Construction Knowledge Basics You Must Know!

There are certain elements of construction that you must know. I am going to summarize 26 of the basic principles that continue to be missed, on projects that I am asked to complete. These projects range from the very difficult project, to extremely simple construction projects. Each one of them, seem to have the same common denominator, regarding issues that go wrong.

I have written about each one of these topic in much more depth within this website, however it appears that there is a continuance of simple stupidity, coupled with an arrogance that is causing construction projects to continually fail. After awhile, it becomes very frustrating, and I have to wonder if anyone, anywhere, has any clue, how to actually complete a project?

Unfortunately this is not a humorous situation, and is costing the taxpayers on public projects, and the independent developers on private projects, a lot of unwarranted expense!


1.) Procurement / Although I have reiterated the importance of procurement on every project, and for every items of purchase, as well as the discipline required on the projects, I continually become involved on projects that don’t have the product on the site, don’t have enough of the product, lack the proper fasteners, etc. Very briefly summarized below, are key elements of procurement.

a.) Understand the long lead items required on the project, and schedule them into the project schedule.

b.) Submit and bird dog, all of the requirements needed, per the specifications, prior to the actual activity commencing on the project. If there are shop drawings or specified mix designs, etc. make sure they are submitted and approved according to the construction schedule. Do it before they are required on the project!

c.) Field measure as required, but implement any ability to use dummy panels or spool pieces, to allow the installation of the product, and the infill of any deviations in measurements at a later date.

d.) Make sure that the delivery addresses are accurate and identify where the material should be delivered, to ensure timely delivery and subsequent installation.

e.) Be prepared for an emergency mobile run, to pick up product, if the schedule requires. You cannot be afraid to get in the pickup truck and go get it!

f.) Weekly update all of the procurement items. If you know the light fixtures or the switchgear will be an issues, stay on it, each week. Do not allow weeks to go by without updating all of the procurement items. If available assign an individual in the field or office to continue to call and prod suppliers and manufacturers. The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

g.) Constantly interact with field personnel, to ensure that there is enough material on the site for all of the projected construction activities. Anticipate the need, do not allow the need to lead!

h.) Don’t forget the fasteners. The fasteners are as important as the procurement item. For example if the aluminum soffit is on the job and there are no stainless steel screws for the installation, you are delayed. Can’t assemble without the pins, hooks, screws, nails, glue or whatever makes the assembly work!

i.) Remember all of the incidentals required for all of the proper construction installations, the motor starters, the electric fuses, the proper filters, etc. All of the incidental items must be treated as importantly as the primary procurement items. If you don’t have the proper fuses, batteries, starters, filters, keys, etc., the equipment is no good to the project!

2.) Proper sequencing / It is essential that you understand the proper sequencing of the project’s individual disciplines.   For example the roof needs to be tight, prior to the electrical installation. The floor should be installed at the end of the project to prevent damage, the insulation should not be placed in the walls, until the building is tight. There is a need for basic construction knowledge on the jobsite! This seems to be lacking on all the recent projects I have been involved with. No matter what you may or may not think or not think, there is a proper sequencing of a construction project, learn it, and use it!

3.) Look aheads / The look ahead schedule is as important, and in some instances, more important than the primary construction schedule. It is mandatory that the construction superintendent, together with their project manager, have a proper look ahead schedule. I recommend that a two week look ahead be a standard management tool. This two week look ahead, must be updated on a weekly basis, and all items of procurement, manpower, equipment, etc. be included within the look ahead. There must be an honest interest, on the part of both the superintendent and the project manager, to work together to ensure a successful project. All efforts at passing the blame, must be circumvented, if the project will be a success. Solve the problem, do not simply find an excuse for the problem!

