Subs and GCs Share Successful Closeout Secrets
Project closeout can sometimes take up to a year, even though both general contractors and trade partners want it done. How can this tension be alleviated?
Watch this webinar to hear a discussion with panelists from Pype, Levelset, Ashford Glass, Shade Systems, and ARCO on challenges GCs and subs face independently, how they can help each other overcome them, and how closeout collaboration benefits the project as a whole.
- An honest discussion between a GC and two trade partners on communications & practices the other can follow to make closeout easier for all
- Understand how standardized closeout processes can help tighten cash flow
- What you can do right now to closeout existing and future projects faster
Satyam Verma: (00:04)
Hello, everyone. We’re going to get started here in just a couple of minutes. Give people some time to get logged in and get settled. Thank you for joining us as mentioned, we’ll start, maybe you’re admitted or two into the hour. Again. Thank you everybody for joining us for going to give people just a minute or two to get settled in and logged in and get their coffee or whatever they need. Um, and we’ll get started here shortly once again. Thank you everybody for joining us today. We are going to hit going to go ahead and get started with the webinar today. Um, thank you for joining us. Once again today, we are here to talk about building better together and how product closed out can sometimes take a very long time, even though both contractors and trade partners want to work together and get things done. But before we jump into the actual conversation itself, let’s go through a couple of quick introductions for everyone who’s joining us today. We have a great cast. We’ll start with Jennifer. How are you doing?
Jennifer Story: (01:29)
Doing good. How are you
Satyam Verma: (01:31)
Doing well? You want to give us just a quick background for people?
Jennifer Story: (01:35)
Sure. Um, my name is Jennifer story. I’m the vice-president of Asper glass. We are a subcontractor here in Texas that does glass and glazing on it, construction and on remodels.
Jonny Finity: (01:49)
Awesome. Thank you. We have Johnny from level-set everybody. I’m Johnny [inaudible]. I manage all of the content level level-set um, all of the educational content that we produced. Some the level set news, financial news as well. Awesome, Jenny.
Jennifer Story: (02:08)
Hi, I’m Jenny bass, CEO of shade systems in Atlanta. We fabricate and install doc canopies, current large commercial warehouses. We are a subcontractor. Um, I also own SB tech, Inc, which provides a corrugated steel pipe for large infrastructure projects, like bridges and peers.
Satyam Verma: (02:30)
Awesome. Awesome. Excited to hear from you, my myself, for those who don’t know him, talk to you in Vermont. I work with the multiple platforms here at pipe, along with our clients and our software partners to create integrations and workflows that really help people leverage tools to achieve their goals. Um, and last but not least Heidi.
Jennifer Story: (02:50)
Hi guys. Thanks for having me. I’m Heidi Rolston from Arco Murray we’re design build general contractor founded nationwide all across the country here. Um, I
Jonny Finity: (03:00)
Am bringing a unique perspective today. I’m on the technology side as a construction technology analyst, but with my previous experience as a project administrator, I was able to run personally, um, project closeouts and intimately learn all the best practices from our business. Um, kind of sharing those secrets for this call today.
Satyam Verma: (03:19)
And that’s something we’re really excited about. If you guys have a notice, you know, you don’t see it very often having a conversation with both trade partners and general contractors at the table, talking about how do we get to those, uh, the solutions that are win-win for everybody, right? Um, and, and it’s something we’re really excited about. Uh, now moving into the next couple of slides, we’re going to throw up a poll in the meantime to just start sort of gauge the audience. Um, as we go over a couple of the, a webinar agendas kind of first starting off with what does close out look like today, the good versus the bad, and how has that impacted all different partners? You have the trade partners, you have the GCs. And then we have a couple of questions that are really going to help, um, open up the discussion and get a couple of different viewpoints. We highly encourage everyone in the audience to get involved. Please try to use the chat or the question and answer functionality, um, as we get in there because we really value your input and understanding, you know, how is this impacting you guys as well? And where can we focus on providing stronger workflows or solutions? So, uh, take a second to answer the poll and then we will jump right into things.
