Owners Representation

“An owner’s representative operates as part of the project team, but they work under a separate contract held with the owner. Their role is to act on behalf of the owner to oversee the entire project. This can include the planning, design, construction and commissioning, as well as the closeout phases.”

When I perform the duties of an Owners Representative, I bring all of my knowledge and experience to the table on behalf of the owner, and work alongside the GC, subcontractors, and other vendors to ensure the planned and agreed-upon project is being produced on time, in budget, and without delay wherever possible.

The value for the client is that they have an expert on their side, much like a defendant brings an attorney to court, someone who is an expert in that field and setting.
The key benefit is that all of my knowledge, skills, and experience are brought to bear on behalf of the owner, and while it’s rare for me to have conflict with the GC, there have been many times I’ve been called upon to settle a debate between the two.
Another common report I hear is appreciation for my ability to ‘interpret the lingo’, both so the owner can understand what the GC is saying, and to help the GC understand what the owner is asking for.

When you’re thinking of taking on a project, start with a trusted consultant in your corner to walk you through the phases, selections, and details of the project. You should only be paying for the time you actually use, but most consultant and owners reps work on a retainer system, which works best for everyone.

Hang the Trike!

Under the heading, ‘Custom Field Projects’, I got an interesting lead for a client that wanted some overhead garage storage shelves moved about to make room for hanging a recumbent trike from the ceiling, and I was immediately piqued!

At our first site visit, I was presented with a tidy drawing on graph paper showing a lot of details and a well-thought-out design. We walked the space, chatted about the project and my past experience, I gathered my pictures, measurements, and other details, and then headed off to the next meeting.

Putting my bid together could have been complicated, but I like to keep things simple, so I just made my materials list, and then wrote out each step. From there I figured out how many hours it should take me to do all of those steps, added my 10%, and submitted it.
From what I gather, I won the bid primarily because I was the only person that appeared to understand the project, and have a solid plan of how to get it done, which is surprising, but not unusual for me to hear.

To get started, I took a little time to set up my workstation and make sure I had my tools readily accessible. For over 20 years I’ve heard the same argument, and for over 20 years I’ve continued to prove that taking a little time in the morning to properly set up saves far more time throughout the day.

The table on the sawhorses is mine, the chest of drawers is not.

I got started by removing the inner shelves, furthest from the wall, cutting the joists they rest on, and then re-hanging them to the correct width.

Before, with two shelf sections.
After, with one shelf section.

Once that was handled, I set about mounting the custom track system for the hoist. It took some doing because the stud-finder kept giving me false readings, but I eventually found the joist and got my lag bolts with spacers and track into it.

Custom mounting track for the hoist.

Once I had that done, I tested it by jerking on it with my body weight, and it did not budge, so I’m convinced it’ll be there for a very long time. I did take a few minutes test it with some weight….

My hand tool bag weighs about 40 lbs.

I came back on a second visit once the trike was on site to get it dialed in and hung where it needed to be. That part was the most fun because I got to use some ‘rigging math’!

Neatly hung!

Now the client has a simple system they can use to hang their trike out of the way, parking it AND the car in the single-car garage.
I really enjoyed this project, it was unique, had a few challenges to overcome, and is certainly not the every day mundane stuff we usually see!

My first Project Recovery

I first tackled a recovery project when a neighbor of a project I was on came over and asked me if I would take a look at the mess their previous contractor had left behind.
I’d spent a lot of time with this neighbor already; she had come over most every day after I introduced myself as the ‘new, though temporary nuisance next door’, because I was building a large deck and replacing an existing deck on the house there. She always has a glass of something cold for me, and a few questions to ask, some about the work I was doing, some about how I might handle a specific situation. I didn’t realize at the time that she was actually interviewing me for taking over her project!

I started by taking a look at the existing situation, and then making a list of everything that needed to be done to get the project finished. I then ordered those steps in the ‘natural order of construction’, and began pricing out each one.

As we began getting work done on her project, a small remodel coupled with an addition, we worked together on the budget and finances to make sure that we noted how much money the previous contractor was owed, how much he owed her, and how much she needed to sue for. What a mess!

Once we got all the ‘wrong things’ out and the project back to a place where we could properly schedule things, I made a schedule and subbed out various pieces, moving quickly through the rest of the project.

From this project I learned that in Recovery, as opposed to Project Management, you’ve got to have a different approach. You’ve got to seek out the biggest problem first, ignoring all the rest, and get something going somewhere to move things forward, and you’ve got to accept that you’re going to have a lot more questions than you will answers. By adjusting your mindset to reflect the reality you’re stepping into, you can change the way you think about things, and move through them faster and easier. This is far easier to do when you have a solid system for capturing all of the work to be done, which is where my Identify, Capture, Quantify, and Track to Completion methodology came from.

When you’re in Project Recovery, you’ve got to strip away the stuff, get down to the most basic nuts and bolts, and then charge forward carefully. Most people will be urging you on to go faster, but going faster only makes it worse. You don’t need to go faster, you need to go better, to make sure you can get OUT of Recovery, and into Management.

Construction Consultant

Welcome to my introduction on what a Construction Consultant is, written by ME! 😀

First, what is a Construction Consultant?
Someone who specializes in providing knowledge, experience, and information, related to construction, to the client, in a way they can easily understand.
I do this by applying my decades of experience, my wide range of knowledge, and my practical skills from my time of actually performing work, and conveying the message or meaning to the client in ‘plain English’.

Second, who should hire a Construction Consultant?
Anyone who wants to ensure their construction project can be, or is getting, done properly; within their budget, expectations, and site limitations.

Third, what’s the value of a Construction Consultant?
I have been told many times by my client that I am invaluable, and worth far more than I was being paid. When I review your project, I’m looking for all the things that will, or may, happen, and how all the pieces should fit together. In doing so, I have found millions of dollars of oversights, potential faults, and problems-to-be that no one else had found in the project.
By finding these things before they become problems that cost you money, I help ensure your budget stays intact!

Whether you need a single project review, general consulting, or a full time owners rep, having an expert in your corner is the best money you’ll spend on your project!

Project Recovery in Apple Valley

I recently wrapped up a project recovery in Apple Valley, and as is always the case, it was both a complete mess, and a surprise to the owner that I got it under control so quickly.

When a project goes awry, it can happen for any number of reasons, but most of the ones i’ve dealt with have been because the existing contractor finally pissed off the owner(s) too much, and got themselves fired. I did work on one project with a very picky client who has driven the previous contractors to quit, but I still got that one handled, too.

This project went awry because the contractors were taking too many shortcuts, doing shoddy work, and skipping steps, so we ended up with finish flooring installed, but paint work left to do, appliances left to be installed, and cabinetry not completed yet, among many other issues.

I started this project the same way I do all my recoveries, one long, slow walk through to capture the current condition of everything, inside and out, and then I made a plan of attack.

I always plan my recovery work to follow the standard building order of operations to make sure the work we’re doing now won’t be damaged by something else later. So here I started outside with the removal and reinstallation of some windows that were leaking, then addressing some siding concerns, then dealing with exterior doors and doorways that weren’t properly sealed.

Once I had the outside weathertight, I moved inside and got to work on replacing the bad subflooring, finishing the plumbing and electrical that was missing, patching up walls and trim, and getting everything ready for paint. Inside, I like to ‘build from the bottom up, finish from the top, down’.

Project recoveries aren’t easy, but I enjoy the challenge, and having done so many of them, I have a playbook of successful methods at the ready.
If your project has gone sideways and you don’t know who to call, drop me a line and let’s get your project back on the rails, and all the way to DONE-ville.