4.) Field measurements / An understanding of the importance of proper field measurements must be an instinctive reaction by both the superintendent and the foreman on the project. It is significantly important that the leaders of the construction project understand what items need to be field measured and how they will schedule this process within the requirements of the entire construction schedule. If there are special windows, doors, cabinetry, lighting fixtures, etc. that will be customized to the specific openings constructed, and must be field measured, to properly fit an opening or a wall dimension, these must be totally understood by management on the project. Timing of field measurements and how this relates to the ordering of the product as well as its incorporation on the construction project must be an part of elementary knowledge required by every superintendent running a professional construction project.

5.) Scope of work / The proper management of each subcontractor’s scope of work, cannot be over emphasized enough. The inclusion of all items within the subcontractor’s scope of work is essential to the proper field management of the subcontractor. I recommend that a sit down, eye to eye , that is audio or video taped, be used to ensure that the general contractor and the subcontractor both understand, without any deviation, the scope of work as required by the subcontractors contract with the general contractor. DO NOT allow the attitude of, if it’s not excluded, it’s included, obscure what is required. Spell out the scope of work, even if it includes hundreds of items. I know of a very large and successful contractor that will include hundreds of small and determinate scope items, will tediously labor through each item with the subcontractor, and will video the entire scope review process. I have been through this procedure and it is incredibly time consuming and somewhat aggravating, however, there is never a scope item that is undecided or becomes an issue throughout the project. The time and effort expended at the initiation of the project, will be both beneficial, and very valuable as the project advances. Scope of work clarification is mandatory for a successful project. Do not simply use the proposal format that the subcontractor submitted when issuing their price for the job! This is the ultimate in laziness and will result in a disaster on the jobsite!

6.) Submittals / Although we all hate and dread the submittal process, this is again, one of those activities, that if taken seriously, with the proper time expended, will be invaluable as the project advances. The procurement schedule must be linked to the submittal schedule, and the two must be analyzed, discussed and managed completely, to ensure that all the proper approvals and submittals are intact and complete as the project advances. Once again, I have been on projects where the submittal process was never followed. Required shop drawings were not submitted, therefore they were never approved and the work advanced. The problems encountered after the fact, as well as the time required to correct the deficiencies, is far beyond the time required to properly manage the submittal process. Submittals and approvals are both tedious and time consuming, however they are essential to the success of the project!

7.) Specification requirements / The specification requirements must be managed and understood by both the project manager, as well as the onsite superintendent. Although many superintendents and project managers will tend to treat the specifications as a second rate citizen, the requirements buried within the hundreds of pages of specifications can cause substantial problems, as the project is constructed. There are several situations that I have just recently been exposed to, that could have been avoided if someone on the management side of the construction project had understood the specifications. Everyone in construction has a tendency to think they already know the construction specifications cold, this is mostly the case, however there will always be a new wrinkle or a requirement that is specific to the individual project, which if not realized, can cause issues as the project advances. I recommend the summary of the specifications by the superintendent requiring a written indication of all specific, special concerns or requirements contained within the specifications. If this task is assigned to the superintendent and is fulfilled, this will indicate that the superintendent, at least, skimmed the specifications. I know of projects where the specifications aren’t even located in the jobsite trailer, but are kept in the main office. This is shortsighted and honestly stupid!

8.) Material data sheets / Years ago, these type of items requiring specific paperwork and record keeping were not required. On today’s contemporary construction projects, the need for proper documentation for OSHA compliance, as well as LEED’s certification, has become standard format on all projects. It is much easier and more efficient to manage and document the required activities and data as the project advances, and not attempt to make up the information at the end of the project. There is nothing more frustrating than completing a project in the field, and finding out that the paperwork has not been completed to allow the project to close out. The lack of proper paperwork management can take the wind immediately out of the superintendent’s incentive to finish the project successfully. Do the paperwork as the project advances, and it will be easy to summarize at the end. Knowledgeable, consistent and conscientious paperwork management will allow the project a chance of finishing successfully. Without it, you have NO chance!

9.) Fire retardant paperwork / As with the material data sheets, the fire retardant paperwork that is normally required by the Building Department, prior to the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy, is much easier and efficiently performed, as the project advances, than at the panicked end of the job. It is very disturbing and frustrating to discover that all of the identifiable information required to secure the final Certificate of Occupancy, has not been properly assembled, and is not ready to go, when the project has been completed in the field.

