CONSTRUCTION Accounting ARTICLE -
How to Execute Fast-Track Construction Projects
Target Audience: Construction Industry Professionals, General Contractors, Construction Accountants
The good news is that you won the bid. The bad news? The owner wants to hit completion in three months — half the time you’d typically spend on the project type in question.
Welcome to the challenging world of fast-track projects. Compressed timelines and tight margins are no strangers to many construction markets. Here are some ways to not just survive a fast-track job, but execute it with flying colors.
Check the plans
The biggest impediment to success with a fast-track project is substantial, unanticipated design changes that require a work stoppage, repeated steps, major redesigns or engineering overhauls. Knowing the owner’s expectations and studying the engineering specifications up front can help you anticipate such challenges and avoid costly delays.
For example, a commercial project’s groundbreaking is only weeks away. Yet the load requirements for a critical piece of equipment remain uncertain. Lacking such details may pose only a minor hiccup to a typical construction timeline; in a fast-track job, they could spell disaster. Getting involved early and pushing the design team to settle such matters can save the day.
Assemble an “A” team
Fast-track projects are no place for rookies. Flexibility and communication skills are important qualities in experienced site managers and laborers who can either contribute to or inhibit the job’s financial success.
If you’re a general contractor, picking subcontractors with proven collaborative experience also is important. An electrical sub may have to work side by side with plumbers, cement pourers or ironworkers. Do you trust your preferred providers to do so effectively?
By the same token, if you’re a subcontractor, you’ve got to reassure general contractors that you can work quickly and seamlessly with other parties to the job. In fact, this may be a great way to differentiate your company from the competition.
Use the best tools
Any construction project, fast-track or otherwise, conjures up images of a job site humming with busy workers and heavy equipment. But the information tracking and number crunching that happens behind the scenes play an equally important role in ensuring the success of the job.
Using the right accounting and project management software can make or break a fast-track project’s accelerated timeline. Adjustments to design plans, labor costs and supply inventories occur continually, so make sure you’re not operating at a disadvantage by grappling with outdated technology.
Negotiate the right contract
In a fast-track project, having a well-negotiated contract that defines the scope, responsibilities, requirements and costs associated with each job phase is paramount to protecting your financial interests.
Of particular importance is signing off on an agreement that clearly and equitably spells out the change order process. Many fast-track projects require the assemblage of a small team of project leaders to review and approve design and construction modifications after the job starts. Doing so can lead to clear guidance on proposed changes and timelier execution.
Cement your reputation
Little to nothing about modern society is slowing down — including construction projects. Cementing a reputation as the go-to contractor for fast-track jobs could give you the competitive advantage you’ve been looking for. Just be sure to consult your financial and legal advisors on the risks and best practices involved.
Find out how our expertise in construction accounting can add value to your business. Email us or call us at 1 (888) 875-9770.
Construction Newsletters & Articles
Specialized Construction Services
Construction Contract Audits
Auditing & Accounting
Seminars & Events