Would you benefit from the owner's insights regarding making building easier and better for yourself, your team, and your company? Begin with the end in mind and learn from a general contractor turned owner. Pete Novaresi shares his takt scheduling in co...
Would you benefit from the owner's insights regarding making building easier and better for yourself, your team, and your company? Begin with the end in mind and learn from a general contractor turned owner. Pete Novaresi shares his takt scheduling in construction experiences and Lean principles from an owner's perspective putting in billions of dollars of construction each year. He also discusses problem-solving and encourages projects teams to question what problem they are trying to solve.
This show will give you insights into what works in design and construction by sharing real stories from industry leaders like Pete doing things differently and better. Pete encourages all his teams to build better buildings faster and more efficiently while respecting people. Everyone can make building easier and better together!
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You know, I started looking at ways of streamlining my house, right I drove my wife nuts, but I was too second leaning my house finding things that that annoyed me and, you know, I, I relate out the way the kitchen appliances were on the counter in such a way that I can make my breakfast quicker in the morning, right? It was just, it's all about processes. And that led me to my passion, you know, tac time planning. I really feel like that's going to be the next wave of the industry that people really, really figure out and really put the effort into making it succeed successful, instead of just saying it just won't work. or giving up. I think that's where we're gonna really see some change in this industry.
Felipe Engineer 0:46
Welcome to the EBFC Show, the easier better for construction podcast. I'm your host Felipe Engineer-Manriquez. This show is all about the business of construction. Today's episode is sponsored by...
Boshrefinemysite is a cloud based construction collaboration platform that applies Lean principles to enable your entire team to plan, communicate, and execute in real time. It's the digital tool that works in tandem with your last planner system process and puts it all together in one simple collaborative ecosystem. This easy to use platform is available in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and French and can be used on desktops, tablet and mobile devices. According to Spencer Easton scheduling manager at Oakland construction, "Refinemysite in my opinion, is the best cleanest tool on the market for Last Planner." Here's what our users have to say. We've looked at three other digital scheduling platforms and none compared to the straightforward approach refined my site takes from milestone planning all the way down to daily tasks. This program gives every general contractor and their trade partners meaningful collaboration, accountability and KPIs. Register today to try refined my site for free for 60 days.
Felipe Engineer 2:12
Today's episode is sponsored by Construction Accelerator...
The design and construction industries come up with and build great things. But we also build in waste in how we do those things, in our interactions in our contracts in our logistics. So what does this do for our bottom line, or our next project, the best firms maximize their value by removing that waste, and only doing what's essential to the work what makes them money. Construction accelerator will train you to see the waste and give your teams the lean tools and experience to remove it immediately. All online. Construction accelerator is made up of three to nine minute videos that can be watched again and again, in the field, at the office and at home. All broken down by topic. need to learn pull planning, we have videos on the process, how to set up a room and how to kick off a team need to set up a target value delivery project, we discuss all the aspects of TVD especially cost. Or maybe you just need to brush up on five as well. We have videos on that as well. You can download and print reference materials to use on site to immediately translate watching into doing subscribe today at try ca now.com. Let's build an industry, not just a project.
Felipe Engineer 3:28
Today's show is also sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute. LCI is working to lead the building industry and transforming its practices and culture. Its vision is to create a healthy and thriving industry that delivers outstanding project outcomes every time for everyone. Check the show notes for more information. Now to the show. Welcome to the show. Pete Novaresi, Pete, it is my honor to have you finally come on the show. We have been Lean brothers from another mother for so long. You've worked as a general contractor in your past, you have adopted lean, you're making waves now, at a large healthcare company, you can name them if you want. It's totally cool. And you're making change happen in the industry. You're making my job way more exciting. So thank you for that. And we were talking before the show started about your favorite question to ask before we get into it. What is your favorite question that people should start with Pete?
Oh, you should ask what problem are you trying to solve?
Felipe Engineer 4:30
Yes. What problem are you trying to solve? Tell the people the world a little bit about yourself.
I've been in the construction industry for probably 30 years, over 30 years now. started my career as a lowly carpenter's apprentice, worked my way up to superintendent. At a very young age, we'd had a little industrial accident that cut off my thumb which forced me to go back to school or allowed me to go back schooling my degree and you know in the rest is history I really enjoy the construction industry it's been part of my life my my dad was an architect but he started out as a as a carpenter and so just, it's been in my blood I just love it. I love to at the end of the day seeing something standing for the fruits of my labor, right I can drive by places and point out to my family that I had a hand in creating that.
Felipe Engineer 5:32
What is your favorite? Do you remember some of your favorite projects that you got to put hands on?
The most interesting was when I was a carpenter I worked at the place USS Pasco in Pittsburgh, California was this steel mill where they made flat sheet steel and I got to work on a real big industrial it was really interesting you know large foundations you know large concrete structures really watched and build a tank you know the tank hydrochloric acid holding tank out of sheet steel right in they just flat steel that came and they welded eyelids to it with a come along and pulled it together. And that was that was really really interesting, you know, to work on a project like that. So I think that was my favorite is when I was in the trades. And then for me, probably one of my favorite projects was the first major hospital I worked on which was senator Davis Hospital in Davis, California you know as wheatfield to 96 bed hospital you know, and it was pretty exciting. I think it was more exciting because it was the first one and then at UC Davis Med Center actually building a cogeneration facility also I was pretty exciting. So I have a few that are near and dear to my heart.