9.) Warranty and guarantee / Once again, like the MDS sheets and the fire retardant material data sheets, the warranty and guarantee information must be anticipated and managed. When the individual subcontractors are negotiated with , the warranty and guarantee paperwork must be included within the required scope of work. This is a given, and cannot be forgotten about. If the individual subcontractor is not obligated to provide the required warranties and guarantees, as required by the specifications, during the contract negotiations, they will attempt to issue a substantial change order, if they are told to produce these documents at the end of the project. Again, proper management at the beginning of the project, will relieve all of the difficult, costly and time consuming panic paperwork gathering, that is so typical of mismanaged construction projects. Do not forget that there are subcontractors that specifically require their individual project managers to present a specific number of change orders, each week on their projects. I know of one particular local subcontractor that demands a 25% change order rate on their projects, if not, the project manager is relieved of their duties!

10.) Environmental concerns / Environmental concerns, regulations and field requirements, are becoming more stringent, as society and politics demand more protective measures and more liberal interpretations of the environmental impact of construction projects, on the environment. It is mandatory that all project managers and superintendents understand all of the environmental regulations and project requirements that will be demanded on them, as the project advances. The lack of turbidity readings, as the project advances, or the lack of silt sacks in the catch basins, could cause a delay in the issuance of the certificate of occupancy, or even hefty fines and penalties. It is very important that all of the environmental concerns established by the contract documents be understood and followed. I just finished a large landfill project, which required mandatory monitoring of the air quality as the landfill was covered. The contractor on the project ignored the requirement and set themselves up to several individual lawsuits, involving the health and safety of their workers. It is very important that all safety and environmental issues be understood and followed on construction projects. The environment is a concern for everyone and has become an increasing concern on construction projects. The easy land to develop has basically been used, now, all we have are the more difficult sites that more likely than not, have environmental concerns and regulation requirements.

11.) Safety concerns / It is not the old days, when anything goes, as long as you are able to complete the work. Safety is a major concern, and all proper OSHA and individual project safety requirements must be followed. It is essential to limit liability exposure, and to ensure that all aspects of a safety program are properly managed, the project manager and superintendent must become knowledgeable regarding all safety requirements. The OSHA 10 course and even better the OSHA 30 course is essential to the proper education of the management team supervising a construction project. Although not an element that I normally become involved with, due to my tendency to only be responsible for the end of the project, an intimate knowledge or all safety requirements is highly recommended. Safety issues on a project can stall completion, and can present significant legal battles and issues to the team, if not properly handled and managed during the course of the project. Safety like the environment are the HOT topics, and must be professionally managed on all construction projects.

12.) Flushing of utilities / All water utilities must be properly flushed, prior to the installation of fixtures and accessories connected to the water source. The introduction of dirty water containing silt and sand, will destroy the delicate membranes and diaphragms of plumbing valves as well as clog up all filters and strainers. In many instances the lack of a clean water supply will plague the proper functioning of plumbing and mechanical equipment and fixtures for years on a project. The introduction of sand and silt into the system will cause both deterioration and malfunctioning valves. It is mandatory that only clean water is introduced into new systems. In addition, the domestic water lines must be tested to ensure that the water is potable and approved by the local health department. If existing lines were used, or tied into, the clearance of the lines is necessary to ensure dirt and debris was not introduced into the systems during construction. The proper management and supervision of all waterlines as they are installed, is mandatory for the proper and efficient future operations of the systems. Of course the routing and locations of all waterlines must be presented on the as-built documents for the project.

