Follow this agenda to start projects the right way.

Go outside, get your boots dirty, feel the air and get excited. You are about to start construction. Before you get started, though, take some time to develop a project attack plan by meeting with your project manager, field superintendent and foreman on the jobsite. Walk the job, and discuss all the issues that may face your team as they complete the requirements included in your contract.

Successful Contractors Plan
Effective subcontractors know to start every job with a meeting with the customers to review the work plan. They also request a pre-project onsite meeting with the general contractor’s project manager and superintendent. During this discussion, they can work out all the anticipated problems before they happen and talk about milestones, commitments, logistics, jobsite rules, payments and special requirements. Subcontractors who take time for this activity finish faster, make more money and are treated better by their customers because the customers know they care.

General contractors must follow suit and get everyone on the project team to work together to achieve the project goals. Require every member of the project team to attend, as they all have important roles to play.
Many subcontractors and suppliers will fight you on the requirement of the pre-job meeting, but it should remain mandatory. Don’t consider meeting in your office conference room. This meeting should be held at the jobsite. It may be inconvenient to go out to the site, but once everyone stands onsite, the location engages the senses and the project becomes urgent.

These meetings should be run by the project manager and field superintendent. When the company owner runs them, these team members don’t become accountable for results.

The Pre-Job StartUp Meeting Agenda
Follow these steps to get the most out of your project startup meeting:

  • Review project goals. Often, subcontractors think price is the most important concern on every job. However, schedule, quality, value engineering, safety, cleanliness or customer relationships may be the most important factor. When everyone understands what targets to aim for, project goals can be met.
  • Issue all subcontracts for execution before starting the job. All the subcontractors can then discuss problems and resolve them early. This also forces project managers to commit to all of the trades early in the process and allows them to concentrate on building the project once work is underway.
  • Issue approved plans. Review all plans together to make sure every subcontractor understands what’s required.
  • Issue the project schedule. After issuing the schedule, the superintendent can discuss work flow, potential problems and long-lead items.
  • Review job and safety rules. Review all rules related to jobsite hours, safety, noise restrictions, clean-up, equipment, adjacent property, etc.
  • Review permit, license and special inspection requirements. Identify who will be responsible for required paperwork and when each item will be required.  
  • Issue a required shop drawing and submittal list. Create a schedule of submittal requirements and a list of the individuals that approve them. This step can reduce delays by prompting everyone to identify long-lead items and order them early.
  • Review insurance requirements and payment procedures. Include procedures for invoices, releases, joint checks, authorization and timing.
  • Review the change order system. Explain the approval process from pricing to review and payment. Discuss change timeframes, markup allowance and order authorization. To get started, email for your copy of “Field Tracking Systems for Contractors.”
  • Conclude with an open discussion. Allow everyone to share their concerns. Addressing problems early, with all parties present, saves time, money and headaches later.

This simple meeting will make a dramatic difference in your project success. Your quality of work will improve, you will finish work faster and stakeholders will be happier.