Dexter + Chaney Blog

Construction Risk Management Image 120px

As the weather warms up across the country (just not in Seattle), construction season is beginning to get under way. With every project, no matter how big or small, there is always risk—risk of injury, financial responsibility, or quality assurance.

If you stop to think about it, it's clear that risk carries a dollar value. This, after all, is the foundation of the insurance industry. And risk can be a profit center, since insurance companies obviously make money.

Issues around Construction Communication

As a general contractor a few years ago, I was working on a tenant improvement project. One day I remember starting the demo on a wall. We took off the drywall and found out that there were all kinds of wires and pipes running through it. These did not show up on the drawings. So, I took some photos, wrote an RFI attached the photos to the document and sent it to the architect noting its urgent status. Then I waited, not knowing if he had even received the RFI. I called and left a voice message—and waited some more. Eventually I received a response to the RFI, but not without losing time sending and following up on the RFI.

Construction Business Negotiations

In business there is never a shortage of opportunities to negotiate and I’ve found myself at the negotiation table a number of times throughout my career. In the construction world, it’s great to find negotiated work, but most jobs are bid. That does not mean, however, that negotiating skills are not important for contractors.

Cloud Computing Basics: The Internet as a Utility

It seems like every time I turn on the television, I see a commercial for something "in the cloud." There used to be commercials from a well-known company that proclaimed in a super-hero-like fashion, "To the cloud!" And most recently, we've been hearing quite a bit about the iCloud.

Time to buy construction software

It's that time of year again,the leaves turn colors, the days are cooler, and construction companies start to evaluate their construction software and consider if it's time to purchase something new. To help the decision process, I've created some points to consider when making the switch to a new construction software application.

Negative cash flow - empty pockets

Previously, we discussed how construction project estimates and the way in which cash flows in and out of a job affect a contractor's ability to manage cash flow. Today we'll discuss two more minefields that contribute to construction cash flow's volatility.

Negotiating the Cash Flow Minefield

Cash flow is an extremely hot topic for any type of business. A few weeks ago, I bumped into a friend of mine who is the controller for a local construction firm. While talking, I asked her to name the single biggest issue she's facing. Without hesitating, she said, "Cash flow."

For most industries, there is risk but predictability in cash flow. This is less true for construction. Contractors face an environment in which not only is risk present (and these days quite high), but it is much harder to predict and control. Over the next few days, we'll take a look at some of the elements that make it difficult to manage construction cash flow starting with estimating and income verses outgo.

Documentation Paper Trail 120px

My first job out of college was in the accounting office for a construction company. My supervisor regularly told me, "Always keep a paper trail." She obviously lived by this practice, as her filing cabinets were stuffed with old documents and printed emails, and her email inbox was regularly at capacity and she had to ask for more memory. I kept this advice in mind but never really understood the value of it until the day she came under fire for a miscommunication that was going to cost the company $200,000.

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