Tuesday, December 29, 2015

StructureTec Executive Roundtable Dinner Recap

2015 Cincinnati Executive Roundtable

StructureTec recently hosted an executive roundtable dinner in Cincinnati, Ohio. The event brought in facilities management leaders for lively exchange and roundtable discussion. Below are the highlights and key takeaways:

Industry Leaders Collaborate …

Biggest Challenges
  • “Conflicting Priorities” - Investment in product line vs. facilities management
  • Investing back into the business
  • Age vs. condition and educating management
  • Capital vs. operating costs
  • Succession planning
  • Maintaining CMMS systems
  • Securing skilled specialty contractors, i.e. masons
  • Completing all priorities
  • Budget
Strategic Facilities Capital Planning
  • Improve assets and slow down deterioration
  • Calculate cost to maintain vs. cost to replace
  • First cost vs. life cycle cost of ownership
  • Consequences of neglect
  • Safety—Number 1 priority
  • Proof for verification—pictures
  • Checks and balances
  • “Cradle to grave management”
  • “Carbon footprint” reduction as a tool to obtain funding
  • Zero-based budgeting
  • Best practices
  • Run to expire vs. long term investments
  • Need to review engineering economics
  • Facility Decisions can:
    • Add value
    • Mitigate risk
    • Cause damage control

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Throwback Thursday: "We've Got You Covered"

For this Throwback Thursday update, we've uncovered another great vintage StructureTec Group ad.

Although our StructureTec cowboys have long since retired, we still protect our clients investments through our best-in-class project management and delivery. Contact us today to find out how "We've Got You Covered!"

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lawrence Tech named one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the U.S.

Recently Lawrence Technological University was added to the list of 'Green' Colleges. It now is among one of the 353 most environmentally friendly universities in the U.S.
One of the reasons it was selected was a result of their recently added green roof system (pictured below). Their green roof system was designed with oversight from StructureTec Group. Our expertise in green roof technology has allowed the university to stand out from the crowd as an environmentally responsible campus.
Check out our project profile below to learn how StructureTec Group played a vital role in the development of Lawrence Tech's green roof system. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Ready When You Are!

Many things have changed since this 1992 advertisement, but the content is still true today!
Rest assured, one thing will never change: We provide the best solution for our customers. This is, and always will be, our #1 priority.
We hope you enjoy this timeless ad!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Six Strategies to Ensure Your Project is Shovel Ready

StructureTec Group’s Building Construction Technology Educational Center (BCTEC) hosted a webinar on April 16th on the topic: “Are Your Projects Shovel Ready?”

In case you missed out, shovel ready essentially means that your projects are ready to start as soon as funding is approved. Ensuring your projects are shovel ready gives you a much greater chance of not only getting budget approval, but completing your projects on schedule.

As discussed in the presentation, there are six strategies that ensure your project is shovel ready.

1.       Define the project. You can do this by performing regular condition assessments and preparing a list that is ranked based on a well-defined condition index. It is also helpful to have a risk index prepared.

2.       Define the budget. Define your budgets based on recommendations and course of action. It is helpful to include unit pricing with estimates that are based on current average pricing information.

3.       Get the specs ready to go. Allow time to develop the project manual. This can be a time consuming process, ensuring it is completed will give you a head start on getting your project completed.

4.       Select the right team for the project. Selecting the right internal and external team is essential to completing a successful project. In selecting the correct external team, you should consider a designer and contractor that have a solid technical understanding of the project, and have excellent team communications.

5.       Choose a project delivery method. Between design/bid/build, design/build and construction management there are many different advantages and disadvantages. Have a method researched and chosen that will be the best fit for your project.  

6.       Have the financial impact ready for CFO review. Be prepared to show impact for prioritization, cost reduction and sustainability.

If you missed the webinar, you can watch the presentation here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Executive Roundtable Recap

We held an Executive Roundtable at the Birmingham Athletic Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

During the Roundtable, industry leaders met to collaborate on their biggest challenges, strategic facilities capital planning, and key performance indicators. Below are the key discussions and takeaways from the meeting.

