Category Archives: Vlogs

Thoughts That Build – What does Collaboration really mean?

Today, I’m going to talk about collaboration and boy. Did I need say that today is Tuesday after the long weekend massive snowstorm here in Ontario? My kids daycare got shut down, two-year-old firecracker who doesn’t stop, was at home all day but the open communication between my wife and me trying to figure out how we could make each other’s day successful.

For each of us, individually and for us together as a family unit really-really made today worth it. I’m not saying we didn’t have our struggles during the day but understanding what we needed was more than half the battle. Now today was a microcosm for what most of us have probably experienced in our lives with our friends, immediate family, extended family and work relationships of course. How do you plan ahead for the future? Is it buying that house, is it going on vacation, is it savings, is it financial planning, whatever it is, you have to have that openness. There are a few people involved, couple of people involved, sometimes and having that shared vision and that understanding is key to a successful relationship. When you add that piece of collaboration to the clarity and craftsmanship that I spoke about over the last few weeks, I believe that forms the fundamentals to any successful project understanding what a client’s needs are, Interior designers needs are, architects engineers, trades suppliers. How do they all fit in together, clients might want price schedule, quality, the golden triangle as they say it’s next to impossible but understanding really what do they need do. They want that service, do they want that quality or is it just price what the designers needs are, the architects needs are, how do we bring their vision to life as well their understanding of the client’s position. How do they understand what you need to be successful men as a contractor, do I need payments on time? Do I need prompt responses to clarifications and requests for information, how do we does all of that fit in together that collaborative environment right from the start through a project will determine if your project is successful because, remember everyone’s perception of a successful project is different and without that collaboration of all sides you never really know if a client’s happy. We might think that a client is happy because the product looks perfect but prices could have skyrocketed, you might not have responded to questions quickly, he might not have coordinated properly and so on and so forth.

We can go down the list so for me and the foundations for any successful project of those three c’s, we can take it out of construction into any other part of life. There are so many entities that have to come together in any industry contractors, team workers. Clients vendors you name it but to be successful having that collaboration between all parties is a vital in understanding how you can be successful.

Thoughts That Build – Building with Craftsmanship

So, last week I spoke about clarity, and really clarity is the first step of the foundation of my business and I guess, you could say my life by extension, It’s what I call my three c’s. Today, I’m going to jump to the third c, there’s a reason for that the third c, is craftsmanship.

Now, everyone knows what craftsmanship is but everyone have a slightly different definition and how it pertains to them. I’ll give you a perfect example, for me, during this pandemic lockdown, we’ve all had to make some sacrifices, I’m sure you’ve seen quite a few videos of mine over the last couple of weeks where my hair got a little extra disheveled over time. Well, over the weekend, god bless my wife, she buzzed my hair it needed to be done just getting to that point now, she literally care but she’s not necessarily honed that craft because that’s not what she does. I miss my barber she takes so much care she knows how I like it. It always looks great she works on her craft throughout the years and that’s what we try to bring that passion into our workplace. You know that feeling, that making sure we don’t cut corners the attention to details there in the mind new details that maybe other people might not notice but once you see it you know it’s there, so we try to even those out as much as possible, not just with our team but my subcontractors as well.

Having that care, that passion to last to have that lasting effect on a project is phenomenal. When you walk through and you can tell that it’s done with quality, it’s done with care that every aspect has been put together to make sure the desired output meets that design because the design has been crafted to a certain point and we have to take that 2d drawing and make it 3d as best we can. So that’s my third c bringing that craftsmanship in what we do. I try to do that with golf. It doesn’t work out so well I love it practice it but that quality isn’t there for whatever reason. I’m sure many of us can attest to that but I still try to bring that attention to detail, that passion and everything that we do to every single job site. So, long after we’re gone people still see it was done with care and quality.

Thoughts That Build – Clarity of Design, Clarity of Intent

So, today I wanted to talk about clarity, what does that mean? How does that impact your business? How does that impact your life? Clarity is something that’s always been very important to me and just being clear in expectations, clear in process, clear in scheduling and I want to talk about how this relates to the construction industry and life as in general. It’s one of the three c’s of my business.

Now, clarity, let’s talk about that in a construction sense. Being clear right from the get-go with your tendering process, your pricing process, what’s included, what’s not included, what are alternate products, is really beneficial because down the line through the process you don’t want to have those difficult conversations. You don’t want to have oh well this was ambiguous, so, I did not include it or you know this is cheaper, so, I decided to go with that and it kind of meets the design appeal. There’s a process in which it’s involved with that including with that is the clarity of scheduling and how the whole process comes together.