Felipe Engineer 6:51
Yeah Pete tell the good people of the interwebs what is a cogeneration facility for those that might not know what it is
Okay, a cogeneration facility is where they generate their own power they use power plants you can use steam generators this one happened to use a jet turban gas jet turban that generated I forget how many megawatts of energy hot exhaust that would come off this generator I mean off the turban was run through a steam heat recovery steam generator and when generate steam to get basically four megawatts of energy for free off the byproduct of the exhaust is really cool, interesting project. You know, that's amazing.
Felipe Engineer 7:37
And that's right here in our own backyard at the University of California Davis Medical Center you son. Yes. Is that here in Sacramento? Yep. Oh, beautiful. Yeah, I've been through there many times.
It's a large campus you know, and the the payoff on it was I think they were projecting it'd be 10 years to pay off and it paid off in three years power almost for free for themselves.
Felipe Engineer 8:00
That's amazing. It's beautiful. And then pizza you worked. Luckily a series of fortunate unfortunate events put you back in school What did you study in school?
I was a construction management engineering student at Tech state so I got my BS in construction management with a minor in Business Administration.
Felipe Engineer 8:20
That explains your proclivity towards spreadsheets that I know that you're very passionate about even to this day.
Yes. I do like to be a numbers nerd a little bit.
Felipe Engineer 8:31
People that don't know there have been many phone calls that Pete and I have shared screens and looked at spreadsheets together for fun because this is the type of people we are it's enjoyable, it is enjoyable and I do fancy a good spreadsheet especially the forecast so Pete you you worked at a company that I've got mad respect for bolt Can you talk about some of your time when you were a bolt and working we're getting close to your your current state?
It ultimately was a really you know enlightening experience because it you know, they were in my mind kind of some of the forefront of taking these lean concepts and in test fitting and seeing what worked and what didn't work you know, I worked at another construction company is pretty forward thinking taking GMP jobs were really you know, the way to go right guaranteed maximum price and you're looking out for the owner you're trying to say but I think the lien took it to a different level. Right The collaboration you know, I have a tagline that I put on my email response it says none of us are as smart as all of us and I truly believe that that's a big part of lean is the collaboration right of getting everybody in the room to solve a problem and that was one of the things that you know was forefront at bolt is you know, looking at problems and trying to solve and getting people together big rooms. You know, sharing ideas sound funny, but we use two second lien law right that when that book came out when it first came out with Paul Akers, that to me Was my Bible I, you know, I started looking at ways of streamlining my house that I was to second lien in my house relate out the the way the kitchen appliances were on the counter in such a way that I could make my breakfast quicker in the morning, right? It was just that led me to my passion, you know, tack time planning, I really feel like that's going to be the next wave of the industry that when people really, really figure out what it can really do for them, and really put the effort into making it succeed successful, instead of just saying it just won't work or giving up. I think that's where we're going to really see some change in this industry.
Felipe Engineer 10:35
I think you're totally right, Jim, you're you're on to exactly where I wanted to go and see what was getting you excited about where the industry is going now. And for those that don't know what tack time is it's using a rhythm or a site cyclical approach to planning that is a step beyond location based planning. And it is different than critical path method scheduling, because it shows you workflow, trade flow and logistical flow, all in the simple, typically single page plan often on Excel, but it works so well Pete, doesn't it?
Felipe Engineer 11:08
Can you talk about a project that you use tack time with or been involved in?
Sutter Hospital in Midtown Sacramento, said Sutter women's children's we had a superintendent on there that kind of became might say, you know, that he attack time zone. And he really, he we had next year skin that he created attack time for. And it really worked out. I mean, it was tough it. I think the hardest part about TAC time is people realizing that if you're if you're committing to getting something done in a day, so that your tack time is used to set it at a five day tack, before you move out of that area into your next areas you create is that if they're not getting done with what they need to get done, the square footage, they have drywall home that day, they need to stay longer and get it done. Because you might be paying a little overtime to have the craft stay there longer. But you're still shortening the overall duration and schedule, which in my career, I always had a hard time with extended general conditions for you know, putting extended general condition claims to owners because they really don't get any benefit from it. Right. Right. They're paying us money to sit around on our thumb. So I always approach delays with how do i do change? Or I mean, how do I work specific overtime to get us back on schedule so that they're spending money that is actually worth something to them, right? Meaning they still get to hold the end date instead of paying us to sit on our thumbs and still not be able to generate revenue. Right. And so that's kind of how I really look at tack time is tap time, hold you, you know, done right hold you to commitments and old duration and holds a schedule.
Felipe Engineer 12:53
I think that's an exciting thing, though. Let's pause on that for a second Pete because Ladies and gentlemen, Pete novarese is a recovering general contractor. He doesn't work as a general contractor anymore. But even as a general contractor, his philosophy was that we should only do things that are valuable for the client. And I think that's a that's a departure from a lot of people in our industry, Pete that we know make a good living by by putting work in place, but it doesn't always serve the client. And I think that's where do you think that you can pinpoint if you could an idea of serving the client? Where'd that come from? Where'd you learn that?
