How to Control Costs During Construction

how to control costs during construction - commercial construction company

how to control costs during construction - commercial construction companyConstruction project costs can quickly spiral out of control if deliberate measures aren’t set in place. At Headwaters Construction, Inc., we pride ourselves in being able to deliver, on a consistent basis, completed projects that are within budget regardless of the fluidity associated with commercial construction projects. Here are some of the concepts that guide and help us to control costs during construction.

Budget Forecasting

It can be daunting to forecast a construction budget correctly, but this activity is an important one if a commercial construction company is to remain profitable. A budget forecast not only controls the overall costs but also protects the profits of the tilt-up construction company.

At Headwaters Construction Inc., we are always very transparent with our clients.

Project Scope Definition

Another concept that has served us in good stead over the years is a retail renovation or commercial construction scope definition. We never get started on any project before we have clearly mapped out the specific deliverables agreed upon with the client.

That notwithstanding, we are cognizant of the fact that project scopes aren’t static, so we are always ready to adjust as and when the need arises during the execution of a given project. The cost implications of any scope changes are carefully weighed and integrated into the budget forecast, as well as all our other cost management mechanisms.

Being Specific

We have mastered the art of being specific in everything that we do, such as when talking to employees at a job site, when renting equipment, when assigning projects, and any other construction-related activity.

We are well aware that when we are specific, we go a long way in saving money and time because no one will second-guess what is expected or required. For example, when we need to rent a piece of equipment (a heavy-duty crane, for example) during a tilt-up construction project, we first forecast how much time will be required for that equipment to perform the needed work. Thereafter, we rent the equipment for that duration for which we need it and no more. In this way, we keep our costs minimal since no equipment that was rented will sit idle just because we paid for it, and it isn’t yet time to return it.

Forecasting Resource Usage

When you are specific about what needs to be done, you make it a little easier to forecast how you will be using the resources available to you during the commercial construction project.

Forecasting resource usage may not always be as accurate as we would like it to be, but the effort helps to keep a handle on various costs that can easily spiral out of hand.

Keeping Accurate Records

If it hasn’t been captured in writing, it doesn’t exist. At Headwaters Construction, we are sticklers for record-keeping and make sure that we are as accurate as possible when documenting everything connected to a commercial construction or renovation project.

We use project management software that takes charge of everything from equipment tracking, punch lists, pricing, and submittal tracking, and everything in-between. 

By keeping those five concepts in mind, we get off to a good start on every project that we undertake, and by putting those concepts into practice, we make it possible to keep project costs manageable from start to finish. If you are tired of commercial builders who can’t seem to keep costs in check, get in touch with Headwaters Construction, Inc. You will experience for yourself how high-quality commercial construction can be completed without overshooting the available budget.

Tips for Construction Succession Planning

tips for construction succession

tips for construction successionOne shortcoming that many smaller construction companies have is that they rarely think about succession planning as a management function. Such companies end up handling issues of succession in an ad hoc way by just hiring or promoting anyone that they think will fit the roles available. This can be a recipe for disaster, especially given how sensitive construction work is. Rather than take a reactive approach to succession, Headwaters Construction, Inc., a commercial construction company, suggests that you systemize succession by considering the following factors.

Keep Your Eye on Job Requirements Rather Than Personalities

Succession isn’t about replacing someone who has died, retired, or quit. It is about finding someone that can perform the job available to the highest standard possible. For this reason, commercial construction companies should devote time and effort to writing down a detailed job description outlining what exactly they’re looking for.

As you write those job descriptions, be reasonable, and avoid expecting too much from a given role or employee. If you demand too much, it will be hard for you to find someone that succeeds in that role. It is, therefore, better for you to stick to just the tasks logically expected from someone holding a given position.

For example, tilt-up contractors may be going overboard if they expect project managers to be able to fill the role of every position, i.e. operating construction equipment. The best HVAC company in Sacramento, Gilmore Heating, Air, and Solar, are another great example of a company that has an outstanding team.

Match Current Staff to Your Future Needs

You can also make succession planning at your retail renovation company or any other commercial construction company, more systematic by assessing your staff and matching each of them to one or more roles that could need filling in the future.

As you perform this matching exercise, keep in mind the skills, aptitudes, and preferences of your existing employees so that you can help them to grow into the positions that will need to be filled in the future. It is helpful to interact with your staff and learn what their career goals and aspirations are so that you can help them to grow in the direction that suits both their preferences and those of the tilt-up construction company.

Train and Avail Opportunities for Hands-On Experience

Once you have matched your current staff to your future needs, the next step is to train those employees and create opportunities for them to get hands-on experience in performing the roles for which you are preparing them.

A good starting point is by outlining the knowledge and skills that each employee needs to possess to excel at the role you wish to prepare them for.

Secondly, Headwaters Construction, Inc., the best commercial builder in Northern California, suggests that you give that person the credentials that they need to access software and information related to the role.

When you give the employee access to the tools required to perform a given role, and you train them, the transition from the employee who is retiring or is no longer available for any other reason will be seamless.

Design a Staffing and Retention Plan

A staffing plan outlines the different positions that you have as a commercial builder, together with a detailed description of each job. This plan lets you know your staffing needs so you can hire accordingly. 

The staffing plan needs to paint a picture of when each employee is expected to grow into another position. For example, moving from an entry-level role to a management role. 

Once you know what external hires you need to make, get to work filling those positions as and when resources become available.