Satyam Verma: (04:28)
In the meantime, Johnny, you want to give a quick rundown of a mobile set. Yeah, sure. So for those of you who aren’t familiar with level set around customers of ours already, um, level-set is all about helping contractors and suppliers get paid and get paid faster. Um, so we have a lot of tools that help, um, help you communicate with the people that are at the top of the payment chain on your project, um, to exchange documents, um, to send notices, to protect your lien rights on your projects. Um, and we also have a lot of tools to help, uh, get insights on the contractors that you work with. So we have contractor profiles that have, uh, payment history for those, uh, those contractors. So in your prequalification process, you can, you can see kind of, um, what their credit risk is like. Um, we also have a lot of insights in terms of, um, when problems are coming up on different projects that you might be working on. We have a great community of experts like construction lawyers, um, accountants, uh, credit managers, and other professionals, uh, to share information, ask questions, um, and, and we have a huge wealth of educational content on the site just about any kind of payment related problem, you know, if be having, we’ve probably written an article about it. Um, and if we haven’t, you can send me an email and I will make sure it gets written.
Satyam Verma: (05:56)
Awesome. Thank you. And just a quick overview of five, you know, it’s a, it’s a very straightforward platform that focuses on arming contractors with the information that they need based off of smart automation, um, analyzing documents, using AI to identify potentially missing submittals, which is very important in the concept of reducing the amount of RFIDs and change orders. Um, but most importantly, we have a very clear cut database that helps you not only manage, but accelerate your closeout process to deliver projects. Now, not only ahead of schedule, but under budget, uh, where all parties are happy now, jumping into really the meat of the discussion today, we really wanted to start with an understanding of, of what’s reality today. And what does a poor close out situation actually look like? Because it is something that I’m sure we have all probably been through, um, something that has affected all of us at our projects, whether that is just interruption of cashflow or getting payments to them late, um, then also, you know, the ever looming situation of litigation. And so what else is best year than period for the people that are actually running these projects day in and day out. So, uh, kind of going around the room, we’ll start with Jennifer, you know, just some insight on maybe a situation that, you know, we can use to import people on, on what a bad close out can actually mean.
Jonny Finity: (07:20)
Well, for us about close out would be, you know, not having all the information that we would need to have to get the warranties done for the customer and all of their paperwork that they require as well as the substantial completion dates that they need for the paperwork. If we don’t have all that information upfront, it’s a bad close out. We’re not going to be able to get them what they need so that they can get paid by their customer so that in the end we can get paid.
Satyam Verma: (07:48)
And that kind of drives home on a concept that we like to talk about a lot is the fact that close out starts really on day one, right? It close out is not something that, that you start when you’re supposed to be closing out, because as you were talking about making sure you have the right information, understanding what you need to submit and how you need to be submitted, you needs to be well-prepared to do that. And that comes with there’s having processes and communication in place. Um, Heidi coming from the GC side, any insight from you,
Jonny Finity: (08:16)
Definitely a substantial completion date is a really important aspect and very similar to what Jennifer said. We, we put our best practices in place so we can send our subcontractors all of the information upfront. We want to give them all the substantial completion date what’s required. Um, and when we need that required information, from what turns into a poor close out is if we are not receiving the data back from our subcontractors in a timely manner, we really take our pride in, in sending all that information ahead of time letting them know and communicate. Um, so we can ensure that we have a good relationship working with new subcontractors and existing subcontractors. Yeah, I think it’s for we’ve
Satyam Verma: (08:56)
Hit on those two points of having clear cut understanding of what’s required and communication. Jenny kind of being probably in that situation multiple times. And how important is that unity and communication between all parties involved?
