Constructing or Conducting?
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Recently, I tuned into PBS to watch an episode of Impossible Builds about One Thousand Museum—a project also coined the “Scorpion Tower”. Not only did the Pritzker Prize winning Architect Zaha Hadid pass away during the construction, the job had numerous other challenges along the way including Hurricane Irma that hit Miami in September of 2017.

The foundation for One Thousand Museum required digging record depths of over 170 feet. For those of you not in Florida—we don’t even dig basements in our houses due to the structural and dewatering issues that accompany peninsula land.

The building will be successfully finished this year and it currently stands as one of the tallest building in Miami. Soon, when fully occupied, the Scorpion Tower will be home to eighty-three affluent buyers who paid for the remarkable design and incredible views.

The episode condenses the three-year build into 55 minutes and highlights just how challenging the project was. The reality is the show only scratches the surface of all the challenges faced and the innovative resolutions this incredible management team implemented over the years to get the 63- story tower built.

What makes a construction management professional qualified to get the opportunity to lead or be part of the leadership team on a significant project?

No matter what size project you are managing, if you are part of the project team your communication skills and ability to successfully get the project built rely heavily on maintaining relationships with everyone involved. The higher up you are on the organizational chart the more this holds true.

Maintaining positive relationships with everyone involved on a project includes the Owner, the Owner’s Representatives, the Architectural / Engineering / Design associates, and city officials along with your own company’s associates both office and site based. Additionally, you want to also maintain positive relationships with the subcontractors, suppliers, and OSHA. In some verticals, like healthcare, departmental managers and additional governing agencies may apply like AHCA and ICRA. I am sure the team on One Thousand Museum had many interactions with the FAA just to get the 705-foot tower approved.

Maintaining relationships with other team members from your own company and the many sub-contractors and suppliers on a project aid to the many relational challenges. To keep a project going, occasionally you need to be able to run with someone’s word on a situation and be able to decipher right from wrong quickly between two opposing opinions.

The people working on a project need to be kept motivated and encouraged. Sometimes just the wrong food truck on the jobsite or a broken buck hoist slowing the job down can demotivate the tradesman that are so crucial to keeping the project moving on schedule.

Bank inspectors and city inspectors mixed with the already long list of people involved in a project’s success make the construction manager’s job seem more like that of a diplomat. Truth be told it is a combination of a strategist, counselor and mathematician. The more complex the project is the more calculating, budgeting, logistics, and analysis is required in addition to a good bedside manner. Like a conductor leads an orchestra of many different people and instruments to play a song, you as a Construction Manager are leading your own orchestra of all the players and equipment involved in your project.

The best companies and the best management teams—whether specializing in build-out work, general ground-up work or mega construction projects—know it is about serving others. The top managers can get all parties the answers they need while being able to complete the work assigned to them in a timely manner. No finger pointing and no excuses. One weak link on a construction team is like playing Jenga. Eventually the weak link causes the project to be behind schedule, over budget, or missing quality which misses the goal.

You are invited to join us in our coaching center to watch The Scorpion Tower episode of Impossible Builds and connect with myself, our career matchmaking team, and others who love our industry.

Your ability to communicate effectively with others has become the number one skill to take you to the top of your career. Building skill can be taught with aptitude. Your attitude, especially towards others, is a choice you make. Your words and actions reflect that attitude to provide for others or divide others.

We hope you will join us on our November 8th showing of Impossible Build—The Scorpion Tower.

If you are unable to join us you can find the Impossible Build series on PBS.

Here’s a sample of the type of references you get when you are good at conducting your construction project.

“Tracy excels working in a team environment and really knows how to set up a project from the beginning. Tracy’s strengths include leadership abilities, communication and organizational skills and a solid grasp of Lean Construction techniques. He/She is professional with everyone involved in the project and respected by those involved at all levels.”

May your constructing be conducted for success! We hope to see you November 8th.

Suzanne Breistol on behalf of the FLCC Team!

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