Category Archives: Construction Resources

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Construction trends to look for in 2016

Many plugged into the construction industry are seeing some good signs for the year ahead. Here are three things we have our eyes on in 2016:

1. General construction and building continuing to rise. Dodge Data & Analytics recently released their 2016 outlook. Dodge Data & Analytics is a leading provider of data, analytics, news and intelligence serving the North American construction industry. The report predicts that total U.S. construction starts for 2016 will rise 6% to $712 billion, following gains of 9% in 2014 and an estimated 13% in 2015. As the economy has rebounded and interest rates have stayed at or near all-time lows, many organizations are now investing in new projects or moving forward with projects that had been on hold for years.

2. Further integrating technology tools on the job site.  In a previous post we talked about how we use 3D modeling to help customers understand what the finished product will look like so that we can better talk through plans together. Construction experts agree this is a growing trend that more and more contractors will adopt. From the consolidation of multi-ap tools to one core project management to more mobile devices on job sites, tech is finding its new role in the construction industry.

year-growth-building-improvement-business-general-concept-white-background-500134493. More employment opportunities in construction. The available labor pool for skilled construction work has long been an issue around Tampa Bay. With spending on nonresidential buildings expected to rise another $40 billion in 2016, this chasm between skilled labor and employment will grow. The improving economy calls for new projects, which requires even more employees… Know someone who is interested in breaking into a new field? There are a number of free ways to be trained, certified and employed in the field of Tampa Bay area construction.

Bonding

When hiring a contractor, consider protection

Like any major purchase, when hiring a general contractor you probably take several things into consideration – references, portfolio and price – to name a few. But instead of a finished product that you can see/feel/touch, in a way, you’re purchasing a General Contractor’s experience and reputation. While most contractor’s will work to keep customers satisfied, you don’t really have any guarantee that the job will end up the way you wanted, that an unforeseen event won’t ruin your plans, or that your contractor will come through the way they’ve promised.

So what will you do if your contractor skips town without paying subcontractors leaving a lien on your property, if something impacts the timeline, cost or overall completion, or if there’s a dispute over the terms of your contract? Bonding is one form of protection you may have heard about but do not yet understand. Often at PJ Callaghan our reputation for excellent service precedes us and we do not use bonds. However, if you’re unfamiliar with your contractor or concerned for any reason, asking them to obtain a bond is a reasonable and fair way to ensure you do not incur any losses.

Daniel Oaks, our Surety Bond Specialist with Nielson, Wojtowicz, Neu & Associates, had a few things to say about the importance of Bonds, how they work and why you should consider them:

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“A Surety Bond is a good thing for owners, investors and lenders because it acts as a third party guarantee that your project will a) be done to the terms and specifications of the contract and b) that you will end up with a lien-free finished project. Without a bond you’re putting a lot of trust in the contractor. In fact all government projects over a certain threashold require the winning bidder to obtain a bond to protect the taxpayer.

“To the average person bonding can sound a lot like insurance – you pay a small percentage and if something goes wrong the company makes you whole. The biggest difference between insurance and bonding is that there are three parties involved in bonding. The Contractor will obtain the bond and pay the premium, but in the event of a loss YOU will receive the benefits of the bond, not the contractor.

“While insurance companies factor in losses in their business model, make loss payments and move on, surety companies, on the other hand, underwrite to a no-loss scenario and will be sure to go after the contractor in the event  the surety has to respond under its bond. Defaulting on a contract doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it can be catastrophic. If it gets to a point when the contractor defaults on their contract forcing a response from the surety, the contractor is likely in a dire situation financially and operationally. This is a worst-case scenario for contractors and they will do everything in their power to ensure the project is successful and to keep it from happening.

“Though many customers do not request bonds in common practice today, we recommend they consider it. Even if you have an established relationship with a builder, it is difficult for you as an outsider to be certain they can complete all the jobs to which they’ve committed. When you require them to obtain a bond we do the legwork and look at ALL of their records, including their past history, financial statements, current and projected contracts, tax records, credit reports, etc. to ensure they are in a financially sound position to complete your job, in addition to assessing their operational ability to physically manage your project.

“This was a quick recap of a complex process that has variations from state-to-state. If I could tell readers one thing it would be to explore and consider bonding on your next project. Without a bond you are putting a lot of trust in the contractor and this is the best way to ensure you investment leads to a lien free project completed according to the terms and specifications of your contract.

Daniel Oaks is Surety Specialist with Nielson, Wojtowicz, Neu & Associates.

With eight locations throughout the southeast, Nielson, Hoover & Company is a nationwide leader in Surety, Construction and Commercial Bonds and is the largest provider in the Southeast.