Speaker 4: (09:09)
Well, in our particular case, there’s a lot of standardization around what is required to close out and we’re well equipped to handle that. You know, we have that, so that as soon as the substantial completion date has been communicated, you can generate those documents and get that back quickly. Um, what is what results in delays and a poor closeout is when, um, owners or contractors don’t let us know of special things, whether it’s, you know, wording and a guarantee or different, uh, types of documents that, that they need to see that can really drag things out because that requires special processing. And then, um, so, you know, adherents to, uh, industry standard is important. And if it’s not knowing that, you know, as part of the contract, when it, when the contract gets signed,
Satyam Verma: (10:09)
Of course, then it seems like the fact that you have those strong, let’s say controls in place or standards is allowing you to probably ask the right questions when you are getting ready to put a plan together to deliver that project by spending the time and having those controls and that structure, you have insight into a, if I don’t have the certain information, let me make, let me go and ask for it. And so opening those lines of communication ahead of time. Whereas if you do that eight months into the project, more than like the, you know, you have to, there’s an RFI go and there’s there’s change orders. There there’s a blame game really is what it’s going to come down to because we didn’t just have a discussion upfront. Um, and, and it can be really highly impactful. And, and those kinds of points pretty much helps us define what a good close out is.
Satyam Verma: (10:54)
And then it comes down to some fairly simple things, right? Open and clear communication. And then, you know, unity understanding that everybody, all the partners on a project share risk and in one aspect or another. And so communication is something that can really help everybody win. Uh, so a question that I’m going to throw out there, and we have a couple of different viewpoints here. What are some of the examples? And then you touched on this Jenny of the types of structured you’d put in place of example, processes your company has implemented and, and really maybe being a little bit more explicit or prescriptive, uh, to target one point that has really benefited you guys. And let’s start with Jen.
Speaker 4: (11:33)
Well, one of the things that that we’ve done is when, you know, part of what we do is we generate drawings of, of what our canopies will look like. And they are, you know, they’re stamped by our engineers and signed. And as soon as we get those drawings back, we send them on to be approved as soon as to be approved by the owner. As soon as we get approval by the owner, it goes to someone and they start preparing it for the as-built. So that as soon as that project is over, we can make sure that everything is as it was built and then get that closed out and ready to go. And that’s a big part of what we provide. And so having it done that way, um, and being able to set that up so that it’s easily convertible into the as-built has been, um, has been very
Satyam Verma: (12:28)
Now, sorry, go ahead.
Speaker 4: (12:31)
I’m just going to say, and then also, um, you know, as we finished up a job, making sure to do sort of an unofficial walkthrough with the superintendent to make sure that, you know, they don’t see anything that we, you know, anything obvious that we need to be working on, because we would like to, um, correct anything that needs to be corrected while we’re there and not have to come back later, that just draws things out. So those are things that we do to try and speed up completion.
Satyam Verma: (13:05)
Can you see that impact? That’s maybe the types of products you go after the owners you work with because, you know, we’ve seen not, not all owners are willing to maybe put in that time and effort ahead of time to make sure that, Hey, are we on the right page? Does it make it, does that mean you’re more selective in who you want to work with?
Speaker 4: (13:22)
Well, we definitely like to work for the same owners over and over because we know where, you know, what their particular they’re okay with. Um, we really like to see the same owners. If we do have a new owner, we try to really make sure that we communicate early on with the GC, you know, is there anything, you know, out of the way that we need to know about this, we also try to find out is this going to be, um, is the tenant going to occupy it as soon as we’re finished? Or are they, is it gonna sit until they can finally find someone find a tenant, um, that can also determine how quickly things get wrapped up as well,
Satyam Verma: (14:11)
Of course. And in your position that, that means, you know, you have to have clear lines of communication with your contractors, as well as, you know, in other cases with the owner. So there’s a lot of complexities, you know, Heidi, you know, being chroma, GC, working directly with owners. I mean, what is your approach on, on maybe a couple of processes or practices that you guys have seen be successful?