Biggest Challenges:
  • Changing management is impacting long-range plans
  • Challenge to prioritize with a growing deferred  maintenance backlog
  • Ineffective record keeping and undocumented history
  • Limited personnel to carry out projects
  • Erosion of quality while trying to achieve lowest (best) price
Strategic Facilities Capital Planning:
  • Establishing history and good record keeping through CMMS system
  • Looking for innovative ways to extend the life of existing systems to defer capital expenditures
  • Using risk assessment programs to establish priority projects
  • Establish organizational best practices and actively benchmarking with peers within the industry
Key Performance Indicators:
  • Quantifying savings and ROI by calculating anticipated service life vs. actual service life
  • Comparing first cost vs. actual cost
  • Regular client/customer/occupant satisfaction surveys
  • Preventative maintenance vs. emergency work orders
  • Maintaining company image through all stages of project
  • Response times to address safety related work orders
  • Helps to use cost savings as a selling point when trying to obtain funding
  • Need to establish a risk matrix for all critical systems
  • Upfront cost of ownership vs. life cycle cost of ownership
  • Facilities management impacts the organization's bottom line

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

High Performance People Series: Interview with Tom Rea

Tom Rea is the manager of the Pavement Management Group division of StructureTec Group. He has brought significant impact and growth as leader of his division. Tom’s enthusiasm is contagious and is demonstrated through his passion for what he does.
Tom is our newest addition to the High Performance People interview series, we hope you enjoy!
How long have you been working with StructureTec Group?
This is my fifth year. I made a pledge when I was talking with Jeffrey Brittan (CEO of StructureTec Group) during my interview to, within a five year period of time, take the new paving division to the point of being StructureTec’s largest division by revenue. It looks like this may be the year that we can get there, and this is my fifth year.
How long have you been in the industry?
When I was going to school in Ann Arbor Michigan back in the late 60s, as soon as I wrote my last final I immediately went to work for Ann Arbor Construction Company, so I guess about 45-48 years.
What significant changes have transpired since you joined StructureTec Group?
There was a steep learning curve early on as it relates to the heavy civil division. In the beginning there were a lot of checks and balances and a lot of conversation. As a new division in the company, we had to work together to develop a full understanding of the capabilities of the Pavement Management Group and how it is different from roofing and restoration.
What is unique about the Pavement Management Group?
The most unique part of it is the speed of which the projects are handled. A three-quarter million dollar restoration job takes a 3-6 months to complete. A three-quarter million dollar pavement job, only takes three weeks. So process from start to finish is vastly quicker.
What is your most memorable/rewarding/challenging project?
The American Axle manufacturing plant in Mexico. We went there to do a job and had only one week to complete. Ended up taking a week and four days because we had to work with local contractors in an area where they were 20-25 years behind the current specifications. We ended up taking 2-3 days in dialogue to get them up to speed on the specifications. We were able to help them get 20 years ahead of where they were in terms of quality product.
Where do you see the direction of StructureTec/Pavement Management Group going in the next decade?
I think further technological developments in our CAD department will take us to the next level and allow us to handle more projects at one time. These developments will include the implementation of a 3D CAD program. I also anticipate that we will move into a much more global market as we have already started to move this direction in the last four years. 
What makes StructureTec unique? What sets us apart?
The confidence and knowledge level of our personnel. No question, everybody in the organization is on the top of their game and is extremely well prepared for the task. We have the people, and the right people in the right places. Also our national accounts that are light years ahead of similar companies who are trying to do the same thing. Our ability to grow is supported by those two facets.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The job itself, the accomplishments. Being able to look at a task and follow it through to completion. That to certain personalities is infectious. My greatest reward is following the project from start to finish and having a satisfied client when complete. For me it’s the biggest thrill.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Core Values

Our company core values are what support the vision, shape the culture and reflect what StructureTec Group values. They are the essence of our company’s identity – our principles and beliefs upon which we shape our work.

There is no better way to get to know StructureTec Group than by familiarizing yourself with our core values and what they mean to us.

·        Integrity: Doing what is ethically and morally right.

·       Quality: Performing at the highest level of excellence.

·       Relationships: Maintaining and developing connections for personal and professional growth and success.

·       Expertise: Investing in tools and resources to maintain a high standard of skills and knowledge.

·       Accountability: fulfilling obligations and accepting responsibility.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Believe it or Not, Spring is Only 15 Days Away

After the winter we’ve had, it’s hard to imagine green grass and flowers. If you’re like me and have forgotten what they look like, you might be taken by surprise when all of this snow finally starts to melt.

To avoid being stuck doing roof maintenance instead of smelling the spring flowers, follow these simple steps to ensure you’re prepared to handle the meltdown.