Daniel earned his undergraduate degree at Troy University in Insurance and Risk Management. After working throughout the nation as a surety underwriter, he, his wife and family settled back in Florida.

The Need-to-Know’s re: Notice to Owner

Whether you’re a developer taking on a multi-million dollar condominium project or a homeowner finally adding that extra bedroom on your house, you should be aware of the laws impacting your property interests. The importance of hiring an experienced contractor and having regular communication cannot be understated. At PJ Callaghan, we receive questions and calls about Notice to Owner (NTO) letters on a regular basis.

This month we took a few minutes to sit down with Ryan Griffin, a partner with Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel & Burns, LLP. Johnson Pope is a premier regional law firm in Tampa Bay. Ryan breaks down the legal jargon around Notice to Owner (“NTO”) and what to do if you find yourself with a NTO letter. Haven’t signed a contract yet? Stay tuned, next month we’ll highlight best practices to protect both parties when structuring contracts…

Ryan Griffin Johnson Pope“Under Florida law, those who perform work on your property or provide materials and are not paid-in-full, have the right to enforce their claim for payment against your property in the form of a construction lien. While you may talk to your general contractor (GC) daily, you may not know what subcontractors or material suppliers (collectively: “Subcontractors”) are being hired and paid by the GC to complete every aspect of your project.

“In an ideal world you pay your GC and they turn around and pay their Subcontractors promptly. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Even if you pay your GC in full, if the GC fails to pay its Subcontractors, under Florida law they can look to your property for payment via a construction lien. While the thought of a lien on your property can be daunting, there are some simple things to remember and precautions to take to ensure the construction project does not become a nightmare.”

Step One: Identify yourself and others working on your project

“Florida law provides a number of mechanisms to assist an owner in identifying the GCs, and Subcontractors that will be working on your project. One of these mechanism is filing a Notice of Commencement at the outset of your project. This also notifies the GC and Subcontractor of who you are and how they can contact you if there is an issue (i.e. non-payment by the GC). You should also be aware that you have the right to request in writing from the GC a list of all Subcontractors who have a contract with the GC. This is a great way to keep track of and verify whether all subcontractors have been paid when it’s time to pay your GC.”

Step Two: Obtain releases before paying your GC

“To best protect yourself, get the GC to have the Subcontractors issue you a Release of Lien before making any final payments for work performed. A Release of Lien is a written statement that removes your property from the threat of lien. If your contract with the GC calls for partial payments before the work is completed, get a Partial Release of Lien covering all Subcontractors’ work and materials used to that point. Upon completion of the project, and before you make the last payment to your GC, obtain an affidavit from your GC that specifies all unpaid parties who performed labor, services or provided services or materials to your property. Make sure that your GC provides you with final releases from these parties before you make the final payment.”

Step Three: Save all documentation

“In order for a Subcontractor to attempt to obtain a lien, it must go through many steps (i.e. send a proper Notice to Owner, perform work on your property, file a Claim of Lien, etc.). Each of these steps has a proper procedure and technical requirements. If the Subcontractor has not taken the appropriate steps, they may not have a valid Claim of Lien. The notices, receipts, releases, copies of payments, etc. that you have saved will be critical to your defense against a Claim of Lien.”

Step Four: Contact a lawyer/Contesting A Lien

“In the event that you need to contest a lien or defend a lien foreclosure, due to the complexity and time sensitivity involved, I would advise you to immediately contact a lawyer that specializes in this area of the law.”

About Ryan Griffin:

Ryan has a B.S.B.A. from the University of Florida and a J.D. and M.B.A. from Stetson. He is certified as a Florida Supreme Court Civil Court Mediator to practice in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Southern, Middle & Northern Districts of Florida. Ryan is a state and federal trial lawyer and certified court mediator. Ryan’s practice areas include: construction litigation, real estate law, commercial litigation and other business disputes.1006123_472265246188502_1579577636_n

Based in St. Petersburg, Ryan’s civic involvements include: Past President of the ARC of Tampa Bay (formerly UPARC), Board of Governors of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Lawyers for Literacy and Partners in Self-Sufficiency (which assists low-income families in achieving economic self-sufficiency).

About Johnson Pope:

Founded in 1973, Johnson Pope is a premier Tampa Bay regional law firm with offices in St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Tampa. The full-service firm employs 50+ attorneys and a total staff of over 200. Johnson Pope is AV-Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and is consistently recognized by the Best Lawyers in America, as well as Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, among other honors.

New 3D capability helps clients visualize projects

Engineers, architects and contractors regularly work with two-dimensional drawing to complete projects. This is a skill that takes years to perfect and hone. For the lay(wo)man, two-dimensional, black-and-white drawing can be challenging to read or interpret and yet this is the phase in which clients are asked to make many important decisions.