Jonny Finity: (14:32)
Definitely. So with our owners, we really try to also maintain that same working relationship with repeat clients. We want to continue building those relations, not only with owners, but with subcontractors. We have a couple of repeat clients that we use on quite a few projects that have set those standards ahead of time at the very beginning of every, we know what they require, what they want. And we want to be able to provide that to them in a very quick fashion as well. For those particular projects, we also work with a lot of those same comfortable, confident subcontractors. So when we’re sending out our clear expectations of this is exactly the document takes us a minute. We need, maybe we need it in this particular platform. Um, and we also need it by this due date. We’re really trying to put in best practices across the entire enterprise, whether it’s for a new client or an existing client that we set those expectations with our subcontractors. So we can also communicate that efficiently with our owners. Um, there’s quite a few owners that like their turnaround time for closeout packages within 30 days from that substantial completion date. Um, so again, really focusing on starting close outs early on in the process is really going to streamline this for everybody. And at the end of the day, we’re going to maintain our longstanding relationship with that owner and our subcontractors. So it’s really important to maintain both of those,
Satyam Verma: (15:53)
Of course. And once you, once again, reiterate the point that a lot of this talk that we have about having a successful closeout starts with a lot of things that happen right at the beginning of the project. Once again, those making sure you’re having those meetings and everybody’s involved, um, Jennifer, you, ed, you had this, uh, one that I thought was great for forewarned is forearmed. Um, and we’d love to kind of have you break that down for the audience.
Jonny Finity: (16:19)
Um, pretty much just knowing ahead of time, what is expected. Yeah. It just, we need to know ahead of time what you as the customer is looking for. Um, as far as our warranties go, and when do you need all this stuff by get in, what is the substantial completion date? Those are all the things that are very important for our side of the business, so that we can get everything out as quickly as possible to the customer and they can get it taken care of for their customer.
Satyam Verma: (16:53)
Definitely. I think this kind of builds into Johnny’s next question, actually. Yeah. I mean, all three of you, you talked so much about substantial completion and I have a few questions about that, but before we do, I just wanted to share the poll results, um, because it, it mirrors exactly what we’ve been talking about. You know, the, um, you know, 70, almost 75% of you said, you know, you have at least positive relationships with your GC or subcontractor partners. Um, but when the relationships are tense, you know, the main contributing factor is poor communication. Um, you know, over half of you said that and that that’s, you know, it goes back to what toxin has been saying. You know, it starts a good close out process starts at the very beginning of the project. Like the first communication that you have with the owner, with the GC, with your subcontractors is going to set the table for how well that close out goes at the end. Um, we did have another, another poll, um, related to that first, uh, the first set of questions, um, that we’ve been talking about. Um, let’s see.
Satyam Verma: (18:05)
I’m not sure how to bring that up. Okay. Poll two. Let’s see. Um, so this is about where, where do you think your company can grow the most? So I’ll just leave it open. Um, and, and as I said, you all three of you have talked about the importance of substantial completion date. Um, you know, at level-set, we’re, we’re concerned with getting people paid and that substantial completion date is, is so important. That’s that sets the clock ticking for when that payment is going to, you know, come through the door and get cleared at the bank. And I’m curious for Heidi, you know, one of the challenges that we hear all the time from subcontractors is the challenge of defining substantial completion clearly, and actually communicating that date. Uh, I imagine it’s a big challenge for you to communicate that date, you know, clearly in advance to all of the subcontractors to set their priorities are set, you know, set their expectations of when they’re going to get that final payment and retain it. So how do you approach that? Okay,
Jonny Finity: (19:06)
Definitely. So defining the substantial completion date, what we see in our eyes is the date that we can occupy the space, the date that our owners can occupy the space in what Jenny was mentioning before, is, is it going to be a free space where they can get a new tenant in, or is it going to be a space for that owner particular client to, for third group to sit in on no matter which option it is, it’s still really important that we can define that same standard, um, couple of issues that come into play with those substantial completion dates. For instance, maybe COVID happens, maybe you don’t pass an inspection and it’s continuously to push those completion steps as a substantial completion dates. Um, what’s really important for us is that our internal team continues to communicate that not only to the owners, but to the subcontractors as well.