1.       Clear out the drains.

Be sure water can flow freely to them by removing any ice, snow or debris accumulation near the drains. This is the most basic way to ensure that all of the excess water has a place to go and doesn’t pool on the roof surface causing water damage.  

2.       Remove snow and ice at roof to wall transitions.

Often these transition points are a natural place for water to pool. They’re also often home to seams in your waterproofing materials which could be one of the weaker points in the roof system. Clearing off the ice and snow buildup can help prevent the development of leaks. 

3.       Remove snow and ice at penetrations and curbs.

Similar to number two, this area commonly contains seams that may be more susceptible to water damage. Often these areas are shaded from the sun and can be one of the last places to melt. Clearing the ice and snow will help to speed up the melting process.  

4.       Inspect structural components that might be distorted due to supporting increased load.
Unfortunately the increased load on your roof system can cause damage throughout the long winter months. If that is the case, you’ll want to repair these areas before they become major problems to your facility.

Following these few steps will ensure that you’re ready to handle the melting snow and ice. Just remember to exercise caution when removing snow and ice from your roof so that you do not puncture or tear the membrane; or more importantly endanger yourself.

If winter took its toll on your roof and you’re experiencing leaks, we’re here to help! Construction Services Group, a StructureTec Group Subsidiary, has a 24/7 Emergency Leak team that is equipped to handle those pesky leaks so you can continue with business as usual. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Art of Competitive Bidding and Negotiation

The practice of obtaining the most competitive pricing for your construction projects is truly an art … and a science. The topic of “The Art of Competitive Bidding and Negotiation” was presented by Nick O’Hare on January 21st during a live webinar broadcast to facilities professionals across the country.

This presentation focused on best practices for receiving the best price, not necessarily the lowest bid for construction projects. The biggest factor in ensuring best price is having a proper specification as a tool to use during the bidding process. The discussion began by explaining the basic methods of specifying, how to draft a specification, the project manual concept and closed with best practices for bidding.

This was a very timely topic and interest was high. Key questions and discussion from the audience included:

·         What is “pent-up” demand and how is it affecting bidding?
·         How many bidders should be invited to bid a project?
·         Sealed bids vs. informal quotes

Click Here to request a recording of the webinar.

This webinar was hosted by Building Construction Technology Educational CenterSM, a Division of StructureTec. They will be hosting a Building Envelope Forum in Detroit, MI on February 18th, 2015 covering a wide variety of topics pertaining to facility management. Please click here for more information on the topics.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015 Schedule Impacting Bid Results

As we are preparing for 2015 Capital Projects, what are the recent trends in the industry that are affecting the bid results? Some have experienced the benefits of bidding projects that are scheduled for the second or third quarter in the first quarter or even in the fourth quarter the year before. However now that we are well into 2015, there are several factors that need to be considered when bidding for upcoming 2015 work. 

2015 Trends

So far 2015 has started with several conditions, although not seen to this effect in recent years; the conditions are not surprising with the situations leading up to 2015. Projects that have been pushed back and delayed years previously are now being slated for 2015 work. Based on the amount spent on construction over the past 3 years in the U.S., the average growth of construction projects was 7% more each year (Huesman, Holland, & Langley, 2015). There is more work in the market place and not enough man power to execute the projects. Contractors are even turning down the invitation to bid because their backlog is already full for the construction season. With less tier one contractors bidding, it becomes more of a challenge to receive the most competitive pricing for upcoming work.

Upcoming Projects

With capital projects slated for 2015, it is crucial the projects get bid out as soon as possible while still allowing time for the proper design and expectations to be factored in. Inviting more contractors that are qualified for the job will also be beneficial. Not only local contractors but also inviting regional contractors will yield a competitive price. Due to the amount of projects in the market place, inviting more contractors  then one might normally expect, with the expectation a few might decline the invitation, competitive prices are still obtainable.

During the bidding phase, one might also ask the contractors their schedule for performing the work. Having firm start dates and completion dates might be a contributing factor of inflated pricing. If possible, it would be better to work with the contractor on their current backlog and still meet milestones such as substantial completion before end of summer opposed to project start on a firm date. Their still may be a narrow window for the work to take place, but the more one is willing to work with the contractor during the bidding stage, the better the prices will be.

With the construction season rapidly approaching we wish you the best of luck for your 2015 Capital Projects.

Works Cited
Huesman, J., Holland, L., & Langley, T. (2015, January 02). Construction Spending.
Retrieved January 12, 2015, from United States Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/construction/c30/prpdf.html