 
In some cases a client may see a project as it’s physically coming together and realize it’s not as they envisioned, then adjustments must be made. Adjustments often mean added cost, as well as increased time to complete projects.

3D color drawings can answer questions and show clients more realistically what a proposed project will look like. Understandable drawings empower construction managers to communicate more clearly with customers. And we all know thorough communication makes for better outcomes.

“Three dimensional color drawings give clients the opportunity to provide meaningful input into their projects because they’re working with visualizations that make sense to everybody.” Tobin Robeck, SVP, PJ Callaghan

3D images aren’t just about helping clients visualize projects – they help us too. For example, the software provides clash detection to quickly identify potential problems very early in the construction process. Maybe a proposed electrical wiring placement clashes with an air conditioning duct. Catching something like that in the drawing phase takes a couple minutes to fix, catching an issue like that once we’re in the field costs more time and resources.

 

This image shows where the proposal has a clash. This allows the drawings to be adjusted to avoid expensive complications down the line.
This image shows where a proposal had a clash. The technology helps make specific adjustments early to help avoid expensive changes later.
The Revit image scan be viewed on free software with any PC. We have used this technology to help such clients as Con-way Freight and our St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce where a buildout is currently underway (more on that project soon).

Protecting Metal Roofs During Rainy Season

 

headerDid you know your metal roof should be inspected every 10-15 years? Many folks assume because it’s metal, it’ll last a lifetime. And this is true, but what’s easy to forget is the smaller pieces can fail, such as cracked and dried gaskets, rusted screws, and old roof panel stoppers. And while these can seem like minor problems, when it rains, it pours. And if your roof isn’t fully sealed, rain can wreak havoc: damaging insulation, ruining warehouse equipment and causing mold.

THREE THINGS TO LOOK FOR THAT MAY SIGNAL ROOF ISSUES:

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1. If you have a drop ceiling, check for stains on the tiles.

2. For buildings that do not have a ceiling, be on the lookout for sagging insulation. The white vinyl backing to the insulation might resemble a water balloon protruding from the wall.

3. Other signs, such as rust on the roof panels, or fiberglass strands showing on skylights, can be tell tales of impending roof leaks.

And, if you don’t know how and where to walk on your metal roof, you could be doing even more damage, causing even more failure points for future leaks.

If you are qualified to hop up on the roof and look at the leak yourself, let’s talk about the three most common mistakes people make when trying to fix a leaky metal roof.

roofdamageTHREE COMMON MISTAKES MADE WHEN FIXING A ROOF:

1. While sealant may seem like a good idea, it’s a short-term fix. A very short-term fix. Plus, it has a tendency to dry out and make future repairs more difficult and costly.

2. Some think it would be a good idea to build a new roof over the old roof. While there are several problems with this, the main issue comes when you’re unable to find the old leaks because you’ve just gone and covered them up. Your insulation and other materials near the roof could still be damaged and in need of replacement…This band-aid technique is a definite no-go.

3. Some people attempt to cover their old insulation with fresh insulation, apparently thinking: sure the roof is leaking, but at least this new insulation will keep the rain from dripping into the warehouse…First of all, the second your insulation is damaged by water, you may need to consider replacement. Mold, mildew and other problems arise when insulation gets wet, so just covering it with new insulation is going to do nothing but mask an existing issue.

If you want to save time and energy, give us a call. We can come out and do a free roof inspection. If we find any issues, we’ll give you a quote and let you decide your next steps. We’ve been in the game for a while now, and we’re offering this service because we know what can happen when a roof isn’t properly cared for.

Give us a call or shoot us an email to set up your free metal roof inspection!

Now Hiring: Construction Superintendent

PJC continues to add positions to its growing team to meet new demands. Currently we’re in the market for an experienced construction superintendent, with interior build-out experience…

Position:  PROJECT SUPERINTENDENT

Responsibilities / Description:

  • Directly supervise multiple commercial construction projects.
  • Management includes: safety, construction schedule, subcontractors, estimating, change orders, and managing project budgets.
  • Ensure quality control and propose value-engineering opportunities.
  • Provide exemplary customer service to clients, with sharp communication skills both internally and externally.
  • Exceptional organization skills.
  • Notes: Outdoor work environment. Travel within the state of Florida.

Qualifications / Required Skills:

  • Experience with interior build-outs.
  • Minimum three years construction experience.
  • Construction knowledge and metal building construction experience.
  • Permitting, Microsoft Project, Estimating, Scheduling skills/knowledge.
  • Communication, Risk Management, Contracts, Organization, Analyzing Plans, Attention to Detail.
  • Minimum high school diploma or equivalent.