I think it just, I looked at it from my perspective is when I had you know, people do things for me or paid people to do things I wanted them to look out for me, right? I wanted them. It comes from my upbringing. And my parents were the same way they they they worked hard and they made sure that whatever they did, they did to the best of their ability and always tried to look out for their customer. Right My dad was an architect and he was constantly you know, making sure that what he was designing his Carpenter background really helped him to make sure that he was designing the set of plans that can be built I just think it was upbringing and just how I was raised.
Felipe Engineer 14:04
I think that's a beautiful idea Pete and I it's worth saying a second time like let's do things in construction that let's look out for each other. And let's include the client in who we're looking out for and let's do things that are valuable nobody wants to have their time wasted so let's be more intentional I love that beat that's awesome kudos to your your family upbringing and your your situation I like I love that I love that so much beat if I have sound effects I'd hit a cash register or something right now but but a sound effect free right now that took away my soundboard temporarily. Better bad fleabay but so i think that's that's good. And then that tact project. You said it was Sutter Health women and children's is that the what the name of Yeah, actually read about that. In any study that was published on the international group for link construction. And for memory. I think they said that they Try the tax plan something like 11 different attempts on the exterior until it finally clicked in. And then it worked.
Yeah, in the interiors was a little more difficult. Because the status of the building and you know, the plans and how they came out and the plans were, they furnish by project they weren't up to the quality that you need. And so that tack time really relies on on having clear space in front of you, you know, clear unencumbered space with no constraints. And there was just too many constraints on this project. This project, we was taken over from both the architect and the contractor were replaced on this. So there was a new architecture a new contract or as being the new contract or come in. And it may be very difficult because we inherited a set of plans that weren't what you'd really want for attack time. But you know, I'd have to give the superintendent kudos is he he gave it a hell of a try right?
Felipe Engineer 16:05
What was his name?
Felipe Engineer 16:08
Dan Murphy, shout out to Dan Murphy. just taken taken that tack planned by the horns. And I think I remember from the paper, I read this paper, it was actually recommended to me by tyese, who teaches at the, I think she teaches a construction engineering down in San Diego. And she sent me the paper, she's like, you should read this paper and understand what they're doing with tact. And I got the paper and I think from memory, Pete and you can tell me the schedule on the exterior before tax showed something like a one plus year duration. And then once even with all the attempts, I think the extra your schedule wrapped up in less than three months.
Yeah, once we got the takt down, I don't know the exact duration. But it went a lot quicker, because we started analyzing things and in prefab thing, you know, and again, I think that it would have been a huge success, if we were able to design it in I mean, I was just having a conversation today, with one of my co workers, you know, we we tend to not think about safety and in quality. Right? Those are afterthoughts or they get brought up during the construction kickoff. But safety and quality really shouldn't be part of the design. I mean, I know when I was a bolt we looked at when we're designing the cathedral Hill Hospital in San Francisco, which I think now is called Venice and Geary or whatever see, cpmc is let's try to model in areas where we can have tie off points for our trades as they're erecting. They're installing their work. So they're not having to worry about whether they're tying off or connecting their land here to a, a all thread rod that maybe it isn't designed for it right that we have these things didn't necessarily work out like we want it but it's again, it's thinking about those things in design. So that when you get into construction is just execution. Right? That's that's where, you know, the lean theme of go slow to go fast is thinking about those things up front, right?
Felipe Engineer 18:20
I think a lot of people might not know that phrase be can you expand on that go slow o go fast, a little bit. But it's, I think you're the first one to bring it up on my show.
Go slow to go fast just means that really think in plan before you act, it's part of it goes hand in hand with what problem you trying to solve, right? I've seen people jump into solving problems that that aren't really the problem that they were trying to solve and they solve it, but they're still not able to move forward because they didn't ask that one simple question. What problem are you trying to solve? They just react. And it you know, it? I learned that from an old old time Italian superintendent, and he was Bob grace, he that that always said you got to stop and think before you act, no matter what, you know, there's, there's certain times when you you know, in a, in a crazy situation, you know, accident happens claps or you got to react, but you still should think, you know, it's no different than if you're in a crazy situation, you have a building collapse, you just don't go running into that building. You got to think survey the damage, you know, assess before you go in, right, because you just cause more damage, you could cause more damage or lose more people. So it really is slow to go fast. Think about what you're doing. And make sure you're solving the right problem and, and for people who might listen this podcast, I challenge you to vet your next meeting, get out little post it notes. Then write have people write what problem they think they're trying to solve in that meeting. And I guarantee you if you have 10 people in that meeting, you probably going to get at least seven different renditions of an answer what problem they're trying to solve. And it helps you to solidify and say, Okay, now we need to get together and all agree, what problem we're trying to solve. So we're all rowing in the same direction.
Felipe Engineer 20:14
I think Bob was a man ahead of his time, because that is even what we know now and cutting edge science on fast and slow thinking. And just pausing yourself, because your brain tries to shortcut conserve calories. And we have to, like really force it to do what it's programmed to do get super creative, problem solving. For some people. It's like a sport. And it's exciting. It's fun to have problems to solve.
