with Mark Napier
During my 24+ years working for two national contractors, I came to understand that longer lead times to research and prepare our proposal or bid increased our chance to win the project. But some owners and architects resist putting their project into a project news service out of fear of losing control, perhaps claiming their project is confidential. Let’s use this space to discuss the value to privately funded owners and architects of promoting their projects through our Network.
First, confidential doesn’t always mean “confidential!” Even if an owner or architect wants to keep a project in their own private airspace, the truth is it often becomes publicly available information anyway, since most projects have to be approved by local planning and zoning boards, environmental agencies, etc. Once it becomes public, The Blue Book Network® canvasses for the information. Additionally, subcontractors regularly call us looking for information about a new privately funded project, which prompts us to pursue the lead.
Welcome to The Blue Book Network®’s no-fear zone. Unlike other project news services, our Network allows for targeted project promotion, allowing architects and owners to get the feedback they need—when and from whom they need it. Whether it’s value engineering input from an MEP contractor or sustainability suggestions from a building project manufacturer, The Blue Book Network® is the only service that allows for solicitations to just their target audience.
VOLUME OF PROJECT REPORTS BY PROJECT TYPE
NETWORK UTILIZATIONS: BUYERS
It’s no surprise that relationships between principals are reinforced by a sense of trust, capabilities, familiarity and chemistry. Owners and architects, then, may be reticent to open up the contracting opportunities to a wider audience beyond their select favorites. We get it! However, there can be missed opportunities when these projects fly under the radar, such as:
1. Developing relationships with a wider group of contractors and their subcontractors gives you more control. With the industry flourishing, contractors and subcontractors are busy. It can be challenging to find good providers to do the work within schedule and budget. Promoting the project to a wider audience expands the opportunity to find more trustworthy contractors and their circle of capable subcontractors.
2. Promoting a project as early as possible before bids are due allows for ample lead time, which can be critical to a successful bidding/negotiating process. Many contractors would welcome at least 120 days to put a project on their radar screen so they can conduct due diligence on the project site, truly understand the plans and specifications, and consider constructability and local code issues, not to mention assessing and fostering the relationships needed to satisfy the project requirements.
3. Competition among a wider group of manufacturers and suppliers provides real opportunity to save on cost. Depending on the type of project, building products and materials may equate to 45% to 55% of the total building cost. Competition and innovation can provide tangible savings. Let’s say that the overall construction cost is estimated at $20,000,000, building products and materials average 50% or $10,000,000, and competition/innovation lowers the price of these an average of even 5%, that could mean a savings of $500,000 to the project budget.
All that said, in our inaugural issue this past spring, we discussed the benefits of our Architect Keystone Alliance. Architects across the country are now seeing the control they have and the opportunity to develop new relationships. Added benefits for architects and especially owners are on the horizon. Blue skies ahead!
As always, I value and look forward to your feedback. I can be reached at email@example.com.
Director of Project Information