About P.J. Callaghan:

Founded in 1948, P.J. Callaghan Construction is a multi-generational, family-run general contracting firm focused solely on commercial construction. P.J. Callaghan’s success was built on developing lasting relationships with its customers and partners, some of whom the company has worked with for decades. While the company specializes in pre-engineered metal buildings, it also offers such services as general contracting, design-build, construction management, and facility maintenance. Information at: www.PJCallaghan.com.

Applicants:

Email resume, references, and any other applicable information to: info@PJCallaghan.com. PJC hiring manager will contact qualified candidates.

GC involvement early = budget savings

We see and hear of it too often – money wasted because the General Contractor was not involved at the initial stages of the construction process… Why is this important? What is the benefit of involving your general contractor early in the pre-design and planning phases? Senior VP Tom Burket says it can make-or-break project success.

“Preliminary stages in planning a new development are critical. These decisions can dictate whether a project moves forward… Fortunately, we’re seeing commercial developers and business owners recognizing this concept more and more.” A few tips from Burket:

  • Select a general contractor that has extensive experience in constructing Similar Types of Projects. The contractor uses that experience to provide valuable insight during planning phases that can help the customer decide whether their project is viable.
  • Consider a Design-Build Agreement. In this form of agreement, the contractor coordinates all aspects of the project; there is one source of communication, one source of responsibility; and the contractor has far better ability to provide value-engineering ideas.
  • Early involvement also provides a layer of assurance that the contractor Fully Understands Scope of the project. Later involvement can result in later changes, which are typically more expensive than early changes.

LEED Credentialed VP Tobin Robeck notes, “LEED Certification requires the GC involved in the planning stages because it makes for a more efficient building process with less waste.”

And in-house architect Jim Golden adds, “Value-engineering includes opportunities to review designs for a more seamless process, including accurate costing, and potential Cost Savings.”

By getting involved early in the construction process, P.J. Callaghan has provided value-engineering ideas that have saved our clients millions of dollars.

SVP Burket appointed to Pinellas Licensing Board

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Tom Burket, Senior Vice President with P.J. Callaghan, has been appointed to the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board (PCCLB).

The PCCLB regulates contractors in construction and home improvement within Pinellas County and provides certification and registration of contractors countywide.

Read more at TampaBayNewswire.

5 Points to Consider When Choosing a General Contractor

When beginning any construction project, finding the right general contractor for your needs is essential to the success of the project. Spending time upfront to find a quality general contractor that is the best fit for a project can save hours of time and headaches. While the quoted cost can and should be a significant factor when making the decision, it shouldn’t be the only factor. There are several other considerations and certain red flags to look out for.

Here are five key points to consider when choosing a general contractor:

Experience

Does the general contractor have the experience required to meet the scope of the project?

  • With any project, it’s important to align the skills of the general contractor with the work that needs to be completed.
  • Ask the general contractor about their unique capabilities and if they’ve performed similar types of work.
  • It’s certainly appropriate to ask for referrals.

Resources

Does the general contractor have adequate resources at their disposal?

  • A strong network of subcontractors – it’s important that your general contractor has a network of reliable subcontractors that they work with regularly.
  • Adequate staff to handle the project – especially for larger projects, you should ask yourself, does this general contractor have enough staff on both the project management and administrative sides to take on my project? If pulling permits is involved, are they familiar with the local municipality and permitting agency?
  • Self-performing work – find out what unique capabilities, such as an in-house drafting department or other self-performing work, your general contractor can offer that would give them greater control over the process, schedule and costs.

Communication

Does the general contractor effectively communicate with customers and subcontractors?

  • You can never underestimate the value of effective communication between subcontractors and customers. It’s what keeps projects running smoothly and on time.
  • It’s important to choose a general contractor that is skilled at helping clients get their ideas out of their heads and onto paper and then effectively communicate what needs to be done with subcontractors to best achieve goals.

Value-Engineering Ideas

Can the general contractor bring a construction-specific perspective to project planning?

  • When working with architects and engineers, a good general contractor is able to offer a different perspective from a construction standpoint.
  • This perspective allows the general contractor to make specific recommendations for how to construct something differently that is more effective for the project and/or will save a considerable amount of money.

Financially Responsible

Does the general contractor have a strong financial record?

  • Having a healthy balance sheet is a very important quality to look for in a general contractor.
  • If a general contractor is financially responsible in their own business practices, then it is a good sign that they will manage the costs of your project responsibly as well.
  • Often times an owner will ask for a bond of 5% of the project to see if the general contractor is approved.
  • Look for these red flags: a contractor that asks for money upfront or one willing to take a job for too cheap.
  • Keep in mind that a quoted cost does not always turn out to be the actual end cost – the most responsible contractors do their homework on the front-end in order to give accurate estimates.