Jonny Finity: (19:54)
The last thing we want to do is send out that communication to our subcontractors, requesting the information, um, and then saying, okay, well, sorry, there’s been an error. Uh, we have a new date and then another new date and another due date. So to avoid frustration across the board, there’s a lot of communication that’s required from our internal division to then talk with subcontractors, letting them know that we’re keeping them in the loop and same thing with the owners. We want to make sure that we have those tough conversations, if they need to be tough. Um, I had a time and trying to streamline all of those processes.
Satyam Verma: (20:27)
Yeah. I like what you’re saying about, you know, having those tough conversations, you know, there’s so many times when you have to have it, you don’t want to, but it’s so necessary to keeping that close out process moving. Um, and, and Jenny, you know, how, how do you approach the conversation about substantial completion and, and setting that expectation of when you’re going to get paid?
Speaker 4: (20:49)
Well, substantial completion is important from, for us for a couple of reasons, not only because, um, of when we might get paid, but, you know, that’s when we need to be finished and out of their mind, because given the nature of our, um, uh, work is that we’re usually one of the various last ones onsite. And, um, so, you know, we’re constantly with the project manager, um, toward the end, we’re constantly back and forth of he’s wrapping up. He or she is wrapping up with, when do you think you’ll be done? Uh, you know, when are you planning on wrapping this up? And so for us, it is it’s, it’s an ongoing thing as we’re getting towards the end of the project.
Satyam Verma: (21:41)
Well, and that, um, brings up another question for Heidi, from me. It’s like, you know, there, there are people like Jenny and shade systems that are in, at the very end of the project that, you know, they’re the last of the leave before substantial completion. And then there’s, you have other, you know, maybe, uh, like an excavation company that that’s, that hasn’t been on the job site for, for eight or 10 months, uh, you know, following up with those companies as well. Like, there’s, it’s just a big job communicating around substantial completion.
Jonny Finity: (22:12)
It absolutely is. I mean, it’s, it’s always about being proactive with the approach. Um, we want to be as open, as honest as we can. We want to continue maintaining those relationships. If for any reason that we have a delay in the schedule, it should automatically be considered a worthy conversation with all parties involved at any point in time. Um, it’s really important for us to maintain those working relationships with our subs and our owners, because we don’t want to be considered a defined as a foreclose out or a company that can’t close out, can’t pay our subs and then withhold retention. And that really just leads us down the path of really poor relationships and a financial integrity. And, and we really do not want to go down that path at all with any of our subs and or our owners.
Satyam Verma: (23:00)
Yeah, absolutely. Uh, Jennifer of what are your thoughts on, um, uh, your experience with, with substantial completion? Has that been an issue for your company and can the close out process,
Jonny Finity: (23:11)
Uh, other than the communication of when it is, if it keeps being changed, but other than that, no, when it comes to payment, though, I do use that as, as my, uh, I guess you’d save leverage on, I expect to get paid by X date, you know, so we know to be looking for that retainage payment.
Satyam Verma: (23:33)
And so we all know that there are repercussions to missing substantial completion dates and what those outcomes mean. And very clearly by the conversations we’ve been having today, communication is really probably the number one factor that can lead to us, not find, not finding ourselves in those situations. Um, but what what’s real, what really can be done, you know, and, and I think it’s pretty clear that a lot of times, a lot of that risk in those situations, as you said, when, you know, there’s partners that haven’t been onsite for eight, 10 months, but they’re still waiting to get that rotated 20. That was Kat for a substantial completion date. That’s still probably another six months away, the impact that can have on companies. And first understanding that risk as a partner, as a trade partner, as a general contractor, as an owner. Um, but let’s talk about what can actually be done and, and let’s start with kind of the trade partner point of view and, and kind of what happened. I know there’s a couple of stories that, that we talked about, um, you know, about the impact of, of missing these things. So, um, let’s just start with kind of that some of those bleak examples. I know Jenny has a pretty interesting story about that.
