Topic Thread

Visiting project sites

  • 1.  Visiting project sites

    Posted 05-17-2018 07:17
    There's often a disconnect between the field and the office. While I see many CFMA members teaching the basics of finance to their project managers, I don't hear much about the reverse scenario.
    When was the last time you, the controller or CFO, visited a job site?  What did you learn? Did you observe anything that inspired you to change processes or implement a new procedure? Share your best takeaways.

    Carol Hagen
    Chandler AZ
    (480) 705-4241
    Bluebeam Gold Partner: CFMA members receive a 10% discount off Bluebeam direct pricing on licenses, upgrades and annual maintenance

  • 2.  RE: Visiting project sites

    Posted 05-18-2018 08:00
    Actually walked a job site on my way in this morning. I try to hit three to four a week, so that I can at least see every job over $100k we do.
    Typical discussion with foremen on project are:

    -Any personnel issues?
    -Is schedule still accurate/on target?
    -Are there any significant quantity changes from estimate?

    We have one job going that involved installing a new product, so we have had a lot of R&D time, which I hope to get a tax credit on. Working with the guys to segregate their cost and time on this job due to the new product is the biggest lesson learned in the last few months.

    Alex Lee CPA/CITP, CCIFP
    Roy T. Goodwin Contractors, Inc.
    Nashville TN
    (615) 242-5448

  • 3.  RE: Visiting project sites

    Posted 05-18-2018 10:44
    Great question, Carol!

    While I don't get out to job sites all that often, the few times that I have been have been very insightful for me. It's always interesting and fun to see the true "work in progress" as the job is going on. I wouldn't say I've learned a whole lot as far as technical stuff goes, but big picture stuff. Big equipment or processes.

    More frequently I go out to our Fab Shop and take a walk around with the owner of the company. Seeing what we are building and pre-fabricating before it goes out to the field has been insightful as well. As part of the management team, being able to understand big picture concepts as part of a discussion goes a long way.

    Leila Bennett-Snow CPA
    Strategic Mechanical Inc.
    Fresno CA
    (559) 291-1952

  • 4.  RE: Visiting project sites

    Posted 05-21-2018 16:09
    I had set a goal to visit a job site once per month. I am not currently on pace to meet that goal. I've visited jobs 3 of the last 5 months and have one scheduled for later this week. When I visit a job site I have 5 categories that I inquire about. 1) Marketability opportunities of the project 2) Superintendent status or morale. 3) Any client concerns 4) Risks specific to the project, what is the single largest current issue 5) status of the schedule.

    David Miller CCIFP, CRIS, CTP
    Cfo / Treasurer
    Jokake Construction Services, Inc.
    Phoenix AZ
    (602) 224-4573

  • 5.  RE: Visiting project sites

    Posted 05-22-2018 11:55
    I agree with your categories although I would add one more - Safety management.

    Gail Fleming Bachelors of Science
    Finance Operations Manager
    The Reijnen Company, Inc.
    Bainbridge Island WA
    (206) 842-4409

  • 6.  RE: Visiting project sites

    Posted 05-22-2018 21:09
    One of the most important things a finance person can do. I have tried to make a habit of visiting job sites and I always learn new things. Visualizing what I read and hear about is important to my understanding. It also gives me an updated perspective on progress, issues on the job and overall performance. Finally, it shows interest and appreciation for what the people in the field deal with and accomplish daily. So get out from behind the desk and pay the jobsite a visit. Buy lunch and strengthen relationships.

    Robert Smith CPA, CCIFP
    Senior VP of Finance
    Vecellio Group, Inc.
    West Palm Beach FL
    (561) 784-3553

  • 7.  RE: Visiting project sites

    Posted 06-13-2018 11:48
    ​I enjoy the job site visits. The PMs are usually happy to show off their good work. I am trying to arrange opportunities for office staff to do job visits. We process all these papers and transactions day to day in the office. It allows our office staff to see the tangible work in progress. Result is a net positive !!

    Stephen Hadley
    Quigg Brothers, Inc.
    Aberdeen WA
    (360) 533-1530

  • 8.  RE: Visiting project sites

    Posted 06-14-2018 08:04
    I agree with all the comments above.  I encourage our office staff to take 'field trips' because they see the results of the paper that they process every day.  The project Super LOVES showing off his work, and there is always education through osmosis, at a minimum.  It builds better relationships.

    When I walk a project, I let the Super talk...I get information that I might not get from the PM at times.  I find out about the client relationship from a different perspective, I get introduced to subcontractor field foremen ("He signs the checks"), and I ask "stupid" questions, because it allows people to share their knowledge and skills, and I actually learn something or it validates something that I've already learned.

    We also do periodic Supers meetings at a job site.  This allows the PM & Super to 'show off' to their peers, and it allows the supers to see how their peer runs his project. There ends up being a peer review of details during the walk-through, and that makes everyone better, especially the newer hires, who get a chance to learn from a veteran and understand our company culture even better.

    Joe Burkett CCIFP
    Cafco Construction Management LLC
    Boston MA
    (617) 426-7600

  • 9.  RE: Visiting project sites

    Posted 06-15-2018 11:32

    We do monthly job site visits. We are a specialty contractor with six framing superintendents and six concrete superintendents. Each month we meet with one of the superintendents to determine which job site to visit and when. I take as many office staff as possible including accounting, administrative, estimating, purchasing, etc. (usually 12-15 individuals). We bring 50-60 box lunches, introduce ourselves, and talk over lunch. Usually the conversations are more personal than business. We talk about our families, sports, fun events happening around town. It really helps to break down the barriers between the field and the office. Most field employees only interact with office staff in the office.

    After lunch, we tour the job site. As Joe Burkett said, I encourage the office staff to ask as many dumb questions as possible while we tour the site. This Q&A time is a real win/win. The office staff learn more about the work we do and the field staff get to show off the craftsmanship they are deservedly proud of.

    At the end of the visit, we ask one simple question, "What can we do to make your job easier?" We get a lot of great suggestions!

    Kevin Booth CCIFP
    Chief Financial Officer -- WestCor Companies
    Las Vegas NV
    (702) 433-1414