Keeping Your Construction Estimating Team Organized

Just when you think all the parts are in place — tools ready for work, balls juggled with a precision that impresses curbside buskers — someone tosses a grenade into the office.

Normally this happens on a Thursday night. Mondays are for recovering from the weekend and catching up on job sites. Tuesdays are for processing paperwork hours. Wednesdays are about finalizing and sending out requirements …all of which brings us to Thursday, with a set of demands that have to be addressed by close of business on Friday. Which explains why happy hour is always full on Friday.

So in comes the requirement on late Wednesday for a construction bid that is due by 5 p.m. on Friday. And this is a doozy. Not your standard carpentry, cement, electrical, landscape, painting, plumbing or renovation. This bid requires multiple inputs from subcontractors and trade representatives. You need to organize a team, NOW!

This is where we can help. Using our online plans and specifications service, all the appropriate details are already in place before the first phone call goes through. Making life even less stressful, we can line up a set of appropriate estimators. But, you ask, how do I get them all to work together? Good question!

Estimators, like general contractors, are a notoriously independent lot. Oh, they will work together when compelled by contract or employment obligation, otherwise it is every man for himself. We have a recommendation for reducing everyone’s tension. The best construction job is characterized by teamwork. To reach that objective you need three things: communication, cooperation and camaraderie.

Communication requires more than emails or abrupt phone calls. Communication means you have a common understanding of the work to be accomplished (the mission), when you want it done — and at what cost (the vision) and clear deadlines.

In a society where people work from cars, homes and offices, we recommend at least weekly phone conferences. An even better solution is Skype; it’s always good to put a face with a voice.

Cooperation is a catch-word often dismissed as HR “hogwash” or “touchy-feely stuff” by members of the construction industry. Yet cooperation is exactly what a construction estimating team must do to finish on time and ensure competitiveness.

A little team building goes a long way in this industry. Take an hour to ensure all participants know how to find plans and specifications via our online service — and that they post new documents back to the appropriate file.

Camaraderie. Just because you are miles apart and typically working via email or Skype, there is no reason to avoid learning names, respecting expertise and shining a light on team accomplishments. Take the time to remind each member of the construction estimating team that the whole is a sum of the parts. “This would not be done without everyone on board.” This is a phrase that will win buy-in.

There you have it — communication, cooperation and camaraderie — a means of keeping your team organized using our services and your skills!