Yeah, you get the the people that are firefighters. I mean, I think that's maybe when one of the things that has led me This is that at Mobile day, I tended to be a firefighter. But I also got put in a lot of situations that forced me to be a firefighter wasn't like a want and was looking for it. But it, it made me realize you got to stop and think before you act, and you got to think about what you're doing. But it doesn't mean that you just have time to just sit back and relax and just let it come to you. You still have to drive the situation. But you have to do it smartly.
Felipe Engineer 21:19
I just want to acknowledge that. I think it's your Bulldog story in the background. is should I know it's totally cool, man. So this is a dog friendly show. I've said many times before. It is it's a bulldog, right?
Yes. Here, I'll give everybody a little to...
Felipe Engineer 21:40
No, just let them do their thing, man. This is good, good, relaxing time, they can just relax to the sound of Fleet bass voice.
You probably did put him in a deeper sleep than they usually are.
Felipe Engineer 21:54
There we go. So they'll wake up refreshed and ready for you to take them out and hassle adventures in the backyard.
But I can't say work for healthcare organization. Owners website.
Felipe Engineer 22:04
You can't say that. Yeah. Oh, good. Because you decided, yeah. So can you talk now about your transition out of being a general contractor, and now you're working? On the owner side? Can you talk about what that transition has been like? And what some, and I also want to hear as you're talking about that, and I'll remind you, if you forget, give some advice to general contractors that misunderstand what's important to owners, and what's not being a recovering general contractor.
Right. And being on owner site. Now I really see a lot of I see people again, that they don't, they only think about what they've done in the past, right? They don't try to to look at better ways of doing things, right. And I've had lots of conversation with general contractors. Now, from this side of the fence of saying, like, the same thing that I used to do is, hey, instead of coming at us with this delay claim of extended general conditions, what can we do to speed this up? And, and for the least amount of money, I said, you know, let's look at the, you know, maybe the the tiles, you know, on your bathrooms that are on the critical path, maybe have them do overtime, because your crew is only a crew of three, as opposed to instead of accelerating your drywall guys, that's a crew of 23. Right? Let's, let's really think about it, who's who makes the smartest person to to accelerate, right and then then talk about the the productivity, we had a section project where they had a bunch of pavers on the exterior of the building, and they kept slipping the schedule and kept slipping the schedule. It's like Can't you guys figure out what they need to do and I so I suggested to them, break down, ask them how many square feet a person you get a day and break that down and spray paint a line in their sand bed, to say you need to get to this, this line by the end of the day. In each day, mark that line so that we you know that they're going to meet their their schedule, the schedule that they produced or proposed.
Felipe Engineer 24:23
Hey, real quick...
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it is a little frustrating on this side, too, to not see that, that necessarily looking out for the best interests of the owner.
Felipe Engineer 25:26
Now, I think you know, different contractors have different capabilities. And you've got Pete, you have an amazing experience. Like every time I talk to you, I learned something new. And not every contractor has the ability to be learning, some of them are just getting by, with keeping up with the work. And there is a lot of work in the industry, right? Right now. It's 2021. And there are over 1 million unanswered jobs in construction here in the United States because of a lack of ready skilled labor to fill those jobs. So it's a it's a, it's a really weird market that we're in right now. As far as labor. And so there's, there's more work. I mean, you know it on your side, there's more work that people that can do it, the learning part is not every company like where you work before. I think there is an emphasis on learning at work and experimenting with things like like your superintendent, Dan, with tact, most general contractors would have a hard time doing that. Now that's starting to shift now. But it's still not prevalent across the industry. I think, like for everybody listening out there, if Pete shows up on your job, and he asks you some questions, you better write them down, because they're gonna be really good. And they're going to actually help you finish faster. Because Pete's mind just works that way. If you don't know. So if you're out there, general contractors and trade partners don't get annoyed with the questions. He's helping you to see the work. And you talked about spray painting the sand, that's using visual controls to help people see what the goals and targets are. I mean, it's just Yes, it seems like common sense to those of us that study this, you know, day in and day out, but a lot of people they don't have that experience yet. What's a good resource? Um, you mentioned to second lien earlier, what do you what do you think is a good resource for general contractors or trade partners to learn more about some of these concepts be?
Oh, god, there's a whole host of books out there. But you know, LCI puts on a lot of events that, you know, people come in and share I mean, that, I think LCI is one of the better spots to be because people are willing to share what they've learned, right? And, you know, just creating communities of practice where I work now, you know, we, you know, for the Baker's you help, helped us to kick them off and create them, you know, but we have communities of practice that we share, and we expect all our general contractors to share it first, it was very funny to watch because they were all kind of reluctant to share some of their stuff. But then as you get one, to share a little bit than the other, then it becomes a competition and now they're, they're sharing a lot, right? We, we have a we're trying to do it monthly, but now it's, you know, it's a lot of work. But each quarter we're sharing we're having a general contractor present, something that they're doing, I think, next up will be Whiting Turner, sharing on less lessons learned and not from what people think of lessons learned, per se, of, you know, here's what we learned on this project, but how to, how to run lessons learned and how to implement the learning. So it's not the the lessons learned, it's actually how to do the lessons learn and how to implement it. So it's, it's, you know, a different take on it. I think it's great that they're willing to share what they're doing, you know, we got contractors that are constantly willing to share with us to embed them into the hole,
Felipe Engineer 29:09
right? It's like they say, Pete, I think you might have sent it to me one time, like, the rising tide lifts all the ships in the harbor.
