Improving Construction Productivity – Collaboration and Lessons Learned

Improving Construction Productivity – Collaboration and Lessons Learned

Everyone knows that productivity in the AECOO sector (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operation, Owner) is uniquely poor.  Everyone also knows why.  Stakeholders don’t play together well.  We prefer to sue each other, write up change orders, and hoard information vs. collaborate from day one throughout the life-cycle of a project and/or built structure.

So why don’t we change?  Also an easy answer.   The “culture” of our sector is embedded our minds and it will take a major event to enable change.

The good news is that the “major event” is upon us… its the convergence of cloud computing / social media and driving economic and environmental market factors.  The bad news is that many of us will not be able to make the transformation to our new work day.

What will our new work day look like?

1. Collaborative construction delivery methods.  Current examples being Job Order Contracting – JOC, Integrated Project Delivery – IPD, and Public Private Partnerships – PPP.

2. Robust Ontology – This is a fancy name for a common glossary of terms, definitions, and data architectures.  Current examples being RSMeans Cost Data, UNIFORMAT, MASTERFORMAT, OMNICLASS, IFC, COBie, …

3. Life-cycle management and approach vs. our current “first-cost mentality”.  There are simply too many resources (environment, economic, and opportunity costs) involved with the build environment to allow for the continuance of focus upon first costs and/or a “churn and burn” mentality.

4. Shared risk-reward.

Surveys clearly show (an example below), that Owner and Contractor satisfaction improve when collaboration is prevalent and focus is upon value.


How do you measure success?

• Quality
• Safety
• On-Time Completion
• Scheduling and Performance of Subs
• Warranty Service
• Responsiveness of Support
• Innovation and Value Engineering
• Responsiveness to Client Needs
• Preventing and Solving Problems
• Contractors Management Effectiveness
• Dispute Resolution
• Level of Trust
• Communication

Big Data, BIM, Cloud Computing, and Efficient Life-cycle Management of the Built Environment

In 2010 the amount of data collected since the dawn of humanity all the way up until 2003 was equivalent to the volume produced every two days in the new age of information. 

– Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google

“Big data” — the ability to acquire, process and sort vast quantities of information for timely decision support is critical to the efficient life-cycle management of the built environment.  To be certain, big data is NOT just a buzzword, but a term for rich information streaming in from multiple competencies which, leveraged appropriately, can be used collaboratively to drive better outcomes with respect to an organization’s core mission as a member of a larger community.

Big Data - BIM

Leveraging BIG DATA to achieve efficient life-cycle management of the built environment is not a trivial task, nor  is it “rocket science”.   It does however require the integration of robust business process, especially collaborative construction delivery methods, technology, and a standardized ontology.

Building Information Management, BIM is defined as the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology (NBIMS – NIBS).  Yet far too much emphasis to date has been upon the 3D visualization component of BIM vs. collaborative construction delivery methods, a standardized and robust ontology, and the use of open cloud computing technologies.   These are far more important than 3D visualization when it comes down to improving how we improve total cost of ownership with respect to the built environment from both economic and environmental perspectives.   The world is not flat, so why are out business processes within the AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations, Owner) linear and static?

Life-cycle management is on ongoing, dynamic process… actually the integration multiple ongoing/dynamic processes, with each having its own, yet inter-related “cycle” of planning, procuring, constructing, operating, and reusing.

Using Big Data for life-cycle facility management is NOT just about technology.  In point of fact, technology, process, people, and ontology must be viewed as inseparable and ever changing.  Considering “ripple effect” of every decision is central to life-cycle management, thus “what-if” decision support systems are equally important.

The new “rules of engagement” require a more “holistic” perspective of all stakeholders.

Thus BIM far more “about” the creation, sharing, and use of Big Data than it is 3D visualization and pretty pictures.

So, how do we  get from “A”, where we are now, to “B”, a more collaborative, transparent, and productive approach to managing the built environment?

1. Focus on process – the construction delivery method drives success/failure more than any other single component.   Collaborative construction methods such as Integrated Project Delivery – IPD, and Job Order Contracting – JOC, also referred to as IPD-lite, are examples of proven, transparent, and performance based approaches.

2. Robust Ontology – the use of standardized terms, definitions, and data architectures are critical to enabling transparency, collaboration, and reducing waste.   For example the use of standardized cost databases, such as RSMeans, and associated Uniformat/Masterformat…and eventual OMNICLASS frameworks as the foundation for development is one of several key considerations.

