Owners have a lot of responsibility when it comes to design and construction—it is their money on the line while they turn to teams of experts to design and build the project. They are the ones who feel the brunt of any problems, which unfortunately abound in the construction industry. Despite awareness of the issues, the industry has not changed much in recent years.
McKinsey research shows that construction projects typically take 20 percent longer to finish than the original schedule, can be up to 80 percent over budget, and frequently result in litigation.
Even with all the players involved in even the simplest construction project, owners have a lot of power to avoid these types of challenges. Keeping a project on track requires great leadership and the ability to stay on top of myriad issues that pop up along the way. Many building owners do not have the time, expertise, or interest to take on that level of responsibility. In that case, owners turn to a representative to act as their intermediary.
Owner’s representatives act on behalf of the owner, assuring that design, construction management, and construction forces on a project have input from the owner, comply with industry standards, and provide quality built projects that meet the owner’s goals.
What To Look For in an Owner’s Representative
An owner’s representative acts as the eyes, ears, and mouth for the project. They are the person or company that will provide critical oversight, alert owners to any potential challenges, and be the task master, ensuring all parties deliver the project to meet the owner’s goals.
The types of skills that enable a representative to be successful on your project:
Some owners have an individual with these skills in-house. Others outsource this job to a firm that can manage the project from concept to completion. At CCA we have significant experience acting as owner’s representatives on projects. We take the responsibility seriously.
An Adhered Masonry Veneer system (AMV) is defined as “masonry veneer of natural or manufactured stone, secured to and supported by the backing through adhesion” and are sometimes called “lick and stick” systems. The more typical masonry brick veneer system has a drainage cavity behind and the veneer is supported on itself and anchored with metal ties. Exterior AMV wall components can vary, but they are similar to a stucco system with a weather resistive barrier, scratch coat with embedded wire lath, and a finish coat of adhesive mortar.
The design and installations of AMV can be challenging since relevant building codes and industry standards are not well known or understood, and the system relies heavily on workmanship and selecting the right materials. This is particularly true when choosing a manufactured stone rather than costlier natural stone, and when used in freeze-thaw climates.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
Whose fault was it? This is a frequently asked question when an exterior wall leaks, rots, or falls down. During a construction failure investigation, contractors often highlight the defects of other trades that affected their work. Defects include those that were documented during construction but not corrected. This may be due to timing and scheduling constraints.
Often the findings from building failures are then used going forward as best practices for new construction. However, those learned best practices should not be the only guideline. Critical areas that need to be addressed include the points of intersection, as many times there are multiple layers of building materials which are put in place by various subcontractors. This step is known as a pre-covering inspection. A pre-covering inspection of each layer at each wall area would be ideal, so problems at each layer do not accumulate, influence other layers, or get concealed.
The following article looks at examples of pre-covering inspection criteria to illustrate the influence each layer may have. Continue reading….
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Alberta Occupational Health and Safety investigators are looking into the death of an Edmonton man with a nut allergy who died after visiting a work site where walnut shells were used to blast paint off walls.
Recently alternatives to sandblasting including the use of walnut shells, coconut shells and corn cobs have been widely used in the construction industry over the last decade.Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
Hurricane Irma bore down hard on single-family homes, severely damaging many. At the end of September residential insurance claims had been cited around a half-million. The story, however is quite different for commercial and industrial buildings where insurance claims had been cited around 25,000.
This is mainly due to the stricter building codes that were put in place following the wrath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. “Designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 175 mph, the Florida building code is the accepted benchmark for hurricane protection nationally.”
“Florida significantly strengthened its defenses after hits from past major hurricanes, and those improvements were instrumental in helping the state weather this potentially devastating storm,” Levy notes. “As a result, damage to Florida commercial real estate is relatively minor outside of the Keys.”Read More [fa icon="long-arrow-right"]
Many projects often bring to mind the famous line from Cool Hand Luke – “What we've got here is a failure to communicate.”
One of the definitions of communication from Merriam Webster Dictionary is “a technique for expressing ideas effectively.” On today’s projects, everyone on the project seems to be communicating, whether that be talking, emailing and/or sending correspondence, but the reality is that no effective communication is occurring. Many times, project participants are overwhelmed with the amount of correspondence and get extremely defensive of their positions, especially if they miss something. We may not have a failure to communicate but it appears many times that we have a failure to communicate EFFECTIVELY.
So how do we address this failure to communicate effectively??? I still remember one of my first classes on public speaking where the professor laid out a simple yet effective outline for a speech. He said in the Opening you tell them what you plan on speaking about; then in the Body you tell them what you are speaking about; and, finally, in the Conclusion you tell them what you told them! This has been shown to be an extremely effective means of communicating in speech to inform someone of a topic.
Quality on a project, many times, is one of the last considerations for an Owner whom usually focuses first on cost and then schedule.
At the end of the day, the Quality of a built project is extremely critical for a lot longer than the time it took to design and build it. In the Project Management Plan, there should be a Quality Management Plan portion. In that segment the Project Manager should outline who will be responsible for delivering quality on a project. This starts first with a good design. One of the first steps the Owner’s Representative can do is to develop a Differentiation Document that clearly outlines who will be responsible for what in a Project, similar to the following example of a site and pool area development.
As an Owner’s Representative one of the MOST CRITICAL tasks you must do is to ensure that the Owner’s Objectives are clear. Having testified in court on construction management issues, I have learned one of the most difficult things to overcome is an Owner who believes they bought “X” and received “Y” due to the documents not being clear.
When the Owner’s Objectives do not have adequate detail to allow the Contractor to build the project as the Owner desired, conflicts are sure to follow. Furthermore, some of the most difficult obstacles to overcome on a project are Owner directed changes that impact the schedule after a contract is let. Contractors tend to price Impact Charges on these changes which causes the price of the desired changes to increase to an amount that far exceeds the cost if it had been included in the original contract.