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When Faster & Cheaper Isn't Better

Posted on 7/17/2018 in #collinsconstruction #commercialreno #jobs in construction

Cutting corners costs money in the long term

When Faster & Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

 Just like everyone else, I love saving time. If I can shave a few minutes off here and there to make time for more important things, I’m all for it. After all, I oversee a business, I’m the mother of an active 11-year-old and manage to have some semblance of a social life. Like you, my schedule is full.  I’m not sure what I did before I couldn’t have virtually everything I need delivered right to my door. And talking into a device and telling it to order something? Even better!

 What about saving money? Well, like you, I love that, too. I mean, why pay full price for something that you can get on sale? But there are some cases when faster & cheaper isn’t better. For instance, have you ever bought no-name sticky notes? They don’t stick. To anything. At. All.

 Warning Signs

So, I’ve been giving this lots of thought. There’s a sign in my office that someone gave me a while ago. It’s a tongue in cheek warning, I believe, and one that hits home to me. The sign says:

We do 3 types of jobs here: Good, fast and may choose 2! If it's good and cheap, it will not be fast. If it's good and fast, it will not be cheap. It it's fast and cheap, it will not be good. 

 A Job Well Done

Clients want their project done quickly so that they can be operational, start making their own money and avoid paying extra interest and other soft costs. As a small business owner, I completely understand the importance of cash flow, but even in our culture of “instant everything”, there are times when faster and cheaper just isn’t better. At my firm, we’re always respectful of our client’s deadlines and budget. In fact, we often finish projects under budget and, other than truly unusual weather events (that would be you Hurricanes Matthew & Irma!) we make it our business to finish on time. It’s important to us. This shows respect for our client’s parameters and tells them we value their time and money. But it’s just as important to work carefully, to get the job right and to do the job well.

When Cost-Cutting Costs More

On a construction job, the owners, architects and contractors all want to save on cost. Especially during a renovation, owners often think that they’ll save money by not paying for due diligence and inspections. Concurrently, architects cut back their costs by making assumptions rather than paying to find out the true condition of a building. When this occurs, and the contractor begins work, problems are ultimately discovered during the project that could have been addressed beforehand, making for changes, double the work, and of course, increasing the cost when it all could have been addressed from the beginning.

 Proper Planning

When a design team plans every detail and dimension carefully and engineers make sure that an electrical fixture, HVAC return, AND a sprinkler head isn’t planned for the same ceiling tile (don’t laugh – I’ve seen this happen!) then the construction crew spends less time making adjustments and fixing mistakes. Ninety percent of the time it’s lack of planning that’s the cause of those ugly words: CHANGE ORDER. And as everyone in the construction business knows, it’s change orders that add to a project’s cost. 

It’s a beautiful thing to be handed a design plan that will work in the real world which is why Design/Build projects can be a great method for developing a project! When a team takes the time to work together to complete due diligence, potential issues can be addressed before getting too deep into the project. The result is that budgets can be met, employees can do their job safely and the finished product will not only satisfy the client’s aesthetic vision, but it will last, it will be a project they can be proud of, and it will serve their needs well.  And that, ultimately, saves time and money!


 Dawn Morgan has owned Collins Construction since 2009. Her experience includes ensuring financial diligence centered around client satisfaction. The firm has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and has offices in Savannah, GA and Beaufort, SC.