If there is an urgent need to fill a role, but resources aren’t available to hire someone, make do with the staff you currently have. You simply pick an employee in a similar role and ask them to take on the role available while you wait to hire someone substantive for the position. For example, your project superintendent could act as a project manager until you can fill the role. 

As you can see, the measures above will make succession planning a logical and systematic process at your commercial construction company. At Headwaters Construction, Inc., our management systems have nailed succession planning, and we deliver the same high-quality work regardless of which specific employees are handling a given project. If you are planning a commercial construction,  retail renovation, or general contracting project in Northern California, get in touch with us today so that we can discuss your needs and plan the most cost-effective way to execute the project.

Using Coaching to Train Your Employees

using coaching to train your employees

using coaching to train your employeesYour employees can make or break your business. Many companies around the globe spend a lot of time and money making sure that they have the best employees in the market to ensure that they meet the company’s objectives and satisfy customers. 

You too can make sure that your employees advance your company objectives. You can also help current employees assume bogger roles within the company thus helping both you and the business to grow. 

Through coaching, you can improve employee performance and maximize success. How can you use coaching to develop your clients and increase their value in your business? Below are steps you need to take to successfully coach your employees into contributing members of your organization.

List Down your Desired Outcomes 

What exactly do you hope your employees will be able to do once coaching is done? 

You can borrow from your company’s employee job description and coach them to meet the needs of that particular job. Having a list of desired outcomes makes it easy to streamline coaching and save time. 

Use New Projects 

If you are planning to train your employees on handling a particular project, start with a new one. A new project guarantees that the employee will not encounter issues left behind by someone else. If you have to start with an ongoing project, make sure that the employee fully understands what is needed of them and be there to guide them. 

Have a Scheduled coaching timeline

Effective coaching is an intense process that requires both the coach and the trainee to be in attendance. Initially, the coach should be there to guide the employee for half of the day. This coaching time will reduce gradually as the employee gains confidence and learns what is required of them. The coach can use the watch and learn method where they do all the work as the employee watches before slowly relegating tasks to them. 

Task relegation 

With time, your employees will continue to learn how to perform tasks and gain confidence. Slowly relegate tasks to them and ensure that they can complete each task successfully. This ensures that the employees can handle everything. It also reduces training time. 

Review and Adapt

As the employee gains experience, you will review their ability to handle tasks, suggest changes and reinforce positive traits. It is also important to listen to your employee’s ideas and determine whether they can be adapted into the role. When listening to your employee’s ideas, take the time to listen and help them understand why some of their ideas may not work instead of just shutting them down. Gilmore Heating, Air, and Solar, the best HVAC company in Placerville, is a great example of a company who is always evolving and adapting.

End the Coaching Session

This happens once you notice that the employee is fully trained and confident enough to handle everything without supervision. In most companies, the end of this coaching period is marked with some sort of ceremony. From here on the employee can take up normal roles in the company and proceed with normal working processes. 

Coaching your employees to perform tasks in your community takes time and effort. However, taking this time to develop your employees through a proactive coaching process will guarantee their ability to meet the company’s objectives and meet your targets. 


How Strip Mall Renovation Boosts Profitability

strip mall renovations

strip mall renovationsStrip malls have been a common sight in the US for decades. Their invention allowed the localization of different services in a way that is convenient for customers. However, as years go by, strip malls are starting to face intense competition from other more convenient alternatives. Such alternatives are yet to usher the end of strip malls though. As a strip mall owner, you still have a lot more profit to make depending on how well you run your business. You can decide to make your mall pop through renovations which will, in turn, boost profit. 

Here are a few ways in which your decision to renovate your strip mall can make it more profitable. 


Roof designs have revolved to include different designs that might work for your strip mall. Your roof is one of the first things customers will notice about your strip mall. Therefore, tearing down an old roof and adding a new and modern one can change the face of the entire building. It helps add more character to the strip mall without necessarily taking up more space. Talk to a commercial builder to help you pick the best roofing plan for a new look for your building. 

Wall Improvement 

The good thing about renovating your walls is that you don’t even have to tear them down. In retail renovation, the simple act of cleaning up your walls and getting rid of stains such as graffiti will make the building look new. Apply a fresh coat of paint to get rid of the discoloration and you will have given new life to your strip mall. Additionally, you can decide to add art pieces on the inside to make the walls livelier and attract more customers. Get a commercial renovation contractor to help you find ways to make your walls more appealing. 


Landscaping used to be a luxury item for most strip malls owners. However, it has now grown into a necessity with more strip malls spotting elaborate landscape patterns across the country. Landscaping serves two purposes, it attracts more people and shows your environmental awareness. 


Most strip malls are currently used by fitness retailers, financial services firms and insurance firms. These are businesses that utilize plenty of lighting to advertise their services. Make sure that your strip mall is adequately lit on both the inside and the outside. This includes any signage that alerts people of the services within the business center. Proper lighting helps improve the aesthetic value of your business. It also makes it easy and safer for business owners to run 24-hour joints. 

Walkways and Canopies 

Consider building walkways and canopies that allow people to access the shopping center regardless of the weather conditions. A canopy extending from the parking lot to the center will help people visit the strip mall when it is raining, for example. This not only ensures that there is an even stream of traffic throughout the year it also gives you more revenue-generating options by increasing the surface area to sell ad spaces. 

As long as strip malls continue to resist the e-commerce market wave, there is a lot more you can do to make them profitable. Contact Headwaters Constructions today for professional advice on how to renovate your strip mall to increase your profit margins. For assistance in consulting and planning, we are always here for you.