Business Coaching for Contractors |Construction Labor Costs

Construction labor costs, we are all aware it is a big expense, but do you take the time to really understand where productivity is costing you money or jobs?

From a construction standpoint, far too often, we focus on the cost of materials, after all, it is an assembly of materials when we are done, a product, commodity, an asset. If we really look at construction, and many other industries, the cost of assembly is the real cost of construction.

Construction materials account for 20-35% of the building cost

Processes not people (for the most part, there are some bad apples) need management. For example, I once asked a laborer to run over to the other side of the project and grab a couple of 4X4s I had seen lying against the foundation. I neglected to mention the location of the 4X4 assuming he would spot them. To my surprise, he returned with the project sign, which had been installed on 4x4s. He had done exactly as I had asked, this was my fault, poor management, unclear direction. This is a simple example but can be multiplied 1,000 times over during a job and at what cost. Ask someone to dig a ditch and don’t provide them with a shovel, poor management.

If the flow is not streamlined and consistent the number of man-hours spent putting the puzzle together is endless and unnecessary. Subs will arrive in the field unclear as to their role and the site superintendent will not be able to manage the project effectively. Unclear information regarding changes can lead to work needlessly completed twice. Not enough framing materials delay the framer, then the mechanical trades, drywall, etc. All over a few 2×4’s; poor process management leads to downtime, schedule impacts and loss of morale, and ultimately the loss of money. If your office staff had to run to the store for paper every time they needed to run copies you would soon stock up or hire an office manager to make sure supplies were at hand; the same thing applies in the field.

Materials in relation to construction labor costs have gotten cheaper, during the depression the reverse was true, labor was cheap, but those days are past and the focus on process and productivity at every level is the fastest way to increase profitability or be more competitive.

This is relevant for the business owner but holds true for the client with a cost-plus agreement, time is money and the pretty Gantt chart on the trailer office wall (the one they can’t read) is how the money is to be spent.

A good Construction Consultant will understand and review it fully, looking for gaps and ways to reach the end in the most productive manner possible. The Consultant is not an expense, but your project COO for improved productivity, cost analysis, and advise on the best way forward.

If it is time for you to invest in working with a business coach or mentor, contact me today by filling out the “contact us” form or calling 203-826-8096.