We as contractors have to be clear with our clients, how everything comes together when things happen and this is why a schedule is so long. Everyone have different interpretations of how long things should take. They want stuff done by a certain time. It isn’t necessarily true now with life for me personally, I’ve always been a research person so for me having that clarity of knowing what’s going on, knowing you know what a plan is six months down the line for life. Be it you, know a child, my child’s extracurricular activities or finances or schedule of the house shall. We say to me that builds confidence in myself on a day-to-day basis and I realized that long ago that I wanted to bring that into my business as well.

So, having that clarity of the process and sharing that clarity with your clients with your consultants, with your subcontractors can only lead to a much better project site, right? Because now you’re not going to have arguments with subcontractors as well consultants as well. Just clearing up those loose ends, there’s no drawing out there that’s going to be 100% accurate. We’re all humans doing work so the more you’re clear up front and through the process, the better the entire project is going to be and that’s one of the c’s that I try to follow with every tender, every project that I undertake.

Thoughts That Build – I Got a Guy

So, I got a guy I could do it cheaper now. I’m sure most of us in the construction world, be it residential or commercial have definitely heard this before and while it’s all born of good intentions from the start, you know in my experience I’ve tried it, didn’t like it in certain respects, liked it in other respects, but I really wanted to talk about you know some of the pros and cons with what to watch out for in something like this and this is for clients, this is for architects, this is for contractors, as well everyone. Everyone included and really at the crux of it is we all know cost is an issue especially for the smaller businesses, the independents of course for the larger companies to 100% but at the end of the day it really boils down to what type of company? Is this guy you know referring to on a project, right? Is it is he picking and choosing from different suppliers? Is he calling in favors, what if something goes wrong. So, I really wanted to talk about these pros and cons.

Now, on the surface it sounds simple, cost slower go with it 100 percent run but something us contractors have to consider, something clients have to consider as well is. what are the ramifications that they don’t perform, they don’t meet a schedule if you know quality is not there. If it’s an alternative product but we weren’t aware of it do, they know the shop drying process, do they not know the shop drawing process, there’s a lot of different things, do they know? You know the prompt payment terms in the industry especially here in Ontario or wherever you are for that matter. You know that’s one, second one that I ran into which wasn’t so much fun, was if there was an issue that guy said well I deal with the client. So I’m going to talk to them, it really doesn’t make for a cohesive working environment because you’re trying to push with the schedule, you’re trying to quality control, I mean checks and balances and then it gets to, he said, she said. You know what I mean and that really has an impact of where that contract is now.

If the client wants to take on a contract third party, us as contractors sure we can coordinate, we can advise but that’s about it. On the other side, we can hold back payment, so on and so forth, so there are many different things in my experience very few times I’ve stumbled across. Some good contractors normally it’s usually referred to by other contractors that work with contractors on the job site and that usually works out really well but really, at the end of the day the real question is who is this guy? What is he about? It’s no different than the questions that me as a contractor asked my subs or my suppliers. Some of them before forged relationships with. So, we don’t need to worry but the new ones definitely we have to no different than the questions as you, as a client have for someone like me as a contractor, who are you, what are you about, when you take a chance on you and so on and so forth. So, while then there is a need to entertain this collaboration this communication you know please make sure that a lot of checks and balances are made and that whoever is coming on board, that the right processes are always followed. It will lead to a much much more fulfilling project.

Thoughts That Build – Covid Discount

Can I get a covid discount? I’m sure most of us are hearing this fairly often these days. No matter what industry we’re in but especially here in construction for the better part of a year. I would say actually now truth be told normally in a normal environment, when companies are slow. Sure, they might lower their price a little bit. They might do something like that to in order to get some work, but the rules surrounding this pandemic as far as construction Ontario concerned, have really added to the costs and I’m not just talking about from a health and safety perspective now, not talking about you know the toolbox talks, the additional toolbar talks and you know I’m also really talking about the material source shortages that are out there. How long it’s going to take to deliver materials, right? How many people can we really have in a space and still make it safe, that’s the second one, this has a direct impact in an overall construction schedule and us as contractors, we have to manage it. Over a longer period of time for less profit or so, the thought process goes, so what I’m trying to relay is that us as contractors we have to look at things from a macro perspective, right? So, even before we submit a price granted you know hard bid prices with timelines, we don’t really have that luxury but most independent projects you know they ask us when we can finish and we have to give them a timeline with a construction schedule.

We have to look at it from a macro perspective and see how all these pieces fit together. So, from us while we might be able to maintain, our same prices as Covid technically speaking that’s a discount so keep that in mind the next time you’re talking to a contractor supplier or anyone else in the industry. These things happen, we just have to adapt to it but the idea is to be clear in what’s going to happen down the line.