Speaker 4: (24:45)
So, you know, we found one of the reasons we started paying a lot of attention to, you know, the payment processes early on last is actually a couple of years ago, we had been doing business with the company and it was a third-generation company. We’ve been doing business with them for several years in Florida. And we had just completed a fairly large project for them. And, um, you know, substantial completion date, we’d sent all of the closeout documents in and, you know, we start waiting and waiting and waiting and all of a sudden we hear that they’re completely insolvent and that they’ve just closed their doors and, um, you know, our fault for not having better lines of communication throughout the end of the project that we didn’t know, Hey, something’s going on. Um, and we didn’t have a process for early on, you know, protecting our rights and protecting our payables. And that’s kind of why we started putting this whole process together of, um, putting, you know, all of our payables through this process and, um, and making sure that we, you know, keep those lines of communication open and, and, and adhere to that process.
Satyam Verma: (26:11)
A lot of people sometimes do need that let’s say compelling event to, um, put those processes in place. And clearly you guys did that, and now I’m sure you’re seeing the fruit, or at least the de-risking, or maybe just having more, um, confidence in the work that you’re doing and, and the outcomes that it’s gonna provide.
Speaker 4: (26:31)
I did. And, you know, when, when that happened, we ended up having to open up lines of communications with the owner, you know, which typically we don’t talk a lot the owners, but we, we ended up having to go straight to the owners and, you know, working out, you know, how can we all come out of this, you know, with our, you know, with our hides. So, um, you know, but we had to, because, you know, we weren’t really communicating with the GC as much as we needed to, you know, it ended up going poorly and, you know, we had to, we had to start communicating directly with the owner, which thank goodness they were a very reputable company and, and we were all able to kind of walk away from it, uh, somewhat skates, but completely intact. So, um, it worked out, but it could not have, you know, it could have been,
Satyam Verma: (27:32)
I mean, there’s plenty of cases where it does. So, um, Jennifer, what are some things that you guys have deliberately done now to, to improve knowing that the communication is really the key aspect of what we’re talking about?
Jennifer Story: (27:47)
Well, um, we have gotten the level-set program, which really helps with our communication. Uh, every time we get a job, we input that information in there, have it set up for payment reminders and, you know, if anything had to go to the next step, I know that it would remind me, but I think the communications actually improved a lot with my customers with that, you know, um,
Satyam Verma: (28:13)
Because you don’t have to focus on sometimes your communication, isn’t only, Hey, here’s my reminder to you. I’m reaching out to you about money, that’s happening through level-set and you can focus on having a real relationship. Like, Hey, let’s talk, let’s not talk about money on top of that. Like that those are the best scenario. Let’s have a conversation that doesn’t involve money, that we can actually talk
Jennifer Story: (28:35)
Exactly. And it’s helped a lot.
Satyam Verma: (28:39)
And, you know, there’s plenty of owners, just another quick example, right? Of, of just as a compelling event. And I’m sure people have seen this, but you know, something that really is really impactful understanding the impact of missing the substantial completion date. We’ve seen, you know, what the unclear lines of communication can cause when, you know, talking about money and then the aspect of that retainers, but there’s plenty of penalties that are caused as well. Um, coming from the GC point of view, because as I mentioned, you know, in the industry today, it does fall a lot on trade partners to really be the proactive. One of managing up their relationship with GCs because GCs F 45 different trade partner relationships to manage under one project. Um, subs also have a lot of different relationships when it comes to that project or one’s focus to that GC, but what are, what are, what are we seeing GCs do to be proactive about clearing those lines of communication? Because as I said, everyone holds risks. We all provide better and know what’s going on. There should be better outcomes. What are you guys doing?