13.) Cleaning utilities / Similar to the flushing of the water systems, the cleaning of all utilities is highly recommended, to ensure that the sanitary, water, gas and other utility lines function properly. I have been involved when interior storm drains fail to drain, roof drains become clogged up, and sanitary lines refuse to accept the sanitary waste of the project. The simple installation of new lines, or the tying in of old lines, requires proper management and supervision.   Unfortunately a hastily installed storm pipe, or sanitary line that is not properly installed, can result in failure of pressure tests and the requirement to excavate and reinstall utilities. The problem with correcting previously installed utilities, is that they are normally covered over by finished products, such as concrete slabs, asphalt drives, or other finished applications. It is much easier and more efficient to install the utilities correctly the first time, and to clean and maintain the lines prior to the occupancy of the structure. I just recently completed a project that required over 25 thousand dollars worth of repair work to satisfy the pressure testing requirements of the project on a simple PVC sanitary line. The line would not test properly and was under a completed parking lot. The end result was to cut the asphalt, excavate the PVC line and reinstall the line. All of this, due to one laborer having a bad Friday afternoon! Install it correct the first time and save yourself the headache and cost of rectifying a stupid installation error!

14.) Coordination implementation / It is mandatory that the project manager and superintendent on a project understand the importance and requirements of proper coordination implementation. Coordination on a construction project is essential to the proper and efficient installation of all utility lines as well as construction products, that rely on the accuracy of other adjacent construction assemblies and products. Coordination is a term that is used in many different ways and for several different scenarios, however, it is always important, and the time and effort placed in proper coordination will allow a project to be completed in a much more efficient and acceptable manner. Proper coordination will eliminate a lot of repairs, after the fact corrections, and loss of time and money at a later date, when the incorrectly coordinated items, need to be corrected. Coordination requires the knowledge of how things should be constructed on a construction project. In many cases, this requires time and experience in the field and cannot be learned by computer investigation, research and book learning. Sorry to sound so old, but there is NO substitute for experience on a construction project!

15.) Change Order management / Although I have separate web-pages dedicated to this topic, I still find that the lack of proper change order management and coordination, continues to stop the completion of projects, does not allow subcontractors and contractors to sign final lien waivers, stalls the final payment by owners to contractors, and even delays the issuance of certificates of occupancy. I am presently involved with a project that cannot be closed out nor the certificate of occupancy issued, due to the fact that the Building Department requires a full and final accounting of the project. This requirement is to ensure that the proper building department fee is collected on the project. When the building permit is taken out initially, the cost of the project is predicted or estimated. Normally the final fee is determined by a physical accounting of the initial contract value, plus all of the change orders. Therefore change order management is essential for the final and successful completion of the project. In addition, the proper and efficient management of the change order system is required to allow finalization of lien waivers, certificates of completion, final acceptance by the owner, etc. Financial management through change orders is an issue on every construction project. This financial management should be conscientiously managed and maintained as the project advances, and not simply saved for the end of the line!

16.) Documentation RFI’s / Full documentation is required to properly close out a project. If the documentation is properly established during the project itself, and not at the end,. in a desperate attempt to finalize all the proper change orders, requests for information, etc. , then the project can be completed in a timely manner. It is essential that the project manager and superintendent be organized and disciplined to ensure that all of the documentation be properly taken care of, as the project advances. The change orders required to allow the subs to continue to work, as well as the necessary information required to properly complete all aspects of the project, should never be held off until the end of the project. As with many of the essential aspects of a construction project, continued, diligent and conscientious management of all documentation is highly recommended on all projects.

17.) Daily reports / Daily reports are essential to the success of a construction project. The proper completion of the work, as well as the support for change orders and other issues that occurred on the project, can be properly managed and finalized if there is a record of the project. The best record keeping is performed by a knowledgeable and conscientious superintendent. It is important that the superintendent understand the importance of a proper daily report, and the items that need to be addressed and formally identified on the reports. The best daily reports are ones that are supported by required subcontractor daily reports. In this manner all of the construction activities are properly documented and recorded. I have specifically devoted other web pages on this web site to the creation of daily reports and what should be included. Items such as visitors, subcontractor manpower, work activities, deliveries, weather, additional work, etc. should all be documented. I can state from experience that consistent and accurate daily reports are invaluable if the project ends up in litigation. Any arbitrator or judge that is exposed to consistent and accurate daily reports is impressed and quickly determines that the management of the project was professional and accurate. You must be consistent and only relate the facts on the daily reports. Editorializing and opinions should not be stated on your daily reports. If you feel this is necessary, then private emails to your superiors, or simple hand written notes are preferred.

