November 24, 2015
PIDC believes in working with strategic partners so it very important to have industry leaders leading each workshop. Part 1 of the Construction Workshop series was titled Expectations of a Prime Contractor and was led by Timothy Mason, Vice President & Territory Manager for STV. STV is a leading, award-winning professional firm offering engineering, architectural, planning, and environmental and construction management services.
Mason explained the relationship between a prime contractor and its subcontractors is crucial. It can determine the outcome of a project and the future success of each party. Knowing what to expect is half the battle. The workshop discussed roles of the prime and subcontractor, strategies to manage these expectations and working collaboratively for the win-win. Some key takeaways included:
- Build relationships with industry professionals and know what sets you apart from other contractors
- If you lose, follow up, request a debrief, stay in contact. If you win, read and re-read all documents, ask for project kick off meeting, understand fee structure, fee schedule, billing etc.
Part 2 of the series was titled The Hidden Costs of Construction Bidding led by Joseph Bray of Bittenbender Construction and Luis Torrado of Torrado Construction. Unforeseen conditions and overlooked expenses can negatively impact the total cost of a project. This workshop discussed those conditions and costs that must be included in your bid to avoid being on a good project that results in financial disaster. Some key takeaways included:
- Talk to your competitors/colleagues, ask questions and for advice on bidding on jobs
- It’s important to manage your project and the time of your workers
- Know funding requirements and do a site walk-through
Part 3 of the series was titled Understanding Contract Surety Bonding: An Orientation for Small Contractors led by Ellen Neylan of Surety Bond Associates. This workshop covered the fundamentals of qualifying for construction bonding, determining costs, positioning your company for increases in bonding lines, and avoiding defaults. It also covered how to choose the right bonding company for your growing needs. Some key takeaways included:
- Three major bonds
- Bid Bond- Meant to cover liquidated damages
- Performance Bond- Guarantees you’ll perform under all terms of the contract and warranties
- Payment Bond- Protects vendors and subcontractors so they’ll get paid
- Visit the S. Department of the Treasury to find a certified Surety Bond Company
Part 4 of the series was titled Contractor Toolkit: Risk Avoidance from Inception to Closeout led by Jennifer Horn and Carter Williamson of Horn Williamson. Disputes on construction projects often cannot be avoided. This workshop was designed to equip contractors on measures that assist in the upfront negotiation and execution of contracts to minimize contract disputes at the end. It also covered managing disputes once they arise, from mediation to arbitration to litigation. Some key takeaways included:
- Managing a Contractor’s financial risk starts with estimating the project costs
- All Contractors of any size should have a Subcontractor prequalification process
- Negotiating the contract:
- Know your lien rights
- Know your bond rights
- Know applicable payment statutes
- Know the applicable law
- Know your dispute resolution provisions
The Construction Workshop series was very engaging and allowed plenty of opportunity for Q&A and networking. Over 50 business owners were in attendance throughout the series each offering a variety of services from electrical to interior design.
PIDC offers a specific financing product for contractors. The Contract Line of Credit Loan provides support to small, minority, women, and disabled-owned businesses that need a line of credit to fund contract-related working capital. To qualify, contracts must be assignable to PIDC. Use of funds is restricted to labor, materials, and equipment costs directly associated with the contract being financed. Financing is available to qualified businesses that have been awarded public or institutional contracts or sub-contracts. Private sector contracts may also be considered for financing.