Construction Industry

Then Vs. Now: Project News Services

Then Vs. Now: Project News Services

Project News Services

Connecting You with Key Contacts on Active Projects at the Right Time

Project news services have been around for over 100 years. It started with an enterprising man riding his bike through the streets of Boston visiting construction job sites asking project managers what trades they needed and then selling his “Tips on Slips” to local subcontractors. Over the years, that business model has evolved exponentially. Today, project news services employ regional field and phone reporters to build and maintain relationships with construction industry professionals (their sources) – Owners, Architects, Engineers, General Contractors, and Facility Managers – in both the private and public sectors. This enables them to provide accurate and timely information on projects during the entire “Project Life Cycle” – Pre-Design, Design, Bidding, Construction, and Building Maintenance.

Construction Project News Reporter

Reporters often learn of new projects by visiting Planning & Zoning Boards in the villages, towns and cities within their region. All projects are required to be available for public review before they proceed with the appropriate regulatory approvals. Reviewing all the paper and digital files is a time-consuming process but it leads to valuable information on projects, including key contacts. If an architect has been assigned to the project, that will be the reporter’s first call. The architect can confirm the building’s use (retail, office, school, etc.), size (estimated value, square footage, number of stories), and status (what’s happening now, what’s happening next, and when will it happen) before the reporter publishes the project. This Design Phase information is very helpful to manufacturers looking to promote their products, materials and/or equipment to the architect. General Contractors also benefit from project information during this early phase because they need time to introduce their company to the owner and/or architect to get qualified and invited to bid. Subscribing to a project news service that provides early information on projects -particularly private, “under the radarprojects – can save a company’s business development team a lot of time, effort, and expense.

Reporters track all projects from concept to completion to provide important updates at the right time. The shortest but most active phase for the reporter is the Bidding Phase. During this 2-4 week period, they are gathering and publishing via many phone calls, emails, website and source visits, the following information:

  • Bid Date and Time
  • Pre-Bid and/or Site Visit Meeting Date and Time
  • Estimated Construction Start & End Dates
  • Pre-Bid and/or Site Visit Notes
  • List of “General Contractor Bidders” (for subcontractors to contact with their bids)
  • Plans and Specifications
  • Addendums (sometimes include bid date extensions)
  • Final check of “General Contractor Bidders” (to confirm complete list)
  • Low Bid Results (sometimes attending bid openings)

About 2-3 weeks after the bids have been submitted, the reporter will follow-up with their source to confirm the “Awarded” general contractor and the project’s start date. As a subcontractor, having a project news service aggregate bidding information on multiple projects simultaneously is a tremendous value. Most subcontractors don’t have the resources to collect all the necessary information during this time-sensitive phase. Often, owners and architects will not communicate directly with subcontractors because they don’t have the resources to address the hundreds of requests. Consequently, they rely on project news services that they trust (sometimes only one exclusively) to channel their project’s information.

Construction Project News Communication

Before the Construction Phase, the reporter will contact the awarded general contractor (like the Boston guy on his bike) to inquire if they still need any subcontractors and/or equipment to set-up their job site – signage, fencing, trailers, etc. They will also ask the project manager for the list of awarded subcontractors so that information can be published to the appropriate suppliers giving them an opportunity to sell their products, materials and/or equipment. The reporter will periodically contact the project manager throughout construction to see if they need anything to complete the project. Upon completion, the project moves into the final phase – Building Maintenance. The reporter will develop a relationship with the building’s facility manager and assist them with their building’s on-going maintenance and future capital projects.

Owners, architects, engineers, and facility managers need to communicate their projects’ information timely and accurately to a targeted audience. They need qualified and experienced professionals to help them design, build, and maintain their projects. Conversely, those professionals – manufacturers, contractors, and suppliers – need to know what projects are available and when their services are required. That’s why project news services have been and will continue to be an invaluable resource to the construction industry.

Ed Haege

Ed Haege is the Director and Product Manager of ONETEAM® at The Blue Book Building & Construction Network®. He began his career in the construction industry as a News Reporter for The McGraw-Hill Companies’ Dodge Reports before joining Dutch Boy Waterproofing, Co. as their Sales/Estimator. He later returned to McGraw-Hill Dodge as a Regional News Manager.

Ed joined The Blue Book Network® to manage the Research & Development Division and became the BB-Bid® Product Manager. His construction bidding knowledge and experience was instrumental in the creation and development of BB-Bid® (bid management system), as well as SyncWare (online plan room), Vu360 (take-off software), and Quick Quotes (RFQ messaging for equipment, materials, and products). His most recent project is ONETEAM®, The Blue Book Network®’s next generation bid management and collaboration platform. These workflow solutions are used by General Contractors, Subcontractors, and Facility Managers.

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