
  • How to get a higher markup on changes orders
  • Holding the line with subcontractors
  • And much more…

Getting a handle on your change order process is crucial to your bottom line, and Tim, Steve, and Brad are here to help!

Click through to find out more about Hogan Design & Construction.

Thank You for the Shout-Out!

We’re excited to see The Tim Faller Show named as one of the 5 Remodeling Podcasts You Need to Listen to, by Pro Remodeler Magazine in their July edition.

THE #1 PRODUCTION EVENT FOR IMPROVING THE BOTTOM LINE 

After an amazing turnout last year (more than 100 attendees) we are excited to host the 2nd Annual Production Conference, held alongside the 2018 Remodelers Summit in beautiful New Orleans, coming up in September. Register Today! 

 

Ep.07: Establishing Trust Through Successful Pre-Construction Meetings with Chris Peterson

As remodeling projects transition from the sales and design phase into actual production, an effective pre-construction meeting can either make or break your chances of a successful client experience.

Pre-construction meetings, if run correctly, allow you to establish a relationship with the client; setting clear expectations, roles and responsibilities, setting milestone dates, communication contacts… and in doing so, building trust.

In Episode 7, Tim and Steve welcome Chris Peterson to the show to really dive further into ways to make this pre-construction meeting successful, something he and his team at Schloegel Design Remodel have been doing for decades.

Chris started in the construction field right out of high school, joined Schloegel in 1996 and has worked his way up through the ranks (carpenter, project manager, production manager) and is now VP of Production and Co-Owner of the business.

Schloegel Design Remodel is an award-winning firm based in Kansas City, MO and has been “transforming residences” since being founded by Jake Schloegel in 1980.

Tim, Steve and Chris share thoughts on not only the importance of these meetings, but how Schloegel has been using them over the years. These include:

  • Setting goals for the meeting
  • Holding a PRE Pre-construction meeting where the production team meets to set strategy of how to work best with the client, identify any red flags on the project plan, etc.
  • Giving background on how these meetings have evolved over time
  • Establishing Checklists and setting policies
  • How to handle changes in scope or project details, pricing, etc.
  • Measuring success of the meeting
  • Who participates in the meeting (client and production team) and their roles
  • Setting an agenda and preparing the client for the meeting
  • And More!

Whether your company is currently holding these pre-construction meetings or not, this episode is a great way to either get started with your own, or perhaps make changes to the way you are handling this critical hand-off between sales and production. Enjoy!

 

Are Your Meetings Successful?

After listening to this episode, we would love to hear your thoughts. Do you have other ways that you can share that have helped hand projects off between design/sales and production? How have they helped? Use the comments section below to provide feedback, we would love to hear from you!

 

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We will see you next Monday!

 

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