Jonny Finity: (29:42)
Absolutely. It’s it really stems from the fact of managing expectations. So with that communication where we’re able to ask the owners the right question, so really trying to stay proactive in the approach of client delivery dates, determine why maybe we had a permit delay or a certain delay that was early on in the project. Um, maybe it was a product that we had bought, but it was also delayed. So it’s, it’s really trying to get to the central source of truth of why that issue happened. And then ultimately the managing the expectations of understanding the owner’s true pain points is their schedule impact the true pain point, or is it a cost impact? And really, depending on all of those factors there, I mean, it could be both really, or it could be really one over the other, um, schedule being a really hot commodity. If that means that we need to push something faster or we know we need to go and order something new and cost is not a concern, but that schedule really is. We’re going to take that approach with them and really try and manage that as well as we can. The last thing we want to do is go over on our substantial completion. We do not want to be charged additional fees at the end of the day. Um, it’s really just having those conversations and just continuing that on
Satyam Verma: (31:00)
There’s one thing I’ve learned you three are the ideal trade partners in GCs to be working with in any situation that’s proactive and kind of deliberate as you’re being with, you know, understanding how to deliver a successful product. Um, with that, where we’re right on the end of the 30 minutes, we want to jump into a couple of questions that I received from the audience and, um, want to open it up to anybody else who does have any questions, uh, but we’ll start with one from Evan. So some of these closeout duties, submittals are not always listed up front in the specs. Usually a GC is not going to bring up on listed, close out documents, and then an owner will request it near substantial completion. What’s your best practice to handle this as another layer, these can be substansive added costs beyond original expectations. How can we better address these items without breaking the budget for the overall project? Um, I have a quick notebook, but anybody there want to want to feel that I think this is probably coming from a trade partner perspective. So,
Jonny Finity: (31:59)
I mean, for us, um, which we get those from time to time where, uh, they may require a longer warranty that wasn’t, you know, in the specs and upfront, we didn’t know about that, which does incur cost. I mean, we do our best to do our digging, to make sure that there was nothing. And if there wasn’t trying to go back to the owner or to the GC and say, Hey, I’ve got to, I’ve got this additional cost. It’s going to cost you as well. Um, and, and that’s the best way that we can do it. You know, when there’s not that information up front, there’s not much we can do about it,
Satyam Verma: (32:41)
Go with it and get it handled as best as we can with the customer. Yeah. Um, I mean, I think there’s, as, there’s not much you can do, I’ve seen other people have perspectives where they’re just have a standard, right at the beginning, we’ll say, Hey, GC, let’s have an understanding because we’re going to do a review of what the expected, if there is something like this is, will be a standard that we follow, but this is also where, you know, I, I will shamelessly plug pipe because that’s literally what we do. Um, we give everybody the ability to automatically read the specs for what they really are. So as a partner, as a GC, you can upload all the different versions of specs that you get and do a side-by-side comparison. So, you know, that you bid on a 60% CD set putt. We are, we’re all delivering on that final issue for construction. You can do a comparison to the matter of seconds and actually have those conversations up front. And so that’s the power of what, you know, AI is bringing to the table as well as we talked about level-set earlier. Um, let’s see if there’s any other questions that we have coming in.
Satyam Verma: (33:48)
I see one there. So there was one quick about just how lean slow down retainage, which slows down payments. Um, I know this was a discussion that we wanted to talk about. Uh, let’s actually get into this one last question from, um, Kevin, how big of an impact have the cost of materials had on projects since COVID and how do you address them? Have you seen an impact in the costs you guys have been seeing? I haven’t,
Speaker 4: (34:23)
We definitely have, um, some of the, most of what we use is aluminum, but, um, with the pipe company, what we use is steel and it’s been a roller coaster. Um, especially now not only are prices high, but supply is tight. And so we’re really having to try and set expectations when our customers place, the orders of there may be a longer lead time on this because, you know, cases, we can’t even get all the steel that we want. So we’re having to really manage that. Um, we’re making, you know, our quotes valid for shorter periods of time and with the caveat that we hope that this is only a temporary, um, situation, that we will be able to return to normal operations soon. So we’ve really had to communicate a lot with our customers about where the market is and, um, what we’re doing to try and mitigate that.
Satyam Verma: (35:27)
Yeah, I think in the environment that we’re in, I think just that straightforward and people have to know where you’re at and understanding what the situation is. Um, but going back to the simple fact of communication, I think a impactful question that a lot of people would benefit from that came in from Kelly is can you speak to how you standardize the closeout process? What does that look like? What are some of the crucial steps or documents? And, you know, that’s a pretty loaded question, but I think, you know, what a lot of people show it with is just maybe a good place to start. And I know all three of you have went through this process of, uh, you know, implementing these processes in your company. So what would be your advice on how to at least get started?