3. Leverage Technology – technology is a enabler, and not an a solution.  Technology can, however, cause disruptive change to fundamental business processes.    It is critical to adopt technology that is in concert with core strategies and dismiss those that are in conflict.  For example, open cloud computing platforms that promote collaboration, scalability, information permanence and reuse are enablers, while dated monolithic software programs and even traditional relational databases should be seriously evaluated.

via – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring an exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating/automatic quantity take off ( QTO),  and collaborative contract/project/document management, all in one application.   Our technology is currently serving over 85% of United States Air Force bases and rapidly growing numbers of other DOD and non-DOD (United States Army Corps of Engineers,  Army, GSA, Homeland Security, VA..) federal departments/agencies, as well as state/county/local governments, colleges/universities, healthcare,  and airports/transportation.  RSMeans Strategic Partner

2013 Global Construction Survey

In 2013, KPMG interviewed executives from 165 engineering and construction companies around the world, serving a range of markets including energy, power, industrial, healthcare/pharmaceutical, manufacturing, mining, education and government.

Key findings:

1. “66 percent feel that national governments’  infrastructure plans are the single biggest driver of market growth”

2. Slow recovery / growth continuing with “stable or higher margins”

3. “budget deficits and public funding is the biggest barrier to growth”

4. Growth areas: “power and energy top the list by a significant distance, other target sectors include water, rail, mining, and roads and bridges”

5. Standardization is critical to improving “project and risk management”.  “Whenever new people start on a project, they bring with them different processes. To spread good practices,  contractors can increase their use of… ” cost estimating and …. “project management software and step up training…. consolidate project delivery, and tighten
all leakages as much as possible.”

6. “Become a strategic partner to clients’ businesses By working more closely with clients from all sectors….”

via – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring an exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating/automatic quantity take off ( QTO),  and collaborative contract/project/document management, all in one application.   Our technology is currently serving over 85% of United States Air Force bases and rapidly growing numbers of other DOD and non-DOD (United States Army Corps of Engineers,  Army, GSA, Homeland Security, VA..) federal departments/agencies, as well as state/county/local governments, colleges/universities, healthcare,  and airports/transportation.  RSMeans Strategic Partner.



Job Order Contracting – JOC – An Ideal Project Delivery Method

Job Order Contracting as a Project Delivery Method

The design and construction phases of a project consist of a sequential series of interrelated processes that are influenced by time, cost and quality. The choice of project delivery method can directly affect the overall time line and cost of a project—and has the potential to influence the working relationships among project participants, thereby affecting the quality of their performance.

An owner chooses the project delivery method that is most advantageous to a particular project. The selected method is a contracting “tool” that will be used to administer the project’s construction phase and, with some methods, the design phase.

Until recently, most project delivery methods fostered only process-oriented and, in a sense, distant relationships among project participants. These traditional methods involve selection and award of professional design services (to develop comprehensive, complete design documents), followed by a separate process for construction services to accomplish and deliver the project to the owner. These are commonly referred to as design-bid-build type methods and are still in use today.

Currently, owners have several options other than traditional design-bid-build methods. These delivery method alternatives promote interaction among the owner, the design phase participants and the construction phase participants. These approaches have gained popularity in the construction industry, primarily because they can accelerate preconstruction time lines, but they offer other attributes as well. Job order contracting (JOC), which also is referred to as delivery order contracting or DOC, is one such method.

JOC is well-matched to meet many of the project delivery needs of today’s facility owners—particularly owners involved in public education; municipalities; local, state, or federal agencies; and the military, as well as other entities with facility project needs, both public and private.

JOB is an ideal project delivery method for minor construction, renovation, rehabilitation and maintenance projects. The quality of work performed is usually equal to or greater than any other project delivery method currently in use. Project costs are usually equal to or less than other methods, and the criteria used for pricing are typically firm, objective and consistent.

JOC’s pricing structure provides consistently accurate and predictable project cost estimating, and the method can be used for construction work as well as for facilities maintenance or specific trade groups. In addition to these attributes, JOC contractors are service-oriented to the owner.

JOC is a perfect match for owners who have the need to complete multiple small- to medium-size repair and renovation projects easily and quickly. Once a JOC contract is in place, the owner simply identifies each project with a brief description and notes the desired or required dates and times for performing the work. The JOC contractor is notified by the owner, who requests a design (if necessary), a detailed scope of work and a price proposal for the project. This process is commonly referred to in JOC as a Request for a Job Order (JOC) Proposal.

The owner, JOC contractor, and designer (if necessary) work closely during the site visit to identify site characteristics and decide on the most economically advantageous means and methods needed to perform the work. The design (if needed), along with a detailed scope of work including the project’s performance times, is then submitted by the JOC contractor to the owner for consideration. Once these submittals are mutually agreed on, the JOC contractor submits a detailed, lump-sum fixed price proposal based on the defined scope of work.

JOC Process

The combination of these submitted documents is referred to as the JOC contractor’s job order proposal. The owner reviews the price proposal for accuracy in accordance with the JOC contract provisions. When the JO proposal approval process is completed, the owner signs off on the proposal and the project can proceed as scheduled.

