Attention to Deal and Project Management- What Your Reputation is Built On

Attention to Deal and Project Management- What Your Reputation is Built On

The tennis courts were only two years old. Cracks had appeared, grown larger, and eventually prevented the courts from being used. Built by a contractor with a good reputation in tennis court construction, this job had gotten away from him, and along with it, his reputation. With these courts standing prominently on the edge of a well-known university, he won’t build another another tennis court for years—if then.

All parties to the contract attended the pre-construction conference. The architect had used several good consultants, including a tennis court contractor with years of experience, to contribute to plans and specifications. The pre-construction conference went well, and all parties signed off on the strategy for the construction scheduling.

With few glitches, the project was drawing to a close, and a final checklist was under way. It was the end of 18 months when the final inspection showed a hairline crack along one edge of the first court. It was a post-tensioned court, and the engineers had inspected during the process and had found no problems. When the architect called, the engineers returned and inspected again, but were unable to find the cause. The contractor seemed puzzled and was not able to provide an explanation. The architect had taken several pictures during construction and presented them to the engineers. It was then that the discovery was made. A picture showed the cable chairs were seated incorrectly. Whether they were seated the same way all over the courts will never be known, but it cost this contractor future work, and future allies in the construction industry.

Workmanship is defined as craftsmanship, handicraft, handiwork, know-how, skill, technique, and is usually associated with woodworking. We don’t often think of tennis courts as a venue for workmanship, but a closer look at how the cable chairs were installed revealed a lack of skill and technique, at least on the part of some. Workmanship was missing. The contractor had left the job in the hands of a superintendent, and It turned out that the superintendent had not supervised tennis court construction prior to this project. Not that it matters, but the job had gone wrong because the contractor, who was familiar with this detail, had not schooled his superintendent. Perhaps he intended himself to supervise at that point, got too busy, and failed to do so.

Experience and concern always flows from the top down in contracting, because the men at the bottom of the totem pole are doing just that—toting. Like an orchestra conductor, the contractor must know, or at least be familiar, with the instruments critical to the success of his project. Having built other post-tensioned courts, this contractor knew how important cable placement is on a post-tensioned project.

With the final results firmly established in the contractor’s mind means working mentally—with attention to
detail—knowing where workmanship means success or failure. Interesting to note, the contractor visited the site, with his consultant, every day while the concrete was being poured over the cable; also interesting to note, he didn’t see the chairs.

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Posted on Sep 22, 2010 by admin | Posted in Construction Project Management, Uncategorized

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