Jonny Finity: (36:09)
Definitely. So it’s really understanding what the, what type of project it is first, and then maybe it’s an interior build out. Maybe it’s an entertainment build out, depending on the magnitude of the project is really going to determine what type of close outs you need. Um, understanding from the owner perspective as well. Maybe you’re building in a space that has, um, they’re renting a space. Maybe there are tenants in the building and working with that property manager to understand what they need maybe for their tax purposes, maybe for their own buildings, their own records. So starting with, with that platform on that type of build out, you may be able to get some insight from them, understanding. Um, you can also build off of that information. We’ve have a couple of projects where internally some of the owners specifically need as builts from all of our MVPs, and that’s a fairly standard, uh, standard you see across the board here, um, or maybe specifically you want a product data or a cleaning, uh, recommendation.
Jonny Finity: (37:10)
Um, it’s really going to be dependent on the product there as well. But what I encourage the teams to do at the very beginning is to really walk through the specs books. If you guys have it, walk through your drawings, walk and talk with the owner, especially if it’s a young, new relationship and truly understand what’s important, what’s valuable to them. Do they want to know all this information at the end of the day? How involved are they with the project throughout the duration? Did they hire a designer to do this for them to manage it for them? And it’s really just asking all of those questions ahead of schedule. Maybe even before, um, in contract negotiations, you can ask your partners to get involved at that point to really recognize what are the minimum requirements of documentation that they need. And then if the general contractor has that data, we can then take that same approach with our subcontractors. And as we’re drafting subcontract agreements, we can make sure that we’re adding that in the scope of work details. And that really sets the communication well ahead of the schedule before close out.
Satyam Verma: (38:12)
So it’s really like, you know, kind of like creating a rubric of what you want to see in the information you need to be successful and then building out processes for that. Um, Jennifer, Jenny want to add anything on to that?
Jonny Finity: (38:25)
I mean, I know for us, we have the standard, as far as, you know, the cleaning that maintenance on our materials, we know we’re going to have to get a glass. We know sealant
Jennifer Story: (38:36)
There, there’s certain things that for us are very standard, but there are little things that’ll come up. Like maybe it’s a lead project and that’s going to require further documentation or, you know, something where they might throw something special in there about the way they want it boarded or where they want to see the name of the project. Just little things like that. Those are things that would be helpful to have at the beginning and not at the end. But aside from that, I would say that our normal is the as-builts all our warranty, information, cleaning instructions and our own company warranty. We know that those things need to be handed over to the customer, as well as our final, you know, walk through what the customer said to make sure that everything’s been done to their liking ours is pretty much,
Satyam Verma: (39:24)
Yeah. I think a big point here is it has to be delivered, right? Um, it’s not going to be like throw in one piece of structure at one time on the front end and then maybe have a meeting on the backend and hope it turns out, right? You need to bring to literally bring together your teams internally across your departments, understand what their needs are and create that rubric of, Hey, this is what we need to be efficient. This is what we need to be effective. And this is what we need to hit our bottom lines and you bring all that stuff together. So, um, it really is a deliberate process that that does take time. And, and, you know, as I said, there’s compelling events, that’ll force you to do it. Um, or, you know, especially with the environment that we’re in now and who knows what will come out on the other side, right? This is a great time to begin to implement some of those processes, uh, before you, you have to see what the other side looks like. Um, but with that, we’re at two 40. Now we’re going to wrap things up really appreciate everybody’s time joining us today. And, and all of those that have attended. Um, there were a couple of questions that we didn’t get to, that we will follow up with afterwards, as well as the recording of the webinar of a once again. Thank you all for joining us today.
Jennifer Story: (40:33)
Thank you for having us. Thank you.
Satyam Verma: (40:37)
If you guys do, if anyone was still on the line, does have questions, um, feel free to email any of us that were on the call today. Awesome. Thanks everybody.