18.) As- builts / The assembly of as-built documents as the project as it is being constructed is preferred over the assembly of these same documents at the end of the project. The field team must address each deviation in the contract plans and specifications, with written record on the daily reports, as well as graphical representation on the actual construction, job site documents. This is critical to the proper management of the as-built documents for the project, and will contribute greatly to the efficient presentation of the required sets of as-built documents necessary to complete the project, secure the certificate of occupancy, as well as obtain final payment. As with many things in construction, the proper management at the time of the incident, revision, construction variation, or whatever occurs on the project, is conducive to efficiency and professionalism. Unfortunately this need for timeliness is becoming less and less important due to the current, so called construction professionals, and the final completion of projects is becoming more and more tedious to achieve, due to this lackadaisical attitude.

19.) Special Inspections / The need for special inspections on a project has become more and more important, as well as common. In the past, special inspections were associated with special construction techniques or requirements, and not as a means of inspecting all of the common requirements on a construction project. There has been an increase in the requirement for special inspections, due to the more sophisticated and advanced methods of construction, as well as the liability limitations and concerns. Currently, the majority of projects require special inspections that relate to structural work as well as other disciplines. It is important to realize that the special inspection reports must be identified as ” accepted ” by the special inspector, at the time of certificate of occupancy. If there are reports that have been performed during the course of the construction project that failed, expressed concern, or shifted the approval of different construction scenarios to any of the engineers of record, these reports MUST be finalized and accepted, to adequately comply with the requirements for the final certificate of occupancy. As with management of the as-built documents, the timeliness of properly managing the special inspections, and any other reports that indicate anything, other than acceptance, is critical, and should be resolved as the inspections take place. If there are inspections that are not approved and have simply accumulated to the end of the project, the management of these items becomes much more difficult and time consuming. In many instances the removal of completed work is required to allow the special inspectors to re-inspect items that have not received their seal of approval. This situation will become extremely costly and time consuming.

20.) Not so special inspections / What I refer to when indicating, not so special instructions, is all of the inspection requirements noted in the specifications, that are not conducted by the special inspector. Each specification section will indicate the inspections necessary to comply with the requirements of the contract documents. Each of these inspections, certifications, etc., must be managed on a timely basis, as the construction is performed. If an insulation inspection is required, and the drywall is installed over the insulation, the final approval and management of this simple inspection, becomes difficult if not impossible. In these cases, the removal of finished products is common, to show the inspectors what activity has been covered over and allow them to inspect the activity. I recommend that an inspection schedule be implemented that coordinates with the construction schedule, and is identified on each two week look ahead schedule. Not so special inspections, if not properly managed in the field, can cause difficulties with obtaining the certificate of occupancy, as well as final sign off by the engineers and architects. They inspections are not so special, if performed in a timely manner, but they become extremely special, if not obtained at the correct time of the construction project. Inspections are important, and the proper management of these requirements is essential to the satisfactory completion of every construction project.