With JOC, numerous projects can be in progress concurrently under one contract, allowing the owner to complete a high volume of projects as the need arises (subject to the contractor’s capabilities). The method is a good candidate for projects that require phasing to accommodate operations and/or budget constraints, and is particularly well-matched for projects with critical performance times. Additionally, having a JOC contractor already mobilized at a facility or in the surrounding area can give owners the capability of almost immediate mobilization for emergency projects.

Adapted from Job Order Contracting: Expediting Construction Project Delivery, available through RSMeans,  via – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring an exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating/automatic quantity take off ( QTO),  and collaborative contract/project/document management, all in one application.   Our technology is currently serving over 85% of United States Air Force bases and rapidly growing numbers of other DOD and non-DOD (United States Army Corps of Engineers,  Army, GSA, Homeland Security, VA..) federal departments/agencies, as well as state/county/local governments, colleges/universities, healthcare,  and airports/transportation.  RSMeans Strategic Partner.


The Reasons BIM is Going Nowhere Fast

July 16th, 2012 – NIBS Report –  National Institute of Building Sciences Consultative Council  

Per the NIBS  Consultative Council there are four areas where our industry needs to focus highlights four  in order to improve buildings and infrastructure.

  1. Defining High-Performance and Common Metrics
  2. Codes and Standards Adoption and Enforcement
  3. Energy and Water Efficiency; and
  4. Sustainability.

The Consultative Council provides findings and recommendations to the President and Congress on issues impacting the built environment. A summary of the report, “Moving Forward: Findings and Recommendations from the Consultative Council,” is in the Institute’s 2011 Annual Report to the President of the United States.

  • The building community should work to define metrics for achieving high-performance buildings—including both qualitative and quantitative measures.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Institute and others should encourage cities and smaller communities to adopt and enforce updated model codes.
  • Regulators and the building industry should support efforts by codes and standards developers and adopting jurisdictions to format criteria in ways that simplifies and enhances the ability to verify compliance.
  • Software developers, regulators and building professionals should support the development of building information modeling (BIM ) for use as an automated code-checking tool that can improve compliance and streamline the approval process.
  • The U.S. Government should develop incentives for state and local governments to require water metering of all buildings and to adopt and enforce comprehensive “green” building or plumbing codes.
  • The U.S. Government should provide a tax incentive for building owners who voluntarily get their buildings audited and that implement the recommendations to reduce energy and water use.
  • Policy makers and members of the building community are encouraged to use a common definition for sustainability.
  • The building community needs mechanisms (e.g., budgets, insurance and tax incentives) to help finance sustainable life-cycle performance for buildings and related infrastructure.

There is virtually nothing “new” in any of the above, nor any plan to gain traction in any particular area, let alone all.  Until our industry and our Nation realizes the importance of efficiently managing the life-cycle of the built environment and defines processes and deploys digital tools to support requisite changes, BIM doesn’t have a chance.


















via – Premier software for cost estimating and efficient project delivery – Job Order Contracting – JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, etc.  Exclusive 400,000+ line item enhancement of RSMeans Cost Data, visual estimating including QTO and Pattern Search, Document/Project/Program Management.


Consultative Council members that contributed to the 2011 report include: ASTM International; American Institute of Architects; American Society of Civil Engineers; ASHRAE; Associated General Contractors of America; Building Owners and Managers Association, International; Construction Specifications Institute; ESCO Group; Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association; Glass Association of North America; Green Mechanical Council; HOK; Illuminating Engineering Society; International Association of Lighting Designers; International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials; International Code Council; Laborers’ International Union of North America; National Insulation Association; NORC at the University of Chicago, and United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry.

Construction Delivery Methods – Free WebCast February 3rd

Construction Delivery Methods are a critical component of BIM as well as Facility Management in general.
And no one enables JOC, and other construction delivery methods better than 4Clicks and RSMeans.
Please join us February 3rd for a free WebCast.
See how we help Owners …
  • Manage multiple projects, contractors, bids and estimates, cost books, and users
  • Track  construction progress, documents, milestones, modifications, inspections, warranties, and closeouts quickly, easily, and with greater accuracy.

Contractors and A/E’s also love working with our solutions as collaboration, communication, and longer term partnerships are enhanced for all parties.


Software Technology to Improve Project Delivery

Presented by:

4Clicks logoRSMeans logo


Join Michael Brown, Founder and President of 4Clicks Solutions, LLC, and Bob Gair, Principal, RSMeans for a discussion of a cost estimating, program management, and document management software specifically developed for Job Order Contracting, SABER, IDIQ, and similar project delivery methods.


In this FREE webinar, you will learn:

#1Why JOC is the most efficient construction project delivery method for facility repairs, renovation, and green/sustainability.

#2How JOC can shorten the traditional construction procurement timeline from 15 weeks to 5 weeks.

