Posts Tagged 'miracles'

Lessons Learnt

You may have been following a story with one of our clients which I titled The Impossible (you can read the original post here and the follow-up here). So what have I learned from this? What did we do wrong or could we have done better? Having had time to reflect here’s some of the things I’ve come up with. But first, a bit more background…


How did it all happen?
We met over the internet.
They had a need. We wanted to fill that need.
It was desire (or lust) at first contact.
We sent in our man on a blind date, he secured the work and started immediately.

Who took the brief? 
Our surveyor did. The client needed someone fast and we sent him straight in; something we wouldn’t ordinarily do.

Who then managed the brief?
 Our surveyor did. Having been there at the original briefing, we left him to manage the job. It didn’t sound that bad an assignment; it was routine work to us…

Who did he call when things started to go off course?
Well the guy he took the brief from of course. The trouble with this was that he wasn’t the day to day contact on the project and was divorced from every day issues that had cropped up.

What could we have done differently?
Gone to see the client after the brief had been given to make sure that it had been correctly translated and that a clear plan had been agreed (as we would usually do)

The moral of the story?
Lack of time is no excuse for compromising on attention to detail. Even though the need was urgent we should have found time.

The Impossible – The Final Chapter

It’s been a month now since I told you about the client who expected us to perform the impossible so I thought I’d bring you up to date. Sadly, not all stories have a happy ending…

Client: We’re still not happy with the rate of progress you’ve been making.

GFP: I’m sorry to hear that, but as we explained we need input from your team to help us in our task, and their time has been limited unfortunately.

Client: Yes we’ve heard all that before, but this is just an excuse as far as we are concerned. You’re costing us a lot of money at the moment and we don’t seem to be getting anything in return.

GFP: Forgive me, but we aren’t trying to make excuses – we’re just trying to piece together all of the facts and information to be able to present the best case for you. That’s what you want from us isn’t it? The best return on the project?

Client: That’s what we don’t understand – why do you need to do that?! You’ve got all the records in that bundle over there, can’t you just make it up what you don’t know or haven’t got?

GFP: Well, errr, actually NO. We can’t just go making things up. We are providing a professional service, and our reputation relies on us being just that – professional. We need to present details that will stand up to scrutiny by a third party.

Client: That’s the problem; that approach is getting us nowhere and taking ages. We don’t have time for this! And besides, your fees are far too expensive for us.

GFP: Well I’m sorry to hear you feel that way about our fees, but they are what we agreed at the outset for the services you wanted. Is there anything we can do to help on this?

Client: No. We’ve decided we don’t want your help anymore. Leave the site by the end of the week.

The end 😦

The Impossible…

Certainly, miracles, well they take a little longer!

One of our site based surveyors came in to see me on Friday about the assignment he was working on and I couldn’t resist sharing his story with you.

Apparently the site surveyor working for our contractor client has been off sick for at least three months now. No surveyor has worked on the scheme for the last 2 months until they requested our involvement around four weeks ago. The reason: The client wanted some action from the contractor as variations were being missed! Great client.

So, we arrive as usual with a request to put things in order as quickly as possible. The task: To get on top of the compensation events. In excess of 100 of them!

GFP: When do you need us to get on top of it all by?

Client: Ah, well as soon as possible please.

GFP: What resources can you give us to help, what are your systems, and what do we need to adhere to?

Client: Oh we don’t know. We’ll tell you next week.

[Two weeks later…]

Client: Didn’t I tell you I was going on holiday now? What have you done in the meantime then?

GFP: Well, I’ve struggled to work my way round your systems. I’ve begged and borrowed from others to find out about your systems and have dealt with all sorts of subcontractors. After the first week, I managed to get a computer so I can log into your systems, I’ve put the files in order, read and understood the contract too (oh by the way, you didn’t tell us that there are five separate contracts, as there are five separate sites to control, each about £1M, all in different geographical locations…) So quite a bit I think!

Client: Huh, no progress on the compensation events then?

GFP: Well, errr, no actually not, but I’ve gone a long way to understanding your issues. But what I do need is the input from your site team to help me with understanding the resources you used on these issues as, remember, they all happened before I was here.

Client: Oh that’s mere detail, I’ll make the team available. Get on with the job won’t you!

And so the story goes…

All sound familiar?

Just a few days in the life of a professional quantity surveying support service!

I’ll keep you posted!

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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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