September 2014 Newsletter


newsletter-2014-09We have all heard of at least one instance in the past where a contractor, subcontractors and/or owners ended up in court after a construction nightmare. One of the roles of a good Construction Project Manager is to anticipate and prevent disasters. There are six critical things every Construction Project Manager or Owner’s Representative should do to ensure a successful project:

Plan the Work and work the plan – Every project must have some order of sequencing in terms of how the subcontractors and trades are deployed for smooth workflow and to minimize disruptions and downtime. Have a written plan before the work begins.

Manage the schedule and budgets. The Project Manager (PM) must have intimate knowledge of the schedule, sequencing and the budget. The budget is normally embedded in the 16 Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Divisions and the PM must know the numbers behind each division. The PM should request those numbers from the GC before the work begins. The PM must work to minimize change orders and protect the budget through substantial completion.

Communicate – The PM must be a good communicator. The owner, design team, financiers, contractors, major subcontractors, and municipal inspectors must all be kept in the loop on all major issues. Many times change orders, changes in scope or specifications and/or substitutions are approved in the field and the PM and/or Architect failed to get signed authorization from the Owner, or a registered engineer/inspector (depending on substitution) leading to a major dispute. It is the responsibility of the PM to guard against such major misunderstandings.

Manage Quality and Safety – The PM must be experienced enough to enforce the quality called for in the design documents. The PM should also be able to identify when the drawings contain an error or when the pertinent building codes are not being met. If the PM is unsure, then he/she should ask questions to obtain the final answer. The PM does not have to have universal knowledge but he/she should be smart enough to ask the right questions to deliver excellence in the final product. Even though the PM may not be the Safety Officer, the PM must immediately flag unsafe conditions and force the GC/Subs to comply.

Mediate – The PM must have the technical skills, communication skills and soft skills to manage the project through to completion. Some days the PM has to play “Referee” and mediate disputes that could be detrimental to the project team.

Manage Risk – Construction is fraught with risk including financial, fluctuations in materials pricing, bad weather and acts of God, quality of workmanship, contractor and sub-contractor default, theft, scheduling risks, and Owner defaulting or going out of business. The most difficult job of the PM is to anticipate and manage against these risks.


newsletter-2014-09bBFW Staff have given significant volunteer time and resources to the Better Living Center in Chester, PA. The Better Living Center (BLC) is a faith-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources and information to empower the residents of Chester and DELCO to improve their lives. Chester is one of the most impoverished census tracts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The BLC offers a food pantry, after-school tutoring, a computer center with free WiFi, and a full day summer camp for Chester’s kids in collaboration with the Rocky Run YMCA.

BFW CEO Blane F. Stoddart serves as President of the Board of the Better Living Center and wrote the IRS application for tax exemption along with Damon Gamble, CPA. BFW staffer Alana Seggman assists the BLC with grant writing for its many programs and the Staff volunteers at many BLC events. For more information visit

BFW Group, LLC
BFW Group, LLC provides Construction Project Management, Owners’ Representation, Green Building Retrofits, LEED Administration, Cost Estimating, and Development Consulting to Non-Profit and For-Profit Developers, Contractors, Government Agencies, Schools and Institutions, and Commercial Property Managers in the Mid-Atlantic region.

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