21.) Building permit requirements / When a building permit is taken out, there are requirements noted on the permit card that is located on the jobsite. In most instances the required inspections are listed together with signature lines, to indicate compliance. The permit requirements must be complied with, if the contractor is expecting the final approvals of the construction project and a certificate of occupancy to be issued. Failure to comply with the inspection requirements will result in problematic situations and issues at the end of the project. Do NOT expect the city or town to monitor the progress of the construction, and warn you when you need an inspection. I am called at the end of many projects to try and resolve uninspected issues on a project. This is extremely difficult to accomplish, and takes time and money. In many cases, the walls need to be opened up, or other elements of the completed structure exposed to allow the proper inspection process. In addition to the time and money required to obtain the proper inspection approvals at the end of the project, the attitude and demeanor of the inspectors has been compromised. Do not expect anything, but total compliance of all rules and regulations, at this point in the project. In addition to the normal schedule of required inspections, the issuance of a building permit will normally have special compliance issues. For example, if the project is located adjacent to a watershed, there could be special environmental requirements and inspections, if the project is located in the inner city, then special surveying might be necessary to ensure proper setbacks have been complied with. Special easements must be certified and special exceptions must be inspected and approved. The competent and knowledgeable contractor on the project should be aware of all of the requirements stated on the building permit, and comply with these requirements on a timely and consistent basis. The proper and professional management of all building permit requirements will help you promptly receive the certificate of occupancy. Failure to follow all of the requirements, will be both costly and extremely time consuming.

22.) Owner utility requirements / On almost all construction projects, the actual utility charges and agreements are between the owner of the property and the individual utility companies. An experienced and professional contractor will identify the required utilities and convey this acknowledgement, as well as guidance, to the owner of the property. In most instances, the electric, gas, telephone and data utilities will require specific contracts and agreements with the owners of the property. This procedure should be started early on in the construction project, to ensure that the utilities are properly connected and activated when the need arises. In most cases, any assistance that the general contractor can provide regarding utility tie ins for the owner, will show the owner that the contractor is an experienced construction person, and willing to help the owner complete a successful project. The more information and guidance you can present to the owner, the better your relationship and the ultimate success of the project. Human nature is the same in construction as it is in daily life, the more you can assist, the more you will be assisted!

  1. ) Financial management / Proper financial management, is essential to the success of every construction project. Unless you are protected financially by the Federal or State governments, the financial control and management of a project is essential to the overall success of the project. It is vitally important for the financial welfare of both the contractors on the project as well as the owner, to have a general contractor that is competent and precise, in regards to estimated cost, cost overruns and change orders. I have been called into projects on numerous occasions, where the budget is running wild, the change orders have gotten totally out of control, and the owner is in a panic. The first element of proper financial management is the accurate and professional construction of the initial budget. Construction projects are an analytical affair, that is simply a summation of costs, plus markups. There should really be no surprises, if the contract documents are relatively accurate, and the contractor has some idea what they are doing. I have been involved with disasters, where the budget was initially developed, to simply entice the owners of the project to give the project to the ridiculously low contractor. Or the general contractor will contract, with unprofessional subcontractors, that will cheat and scam their way through the project. This should never be allowed to occur. You will always pay for it! What will occur is the disasters that I am constantly called to magically resolve. If four roofers are hovering around 100 thousand dollars for the roofing scope, and there is one at 60 thousand dollars, something is wrong. If an owner convinces themselves that their project is worth 100 dollars a square foot, when all of the other projects with similar scope and square footage, are costing other owners 150 dollars a square foot, there will be a problem. It has been demonstrated over and over again, that you never get something for nothing. If the price is too good to be true, it is! It is always beneficial for contractors and owners to analytically evaluate the project, and project an accurate and realistic budget for the project. If you fool yourself now, everyone else will be think of you as the fool, when the project is stalled and in litigation. Please, financial obligation for accuracy, must be demanded of all general contractors, owners, developers and subcontractors. Continued failure to accurately estimate and budget will simply succeed in failed projects!

24.) Jobsite safety and documentation / OSHA has become a force to be reckoned with, and can levy considerable fines on contractors for non compliance. Aside from the fear of heavy fines, the life and safety of your workers is in your hands, and the proper compliance with all safety rules and regulations is a necessity for any successful project. Safety is a primary ingredient on a successful project. The occurrence of an accident on the project, will jeopardize the construction schedule, as well as the projected budget. The proper documentation, complying with all safety rules and regulations, is mandatory. Tool box meetings, the attendance records of these meetings, as well as the proper management of all aspects of safety administration, is a requirement that all general contractors must be aware of, and properly execute. The execution of proper safety regulations, and the result of field safety, will reflect in the insurance premiums that your insurance company will charge the company. The life and safety of the men as well as the financial success of the company is dependent upon the management and supervision of a professional safety program. Safety is KEY and the management of this aspect of the project is essential to success!