Exactly. Right. And and, you know, people the biggest thing I want to share with people is break things down into manageable chunks. Right and, and there's a lot of information out there you know, I'm working with we haven't our corporate scheduler that reviews all the general contractor schedules all the time, you know, sharing with them that hey, you have Timberline estimating, everybody builds their crews, right. That's how they that's how they use their unit rates when they bid and Timberline will spit out the man hours needed to complete a task. Well, you can take those man hours, and if you're savvy you can break those man hours into I'm gonna have five guys so five guys can This, you can break your schedule down instead of the old way of a superintendent saying I think it's gonna It feels like that many days. And that's what I'm going to put in schedule, right? Right. But you can really break these schedules down, that's what I was trying to explain about the pavers, is all I was doing is breaking it down to square foot, a paving that a person, he pavers, a person who put the day and then how many guys I have, or how many crafts you have that day, you should be able then to get X amount of square feet. So that way, you can paint the line in the sand and know that that's where they're going to get. And then to get certainty in the schedule is they don't go home till they get to that line, right. And that way you guarantee certainty and schedule. But it's all methodically done and thought through not just pay, it feels like they should be able to get to here pain lines, and you have to break it down into very small chunks and very doable management. does you no good to paint a line in the sand and say you need to get to here today, when there's no way in hell with that size of crew that they have, they can get there in even 12 hours right and work overtime it you have to think about what you're doing, right?
Felipe Engineer 31:13
And it forces the leader of that site to plan logistics a little bit better, and make it easier for the crews to get that work done.
Yeah, slipping schedules is it just seems to be the norm, right? Is it? Instead of analyzing it and figuring out what went wrong, people just say there's two ways to run a schedule, you can let the schedule come to you. Meaning if something happens, you just say, well, it happened, I'm just going to push the end date out, or you can drive the schedule, right? You can say, Okay, this came up. But what can we do? You know, what problem can we solve to make sure it doesn't happen again, and make sure we stay on schedule or catch back up to schedule? I think there's too much allowance in our industry to just say, Oh, well, we're just gonna have to move the schedule, right? Instead of coming together as a collaborative group saying, What can we do? What problem can we solve, to stay on schedule to bring our schedule back, right?
Felipe Engineer 32:11
There are people implementing tact, I can't name their name as much as I want to. But there's a there's an organization in the world that has done tacked on over 100 projects, and they drive the schedule, and they drive the schedule in a way that doesn't overburden their people. And on those projects, they have finished ahead of schedule every single time, because they're solving the problem of where do we need to put things how many people do we need, how much space to be going after on a daily basis, how many how much area she'll be accomplishing in five days. And just thinking cyclically is a totally different approach. They are definitely driving the schedule, and they've got over 100 success stories to prove it. And so I think, Pete that we're gonna start to see a shift, you said it earlier today, you're most excited to see tact coming in full swing across the United States. And it's definitely happening. I want to give a positive shout out to my friend Jason Schroeder, and Spencer Easton that are working to make tact, more available for everybody. And I'll put a link to their YouTube channel lean tact for people to get more information about what what RP nine talking about. You can see it in living color, in video form, with examples, but Pete, you also mentioned that, you know, some people just passively let schedules drive them. And there is indeed there was research done by LCI dodge data and analytics in partnership with the University of Minnesota. And they've done this before and the construction industry Institute has done some research before and they find that about three out of four projects in large commercial construction. So these are projects greater than $20 million in size, deliver late and I've seen research on the CI from the on the mega side projects that are billion dollars and larger 90% of those projects fail to deliver on time. What type of how does that feel to you intuitively with what you've seen in your journal contracting days and on your owner side now.
That that is right in line with what I would imagine that there's work more projects delivered late than they do early that's definitely for sure. It's, you know, I see it and part of it is our age, especially more recently to in part of our industry fleabay got got cratered when, you know, in 2008 when the bottom dropped out everything. We lost a lot of I'd call it mid level management knowledge, right? Because you had these guys that had all the knowledge so the companies had to keep them because they're the ones that had the knowledge and they need They kept all the young apprentice tight because they were the cheapest, right? So that mid level, the people that were just gaining some knowledge or had some knowledge, but we're working getting got removed from the market, per se. And we're still feeling the effects of that. Because then what happened is really knowledgeable people started to tap out, right, they retired and everything else. And so you have this loss of information. And I think there's, you know, I see, I talked about a job, it's a, it's a kinder, gentler thing, too, is people don't know how to, to, to, to get their point across. And, and make sure that people understand it's a business, right. That's what I keep trying to explain to our, my project man, when I when I was on the general contractor say it's business, it's not personal, right. And that's how we have to look at it, right? You're holding people accountable, and you're allowing them to make their commitments. But once they make their commitment, you need me to hold them accountable. Right, you don't have to be a jerk about it. But it is business. And if they can't do it, you got to get somebody you can write.
