BY MIKE TOUSLEY, Executive Vice President & General Manager, The Weitz Company
Every day, we work to Build a Better Way for our customers. One way we do this is through self-performing portions of construction work – it can go a long way to creating satisfied customers and a solid portfolio of repeat work.
We previously discussed construction technologies and what this means for customers. This month, Scott Tursi, a Senior Project Superintendent for The Weitz Company, and I will talk about self-performed work and why it matters to construction projects.
Self-performing the work
Self-performed construction means using a firm’s own tradespeople on job sites to perform certain activities on the project. This is predominantly for projects where the company is the general contractor, who holds the contracts for the project, and has in-house tradespeople to do the work.
Scott Tursi: First and foremost, the reason to self-perform work on building projects is because it is easier to maintain the project schedule and coordinate the firm’s own work when you control the resources. This is particularly essential for concrete work, which is typically the most important milestone on a project’s critical path to completion. Footings can be placed and foundations can be poured by the company’s own workers more efficiently because its own manpower is responsible for ensuring the work is completed on time. The company has several field supervisors who are experts in their trade who know the company crews and can monitor the quality of work that is being done. Other work that is traditionally self-performed are rough and finish carpentry activities.
The ability to self-perform can also provide an economic advantage for the project by controlling the resources responsible for productivity, schedule, quality and safety.
Make safety a priority
Another reason we self-perform work is that we have the ability to control the quality and safety of our own workforce because they understand our expectations. Because they work for our company day in and day out, we don’t have to constantly train and remind them of our expectations, which leads to a higher quality work product. We are able to provide them access to our safety management process and quality workbook which leads to their further development into trade experts and supervisors, providing them with opportunities for further career growth.
Tursi: This is a big selling point to the client. Companies that perform the work themselves see more pride from their people upon completion of the project because the company’s tradespeople had a hand in building it.
Tursi: When selecting a self-performing firm, inquire about the experience of its employees. For example, the scope of Weitz’s concrete work is broad; this helped in the construction of a facility for Accumold in Ankeny that required specialized concrete work to make it a FEMA rated EF5 tornado shelter. The EF5 building design standard is the highest level of tornado protection that a building can be constructed for. Providing self-performed work can also mean more flexibility to meet the needs of specific projects. This gave Weitz the flexibility to accommodate suggestions and changes to the Accumold project as needed to create the appropriate concrete structure.
Tursi: There were similar challenges with the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield building. Its shape is unique, plus it incorporated many aspects: the office building, two levels of underground parking, a parking ramp and a fitness center. The experience of having our own concrete workers on-site and knowing their capabilities helped create the structure for this challenging project.
“You feel really good about the work that you’ve done especially when the client tells you how well it went,” he said.
Contact us if we can help you answer any questions or provide more information about self-performed work:
Scott Tursi, Senior Project Superintendent