25.) Punchlist management / The punchlist on any construction project can make or break the general contractor together with the subcontractors. It is mandatory, that the punchlist on a project be managed and supervised, throughout the project. It is much easier and less expensive to manage the work as it occurs. Do not allow a lazy or inexperienced supervisor on a project to allow improper work, or incomplete work. Correct the work as it occurs! This is so relative to the final success of the project, that it is difficult for me to over stress the concept. Make the subcontractor perform professional and proper work, as it occurs. Limit the punchlist as the project advances. I recommend to all general contractors, to insist on field personnel to continually have a running punchlist in their laptop on the project.   Do not wait for the architect or the owner, to generate a punchlist, before insisting on corrective work. The attitude that, if the architect doesn’t see it, we got away with it, does not work! This attitude is what generates the repeated punchlists that simply get larger and larger at the end of a project. Punchlist management is primary to the success of the project! Theoretically, the project should end without any punchlist. Strive for this goal and you will be much better off.

26.) Certificate of Occupancy management / Almost all of the above notes and comments, will relate to the final issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. This is the holy grail of any construction project, and means that the building department, as well as all of the other governmental agencies, are satisfied that the project has been completed in accordance with contract documents. The issuance of the certificate of occupancy will allow final payment, start of the warranty and guarantee periods, as well as final acceptance by the architect and the owner. This is the indication of the end of the construction project, and the majority of the requirements and responsibilities regarding the issuance of the certificate of occupancy have been acknowledged and briefly explained within this webpage. Please, if you simply comply with the issues and obligations stated within this webpage, the majority of negative issues and non compliance problems will not occur.

In summary, it is my opinion that the construction industry has been saturated by individuals that find the simple management tasks, too elementary and below their pay grade. This attitude has resulted in projects not being completed as well as an increase in litigation and financial disasters that were never anticipated or predicted. Construction is not a difficult task, it just takes long hours, hard work and the dedication and motivation to simply do it right. I have been involved with so many problem projects, that are only problems, due to incompetence during the construction process.

Go to the proper school, understand the construction process, spend considerable time in the field, and then decide you can decide that you are over qualified, to perform the mundane tasks as described in the 26 items noted on this webpage. Until you have the time invested and the experience, do not consider yourself an expert, that attitude will only continue to provide projects that need to be completed, for us old and tired construction workers, that have been doing this for over 40 years.

Learning construction management takes time, diligence and dedication.

One thought on “Construction Knowledge Basics You Must Know!

  1. Well, all I can say is what a great website! It’s a must read for anyone who cares to succeed in this industry and any project owner who may be dreading working with a GC or anyone in the trades. Fair is fair.

    I landed here by chance hours ago and have long forgotten what my original search was. Seems like I’ve been reading for days. I have made virtually every mistake outlined in these pages and can relate to all the frustrations and pain. It was with some relief to have some of my concerns validated about GC’s low-balling a project bid to get the work and worrying about everything later.

    My wife’s sister is a general contractor who solves every problem, or as many as she can, with the phrase, “change order!!!” hmmmm…problem solved I suppose. I don’t know, that’s not me.

    I’m sure it’s here somewhere but my wife keeps admonishing me to “control your client”…”don’t let them control the project.” (so what if it’s actually their project? I say.. LOL). So, in one case where the owners’ project manager abruptly stopped paying (for no good reason) so I preemptively engaged the owner’s lawyer (not mine).

    We talked for days….(running up their legal tab). End of the day, I received all my money and a reduced scope of work and the owners nearly fired their PM. (So she said) I told her that next time I need a good lawyer I’m going to call hers.

    These days I am thick(er) skinned and have learned to get heavy with the paperwork.

    Mike Miranda
    San Francisco, CA

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