“Hey, where’s Chris? He was supposed to be here at 8:00. We said we we’re going to discuss strategy for this county hospital project. The first response is due this week. I’ve read this RFP. I’m not in charge of this thing, but Chris asked me to sit in on this strategy session. By the way, one of the things I bring to this group is the fact that I am an architect. Since an architect seems to be taking the lead on the Hospital project, I think I might be able to provide a little insight on what they might be looking for.”
“Oh, here’s Chris. I’ll see if I can get the president to join us. Hey marketing guy, would you show me a copy of the book we sent in response to this RFP?”
“Sure, I’ll be right back.”
The conference room which minutes earlier was populated by a dozen members of the estimating team is now occupied with a business development meeting that is trying to get underway.
“We really need to consider how we position our approach as an advantage. We’ve put 15 million cubic yards of concrete in place in this region. That gives us a ton of information and local knowledge.”
“Where did you get than figure?”
“I made it up. I’m kidding; it’s a real number.”
“You know this is a Brownfield site. Who in this room really understands Brownfield Sites? This is going to be important to these guys.”
“Well, the Construction Management part of this is something I have no experience in. I mean I can try but true Construction Management and Conceptual Estimating in particular is not something I can point to a bunch of jobs where that has been my responsibility.”
“Your experience is more relevant here than you realize. Don’t kid yourself Dan, your experience might be more relevant than the nonsense some of your competitors put out there. I mean our primary competitor has a guy that does nothing but conceptual estimating in-house. We need to structure it so our team has Mechanical, Electrical, Structural and Civil. These guys don’t have to even be in the room, but they will want to see a team that is that comprehensive. Remember this is an architect leading this selection process. The thing an architect dreads the most is having to re-draw. If you don’t have a good group up-front with conceptual estimating, the architect will roll his eyes and think to himself, “Here we go again.”
“That’s right. When we do our estimating now, we tend to send it out to a bunch of subs to get a number. We need an in-house guy that can come up with a number that is at least a starting point.”
“Now we can talk like developers.”
“Okay, so with all due respect, who is going to lead this team?”
So, does this scenario seem at all familiar?
Eight Areas for Discussion
As a follow up to the scenario provided in above Business Development Meeting we deconstruct a little and challenge you to consider how you can avoid common pitfalls. Based on our case example, here are eight common problems that arise.