Felipe Engineer 36:13
That just builds good trust when people hold their work and keep their commitments, trust increases, and the ability to do more good work increases with a great side effect. But when people are dishonest, or they're not safe to tell you that things aren't working out, then it doesn't give anybody any leeway to try to problem solve or do anything different. And by the time you find out, it's too late to react. And I think, Pete, I think you and I are drawing a line in the sand. I feel like we're standing behind a line. And we're saying that we're not going to let bad schedules pass anymore. Are we on the same side?
Yes, yes. Yes, we're looking at ways of working was easy, or our scheduler and looking at ways of saying, how do we make sure that these schedules, you know, are right, and we're reviewing, we're setting up meetings, monthly meetings, right now, if projects are going, Okay, we meet monthly to make sure they're on track. But we've instituted a couple times now, projects that are, are behind schedule, we instituted out of like three projects. Now, a daily huddle that included the architect, the contractor, and anybody else that is, you know, owners Rep. And anybody else that was needed to discuss, to get through each problem that were each constraint that was holding up the project, right, we weren't going to take any more we weren't gonna allow it just to, to do because what we find is that people are busy, right, and if you don't stay on, get their commitment and check in with them each day, you're going to be put to the bottom of list, they're gonna they're gonna always do with, you know, they've got plan and if you're not on their plan, you're not getting what you need. In order to keep schedules going, you have to have a daily commitment. And so, you know, yeah, I'm not taking anymore. It's, we're meeting our schedules.
Felipe Engineer 38:16
You heard it here, ladies, gentlemen, Pete has not taken anymore. And either my there are ways so that you can recover and get done faster, that don't cost anything. And Pete, I'm so glad that you said daily huddle, the daily huddle on the daily standup there are two different systems that I'm in love with. And you know which one the first one is Scrum. Obviously, a lot of you know how much I love Scrum. In Scrum there is this meeting called the daily Scrum. And it's a 15 minute meeting where the people on the team talk about what did they do yesterday to work towards the goal, their commitments? What are they working on today? What roadblocks are blocking them for their future work? And that's it. It's past, present and future and then last planar system? Are people on the street called pool planning. There's this daily huddle meeting, where people talk about what commitments are they working on now? What did they get done? What work is upcoming, and that they're still committed to doing the work? Well, it sounds so most dramatically similar, doesn't it?
Yes, it does. It does.
Felipe Engineer 39:23
But that idea of having that meeting with the right people, and you're, I think you're spot on with pulling in the designer, the project manager on the owner side, and then anybody else, you're increasing the communication flow so that people know, like, what is the hot thing right now. And on a job that's late when when the job is behind schedule, and I've been on a job, one or two people believe it or not. There wasn't like, you know, finishing early. When everything is going badly. It's hard to tell when you're in it, to know what's the right thing you should be working on.
What problem are you trying to solve? Right, exactly, because there's a book I Read called the the way of the seal. It's about navy seals. And they talk about when they have, when they're engaged in a firefight. It says it looks like we're, we're engaging multiple targets at once. He says, but we're taught that you eliminate the biggest threat, and you don't move off that threat until it is completely eliminated, then you try to do it as quickly as you can. But you got to eliminate the biggest threat. And I read that book, because the center project that I was on, because design was so bad, we had multiple areas that we had to try to figure out. But I work with a team superintendent, Dan Murphy, and we'd meet daily at the end of the day, and walk the job together. So that Dan could point me and say, Here's where this where the next problem is, this is where the team needs to focus. This is what I need you to clear out in my way, because this is where I'm going to be at the next day. Right? And, and I, the communication is, is key to making this all work Philippe and I, I was a big advocate to have a super intent on, you know, projects that are medium size, it works really well. But the superintendent should be working with the project manager walking with the project manager and the project engineer, if not on a daily basis, at least a couple of times a week, walking the project and looking because we all get caught up and have a lot of stuff on our minds. And there's things that we need to do that we forget about right? We'll be out there and like, Oh, yeah, I got to release the contract for this, or I got to do that or get to the elevator contract out because we forget, or the superintendent goes out there and he stopped, he's got a thing, but he forgets to tell the project engineer, I need you to write an RFI on this. But by walking the project, you can see and as a project manager, you can ask, why isn't that window installed in the building? It's like, Oh, yeah, remember, I got that, right, I got this, it reminds it opens up that communication amongst each other. I did, you know, in my career, because I was a carpenter think I enjoyed walking the job to see the progress. But it really helped me to make that communication solid with the superintendent, so that we were both on the same page, and rowing in the same direction. So daily huddles, those things are key daily walks, are they are key, you know, to being successful. Communication, right.
Felipe Engineer 42:31
I knew a team, there was a team that was struggling with the schedule and the superintendent, the project manager got replaced. And I got to see like the before and after. And one of the things that I saw on the after on the on the cleanup crew was daily walking the site, every single day, the superintendent, the project manager walked the site, and the project got better, it actually sped up like just like you said, because we do get busy. And we get pulled in all kinds of different directions. But when you can go experience some stuff together. It makes it more like sensory and real and pressing. And it's easier to prioritize, when you can see the needs in real time.