#3What a strategic partnership with RSMeans and a  complete 400,000+ detailed line item cost database can do for you.

#4How you can get away from spreadsheets or cumbersome, outdated software and nearly eliminate estimating errors, reduce project costs, and improve collaborative communications with internal and external project partners.

Register Here



Thursday, February 3, 2011
1:00 pm EST



RS Means JOC Educational Seminar

Facility owners know that changes in occupancy, project requests and building lifecycle and infrastructure needs sometimes arrive quite suddenly with tight completion timelines—-spurring the need for quick and professional construction services to accommodate end user requirements.

Potential solution:  Already have a JOC program in place!

Job Order Contracting (JOC) is a construction project delivery method used by facility owners to access quick and professional contractor performance without compromising pricing predictability. It works
especially well for facility owners who might have high volume and/or backlog of smaller projects (mostly under $1M each), such as those found in educational, medical, municipal and federal facilities.

JOC involves indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) services—-which is basically an on-going construction services contract for projects yet to be determined by the owner. The method allows for mutually beneficial long-term relationships between facility owners and JOC contractors for construction services.

Therefore, a unique partnering approach to JOC contract management should be considered. This presentation will address what partnering actions owners can take to promote the successful use of JOC at their facilities.

In addition, this presentation will provide an overview of typical JOC contractor- submitted project proposal content as well as basic tips for the owner regarding JOC proposal review.

Mark E. Bailey
President and CEO, Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Inc.
Mark Bailey provides vision and direction to employees in over 40 offices across the country, focusing on Job Order Contracting and IDIQ contracts. Mark gained a wealth of field and office experience with a diverse 24 years of construction industry experience, ranging from superintendent and estimator to heavy civil contractor and project manager. He has authored an article about Job Order Contracting for ENR and is a member of the National and Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, Society of American Military Engineers, Design-Build Institute of America and Center for Job Order Contracting Excellence.
Allen L. Henderson
Consultant, Author, Former Facility Manager, Texas State University
Allen Henderson has 35 years of construction industry experience, including over 25 years at Texas State University-San Marcos. A long-time proponent of the JOC method of construction project delivery, Allen is author of Job Order Contracting—Expediting Construction Project Delivery, published by RSMeans, and has given numerous presentations on the subject. He is currently a board member for the Center for Job Order Contracting Excellence.
John R. Murray
Director, State of Missouri Division of Facilities Management
John Murray is the Missouri State Director of Contract Services for the Division of Facilities Management, Design and Construction. John additionally serves as Vice Chairman of the Planning & Zoning Committee for the Village of Wardsville, Mo and as AIA-CEC-MO Liaison Committee member.
Robert F. Gair
Principal, RSMeans Business Solutions
Robert F. Gair has over 20 years of construction industry experience in cost modeling and job order contracting and is currently responsible for the fastest growing sector of RSMeans businesses. A business analyst with extensive computer technology experience, Bob provides property management solutions to federal agencies such as the Department of Energy, Department of Labor, and State Department. He was also the 2009 Industry Chair for the Center for Job Order Contracting Excellence.

4D, 5D BIM can learn a lot from JOC – Job Order Contracting

The destiny of BIM is life-cycle facility management.  When this will happen is anyone’s guess.

In the interim, BIMers and FMers can learn a lot from JOC – Job Order Contracting.  JOC is arguably the best construction project delivery method for facility renovation, repair, and sustainability.

It is efficient (projects take far less time to scope, bid, and start), performance-based (contractors that deliver quality on time and on budge are rewarded with additional work), collaborative (long term, open relationships are the norm), and transparent (reference cost databases and/or custom cost guides are used along with associated standardized templates, reporting methods, etc.)

JOC shares the benefits of IPD (integrated project delivery) however, has a proven 25 years track record of success.

In a time when the economy and global warming force a new focus upon existing buildings and efficiency…. JOC can delivery today.

For these reasons that JOC adoption is rapidly accelerating in government, institution, and private sectors. .. and why BIM can learn from JOC.

4Clicks.JOC.BluePaper June 2010

Creating a Job Order Contract RFPJOC Trust Partnering Relationships

Thinking Outside the Box

Job Order Contracting and LEED

Creating a Job Order Contract RFP

Definition of a High Performance Building


A building that integrates and optimizes all major high-performance building attributes, including energy efficiency, durability, life-cycle performance, and occupant productivity.

– Energy Policy Act, 2005, Section 915

A building that integrates and optimizes on a life cycle basis all major high performance attributes, including energy conservation, environment, safety, security, durability, accessibility, cost-benefit, productivity, sustainability, functionality, and operational considerations.

– Energy Independence and Security Act, 2007, Title IV, Section 401
High-performance buildings, which address human, environmental, economic and total societal impact, are the result of the application of the highest level design, construction, operation and maintenance principles—a paradigm change for the built environment.
– High Performance  Building Council