How Your Thanksgiving Feast Can Inspire Your Next Project
On a small scale, the construction process can feel a lot like preparing for a big holiday meal. Oftentimes, plans have been set well in advance, many people are involved and it takes a great deal of resources and prep work to make things just right. However, just like how a family holiday meal can turn into a disaster with something as simple as a heated political discussion or a burnt dish, construction has the tendency to go awry with even the smallest changes.
No matter how you look at it, construction is extremely complicated due to the countless amounts of documents, stakeholders and materials involved. Without proper planning and site management, plans can unfold at a moment’s notice and it will take more than just breaking bread to put things back on track. So, what can you add to the construction recipe to keep your project moving forward in all stages? And no, it’s not butter.
To celebrate Thanksgiving, we’ve drawn comparisons between common holiday dishes and key phases of the construction process as well as highlighted what you can add to take your project to the next level. Although there’s no magic way to ensure your project is a complete success, keeping these “secret ingredients” in mind will certainly help.
Scroll down to read (and share) our holiday themed supergraphic. You can also read more about the secret ingredients in each construction phase below.
The feasibility study is like the stuffing of your whole project. Without it, can it even be a construction project at all? The goal of the feasibility study determines if your project is even viable, legally, technically and economically.
Secret Ingredient: With so many non-meat eaters, today’s Thanksgiving meals need to have options for both meat and veggie-only eaters (and who really likes Tofurkey anyways?). Like your stuffing, make sure your feasibility study is all inclusive. Cover your bases and create a winning team that includes a builder, architect and engineer, rather than depending on just one role. With more people from different expertises involved, the better chances you can accurately determine if your project can be a reality.
The Design Phase: Gravy
Gravy really goes with everything, doesn’t it? Like the great meal unifier itself, the design phase is the time when all your project components really start to blend together through blueprints.
Secret Ingredient: When you add too much gravy to your plate, things tend to get mixed up. Comparably, with so many moving parts in the design phase, it can get complicated, to say the least. We advise you to be careful about oversaturating both your meal and designs. Just like when you add gravy to your plate, don’t let it completely convolute your meal. Instead, keep it simple and consider using construction software to keep all the design documentation in one place.
The Bid: Cranberry Sauce
The bid phase is like the cranberry sauce of your project. The bid phase is incredibly important, but it also provides the chance to show off your creativity and value you bring to a project, or that little bit of decadence before dessert officially arrives.
Secret Ingredient: With the many man hours it takes to make a Thanksgiving meal right, why not start with a “store-bought” foundation for your cranberry sauce (shh…we won’t tell anyone). Similarly, have you considered creating a bid template that saves you time? Of course, you can, and should, liven up your sauce, and your bid, by adding your own unique perspective and value to the project. But at the end of the day, starting with a template as a base will help you to actually create more quality, and hopefully winning, bids.
Pre-construction Phase: Brussel Sprouts
The pre-construction phase can feel like a labor of love. Just like brussel sprouts, it might be your least favorite part of the project, but you need your greens to make it a well-balanced meal—and you need adequate planning to make your project a success. Although pre-construction can be tedious at times, it’s still a vital part of your project.
Secret Ingredient: Although considered a “healthier” dish in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, don’t forget the oil. Just as brussel sprouts are conducive to a little fat, nuts and cranberries, “oil” up your pre-construction process too. You don’t want your brussel sprouts to be a complete outlier to the ambiance of your hearty meal, so spend some time prepping and nurturing. In precon, you’ll want to make sure all your project components match up too, from designs, budgets and schedules. By spending the time and adding an extra layer of elbow grease to make sure things go well together and numbers add up, you’ll set your project up better from the start.
Construction Phase: Turkey
The construction phase is like the turkey of your Thanksgiving meal; it’s truly the meat and backbone of your project. Without things running smoothly in the construction phase, your project will inevitably underperform, or worse, fail.
Secret Ingredient: Ask a series of family members and friends the “best” way to cook a turkey, and you’ll receive a plethora of differing, and possibly confusing advice. Just like there’s not just one way to cook a turkey, there are many ways to construct a building. Nonetheless, be careful about over complicating both your project and meal by incorporating too many things at once. Instead, maintain clear schedules, project roles and specify how your project’s components will be executed, evaluated and assessed, starting in the Scope of Work, to keep your project from crashing and burning.
Project Closeout: Pumpkin Pie
But wait, there’s more! Stomachs might be so full at the end of a Thanksgiving dinner, that even dessert-aholics might be inclined to skip the dessert (say what?). The same goes for construction as the job looms near completion and project stakeholders might be quick to skimp on the ever so important closeout process. But a Thanksgiving meal without pumpkin pie is a sham, and a project without a closeout isn’t complete. So, why not take just one small piece?
Secret Ingredient: Thanksgiving meal is already an overindulgence, with food comas setting in around the table. For the pumpkin pie, hold back a little bit of gluttony and keep it light. Skip the whipped cream but don’t miss out on your piece of the pie. Although necessary, closeout can be simple. By following a streamlined process with predetermined checklists, you can ensure last minute changes and reworks aren’t overstuffed into the project.
Operations and Maintenance: Thanksgiving Leftovers
The meal is over, people have gone home, and all you can do is try not to think about your next big holiday meal. Nonetheless, leftovers remain, and your project still needs a bit of TLC past closeout.
Secret Ingredient: Although it’s easy to eat cold turkey straight from the fridge, it’s always better if you warm it up. Similarly, in the operation and maintenance stage of construction, ensure your project is kept “warm” to extend the lifecycle of the building. Be proactive and establish a comprehensive facility operation and maintenance manual in order to effectively and efficiently maintain the lifecycle of the building.