And you can see their vision of where they need to go what they want to do, and you can have discussions about the vision is like, Look, there's no way in hell, I'm going to be able to get, you know, the this iPhone change order there, is there a way we can you can work on this over here in this section, because you're gonna have to figure out a way and you can have those conversations, right. But if you're not walking, and spending time with them, you'll never know, if you're if I'm down on one end of the trailer, trying to solve problems, you know, trying to get this changer approved through OSH pod. And he's thinking it's going to be approved and he doesn't know where I'm at with it. And he's planning you know, superintends planning going that way. It's just going to fall apart. You have to be committed to one.
Felipe Engineer 43:56
Pete, I think that's awesome. And for people that don't build hospitals in California, can you tell people what OSH pod is just like general terms.
I find is the governing entity that oversees all healthcare, acute healthcare construction. And so they're their own entity that does so on a normal project you have the city inspector comes out does that Bosch pod has their own inspectors, and they're, they're very prescriptive of what they want how they want to build and, and there's two ways to build aashirvaad projects to make it look like the picture or you make the picture look like it and it's a lot more expensive to make the picture look like it meaning they they have to review on a normal project. You write an RFI, the architect answers it, you go in to you put it in place, a large pipe project, you write an RFI, the designer answers it then you submitted to OSH pod for them to concur the answers. Okay, and they have 30 days, they can take two To review this to concur that it's okay, and so you can see how if they took the full 30 days how that can really impact the schedule. And so it's, it's a challenge. So you have to be really, really on top of things. And make sure you have a clean set of drawings that are very descriptive that can be inspected, and have all the information that you need.
Felipe Engineer 45:21
I think that's a perfect explanation. And OSH pod inspectors typically directly work for the client, right? So that way the there's no, what do they call that? conflict of interest?
Yeah, there's no conflict of interest, but they don't work for the general contract, but they work for the owner, which still seems to be a conflict of interest, but they are beholding to OSH pod OSH pod directs in and controls their life, meaning they have their OSH pod certificate that says I can be an inspector, but OSH pod has to approve them for your project. So yeah, it's there, they follow the toe the line with OSH pod. And it's not a bad thing. I mean, it's for all of our safety. But it is, you know, an added step that makes you be a better planner.
Felipe Engineer 46:09
You have to be a better planner, if you're going to be successful doing an entrepreneur work in the state of California. It's another government entity.
Yes, it is. That's beautiful.
Felipe Engineer 46:19
Pete, I want you to give a little more, if you could, on things that contrast, you know, from a general contractor's perspective, to an owners perspective, I think a lot of people out there make a lot of assumptions about what it's like to be on the owner side, what's something that wasn't obvious, when you were a GC that is more obvious now and that GC should know?
On the owner side, we are project managers have to juggle a lot more, right? You know, they have a lot of things that they're beholden to, you know, the, the big thing that was an eye opener, to me is the amount of time they have to spend on fixtures, furniture and equipment, right? I mean, they're responsible to make sure all that stuff, I mean, we have lots of subject matter experts and people writing the peels, but they still have to coordinate all that furnishings that come in at the end end of the project. Right. And, and they really have to, you know, that, at least with the firm that I work for, we have, each service area is almost like a franchise, you know, right? They have their budgets, and they have to come up with what they need done for their facility at that spot. And so the project managers have spent a lot of time figuring out what projects go forward in, and how to get them done and, you know, a quick amount of time. So there's a lot of things that that it seems like owners are distracted or can't give you the time of day, or it's hard for them to make decisions? Well, it is because they have a lot of people they have to answer to. And a lot of things they have to they're responsible for. So they are spread very thin. So I think that's the difference. We look for our general contractors to be advocates, right to look out for us and help us. And I would say that the big thing that I would tell general contractors is that pre construction is not an estimating service. Meaning when we look for pre construction services, we're not looking for you just to estimate what's on the plans. We're looking for you in pre construction to say, hey, by the way, your plans are missing a few things you should think about, you know, did you really mean to leave off the nurse call system? Right? It's like, Oh, no, no, we did. But thank you for pointing that out. But I think a lot of general contractors look at pre construction as just an opportunity to provide estimates. And that's really not what an owner is looking for. an owner is looking for you to make suggestions to look out for our best interest to say that hey, by the way, you realize that you're designing this building and you don't have any shutoff valves on this 100 or $400,000 or 4000 square foot building. You have to shut off valves for the entire med gas system. So that means that every time you want to modify this in the future, you don't have shutoff valves on the systems. Did you mean to leave those out? Is this a cost savings thing but bring them up? Right just because it's not shown on the plans doesn't mean we don't want it just means that we got busy and maybe didn't be overlooked. So pre con is really truly pre con we're looking for you to do destructibility review of not just what's on the plan. But what should be on the plan.
Felipe Engineer 49:54
Pete is dropping the nuggets. That's a definite nugget and then Pete how many stakeholders Would you say a typical owners project managers having to navigate on like a small medical office building versus a large tower? Is there a significant number increase in the stakeholders and like throw some numbers of people that they're trying to manage? Yeah, the owners pm just to get a nice sense, because I think a lot of people, we see the the single owners rep, and they represent everything for that client to us. And we don't, we don't know that behind them. There's a whole bunch of people that they're bolted to, like you said, like, how many people on like a medical office building does a pm have to navigate?
