Archive for November, 2010

Letters of Intent and all that….

Now here’s a thing who works on a letter of intent….no one in their right mind would? Surely?

Ah but oh yes we do, and there are lots of you out there doing it.

We did a state of the economy survey at the beginning of this year (we’ll do another one next year) and a massive 75% of respondents said they worked on them…….so what of the pitfalls?

Why do we do it? We haven’t got time……then make time I say, it’s so vitally important to establish the correct contract at the outset.

If you find you really really must, then use them ever so sparingly……make sure that if you do enter into such an agreement that the formal contract is executed as quickly as possible thereafter, and at least before the expiration of any financial cap or time limit you have imposed/agreed to and that you include provisions for ‘what if’ it all goes wrong too.

Otherwise if you fall out…….. you could be asking yourself……
what are the terms
have they been varied
did you do what was agreed
have there been subsequent variations to it
were the variations recorded and agreed
was the original letter of intent revised/amended
if so by whom
did they have the authority to do that
was it sent correctly
did you receive it
have you been paid by the terms
do we pay/charge VAT
did we sign a copy
have we got a copy of the letter
is there a dispute
what mechanism is there to resolve disputes ………..

And then you’ll be asking yourself why on earth did we start on a letter of intent and not get the contract sorted in the first place?

If you wanted some further examples of cases to read when things went wrong then have a read of this! (number 4 on the list)

Happy reading……of your contract that is!

Standards of Tender Information

Now I’m not intending to have a go at designers or Architects here as they have a tough enough job as it is, but working closely with contracting organisations across the country we do see an awful lot of work provided by design teams and the standard we see…………..

We love the advent of electronic communication but please, please, please think about the stuff you are churning out these days. It’s all so easy to burn loads of standard stuff on a CD – oh just in case they might need this or that drawing or document, or to stuff it onto a server and say here’s the password and log in details, away you go sort out what you need!

We spend more time in our office trying to fathom out what on earth has been sent through on a job sometimes now than actually doing the job. And that is saying something! And I know that contractors and subcontractors feel the same way about it too. It’s frequent topic of conversation.

And drawings…….we have to check every time now to see that a drawing is to an actual scale you can recognise! The number of times recently we’ve had drawings that are not to scale……ok might be only between 5 and 10% error but that could make or break a tender submission.

Have to say that the best sets of documents we have seen recently come out on civil engineering projects. There’s always a list of numbered documents, you know exactly the drawings that have been issued (as you always get a drawing register) and everything is just……well……numbered logically so you can follow things. A joy to work with.

So why can we not have some uniformity in standard of documents that are issued by the design teams at tender stage? It seems everyone just does their own thing and dumps it further down the supply chain to sort out. Just saying that’s all……..

What Makes a Good CV? 15 Tips from the GFP Team

This week in the office we’ve been debating what makes a good CV. CVs are extremely personal in my opinion, and no two people will give you quite the same advice, but here are 15 top tips that we all agreed on:

Look & feel

  • Make it easy on the eye – Use a standard font size (10pt or 12pt), clear, logical headings and make sure there’s enough white space.
  • Don’t be too fancy with the formatting – A splash of colour can be great, but text boxes and tables are distracting and are also hard for CV parsing programs (basically technology which extracts information from your CV and put straight onto a database) to work with.
  • Bullet point – Bullet points are great, but don’t over-do them. Unless you want your reader to go cross-eyed, of course…
  • Keep it to two pages – If you really can’t then limit it to three at the very most!

What to include

  • Numbers! –  Quantify wherever possible – how many staff you managed, the value of the projects you’ve worked on, budgets you have controlled, and so on.
  • Your key achievements – Anything between four and six is great – put them front and centre on your CV so that prospective employers can see how great you are! It also provides a reflection of what you consider to be important and can be quite telling.
  • Online references – If (IF!) appropriate, link to any online references. Maybe you write an industry-specific blog or have a raft of recommendations on LinkedIn that you’d like to show off. They won’t always be looked at, but can be worth considering.
  • Relevant experience – Highlight the experience you have relevant to the job for which you are applying.

What not to include

  • Irrelevant information – This might include marital status, DoB, the names, ages and number of children you have, etc. (You’d be surprised how many people want to tell us all about their family rather than themselves!)
  • A photo of yourself – Unless you’re a model or actor there’s really no need!
  • Your ENTIRE work history – If you’ve been in work for many years then don’t try and cover everything. Focus on the last 10 years or so and summarise the rest.

Other things to consider

  • Reverse chronological order – I’m sure we don’t have to say it, but ALWAYS start with your most recent experience first.
  • Be concise – It’s a summary of your experience, not War and Peace.
  • File format – Ideally send it in Word format (PDF can also be acceptable, but be prepared to hand over a Word copy too if asked)
  • Proof reading – Read it, re-read it and then read it again. After you’ve done that, give it to someone else to read! It’s amazing what you miss when you’ve worked intensely on something.

And finally – make sure you’re happy with it! It’s a reflection of you, after all!


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About Me

I’m now the Managing Director of Mynott Associates Limited my own specialist measurement business. I’ve been in the industry all of my life since I left school. My first job was with Bovis Construction as a management trainee where I trained to become a quantity surveyor. I’ve worked for contractors all through my career, I am FRICS, FCIOB and MCIHT qualified and act as an RICS assessor. I’m also a keen Arsenal supporter having followed them from a young boy

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