Yeah, for the underside, even though we, you know, medical office buildings using on occupy, we still have I RS are responsible for that. So they got to interface with IO Rs, they have to interface with the service area, admin, so that two or three people there, the facilities, no matter if it's a new facility or not, there's a facilities manager that is going to dictate that, then we have all our subject matter experts that, you know, dictate the design. So we have our, you know, they're, they're interacting with our internal design folks, you know, our, I shouldn't say our internal DSS design services, managers of, say, it's a remodel of a space, the manager that manages that they're dealing with them, you know, then they, they have to deal with me who's an outside, you know, Director of construction management, you know, that they have to institute and then they have team managers they have to answer to. So, you know, there's seven or eight people right there. And then you have environmental health and safety that they got to deal with. So they're, I'd say, anywhere, they can be anywhere from 10 to 20 people that they're they're having to the interface, depending on the size of the project. And that's I'm sorry, forgot about it.
Felipe Engineer 51:59
Oh, yeah. And it like, everything happens today with a lot of technology. So we're talking about a couple dozen people on the small side, and then a large hospital, does the number get into like, like the hundreds of people.
Yeah, because you're, you're still interfacing with a bunch of different departments, right? You have to, you know, in there, there's levels of it, that you still have to take into account all these people's input, and you have to make sure they're, they're happy, and you've, you've designed it properly to meet their needs, right? on all our buildings, we design we have, you know, our, our own MEP, people that, you know, dictate what our MEP systems are going to be and how they're going to act. You know, we have our quality people and our safety people and our, you know, construction management people convoluted, you know, and so it's tough for them.
Felipe Engineer 52:53
This complex, yes, convoluted complex, harder to communicate with so many people moving parts and pieces. So my heart goes out to all the project managers on the owner side, to navigate that much. And I'm sure there's also politics involved as well.
Yes, yes, just makes it a lot of politics, because everybody wants their project to go first. And, you know, in and they want it yesterday, you know, you can imagine, especially with COVID, think about what would happen with COVID, all the things that had to go on and get put in place and all the you know, if I was smart, and we bought stock in plastic companies, you know, for all the plastic barricades that we put up. But yeah, it's just, there's a lot of stuff. So I really feel for our project managers.
Felipe Engineer 53:45
I do too. I think that a lot of people don't realize, you know, all that they have to navigate because we just see them or, you know, correspond a lot through you just the meetings or email and it doesn't, it doesn't show like all the people that they have to interface with. So thank you for bringing that to light.
Yeah, the big thing is, Felipe is easy on them, when they when doesn't seem they can make a decision. It's not like they have the ability to just make the decision on their own. There's a lot of stakeholders, they have to get through. So it's frustrating for them to do that. They can't get you the answer right away. But always ask, what can I do to help them? Right? Is there things I, you know, is there because it's always about info, right? The person that they're going to have to go to, that person's gonna want info on Well, how much is this going to cost me or, you know, are How can I speed up the schedule, right? So give them info upfront, don't wait for them to ask, Hey, by the way, the cost is going to be this and we can do it in this amount of time. You know, try to be proactive, to help the owner
Felipe Engineer 54:49
but I love that. And Pete, I just want to ask you last question on, you know, looking out to the future. You're very lean minded, where you're you're focused on value for the client, how much in the future you think lien is going to play on the future of construction? What's your opinion, based on your perspective?
I think it's that it's the only way to go now. Because it's the amount of communication that you that we do, the amount of litigation that's out there, it forces us to, to have to communicate more and more liens, trying to get rid of it. But but really the thing with lien is the problem that I think lien is trying to solve is, how do I take what our contracts and laws say, and make it so it's easier to do, right, and look at new ways of doing it. So I, I think lien is the only way and it's all about the collaboration, we again, I go back to none of us are as smart as all of us. And, you know, just like I always give the scenario. If you have a stud running back in the NFL, and you have a center, a quarterback in the running back, it's gonna be very hard for him to gain a yard without his linemen, and all the other peripheral people helping him to be successful. You can't be successful on your own. And I think that's what lean in. And I think the biggest aspect of lean that we have to establish is trust. Because I think all the other tenants lean that are established through trust, right? Without trust, you can't have collaboration, if you don't trust somebody, you're certainly not going to collaborate with them. Right? Right. And if you can't collaborate with people, you're not going to innovate. And so it just it just snowball. So I think if we could, you know, I always tell people read the book, The speed of trust, if you can create that kind of atmosphere, the sky's the limit on a construction project.
Felipe Engineer 56:52
That's one of my favorite books. B. I'm glad you mentioned that. So I think we got the show title is going to be lean is the way to go or trust. Trust me, lean is the way to go. Pete Nova Desi, thank you so much for coming onto the show, and sharing your thoughts and your excitement around tax time. And trust. Those are two big things. And I love that we're solving a problem every day.
It's been a pleasure, Felipe it's always great talking to you. What problem are we trying to solve?
Felipe Engineer 57:27
Very special thanks to my guest. I'm Felipe Engineer-Manriquez. The EBFC Show is created by Felipe and produced by passion to build easier and better. Thanks for listening. Stay safe, everybody. Let's go build!