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Holding a pre-job meeting can further improve a company’s performance and make clients happier.

Originally published: 05.01.11 by George Hedley


Hold a pre-job meeting to achieve on-the-job success. Here’s how.

Many light commercial contractors think they don’t need to start every project with a pre-job meeting. It’s great to have so much confidence in your staff, suppliers, and subcontractors; but holding a pre-job meeting can further improve a company’s performance and make clients happier. If everyone meets together before your job starts, I guarantee your project will have a much better chance of avoiding potential conflicts, finishing ahead of schedule, and staying under budget.

Here are the steps to take to hold a good pre-job meeting:

1.    Identify every member on your team. They all have an important part to play. In addition to the core team from your company, the meeting could include any of the following depending upon the job requirements: property owner, developer, builder, architect, engineers, general contractor, your subcontractors, other subcontractors, and major suppliers. Some subcontractors are going to fight you on this. They don’t want to take the time to go to a meeting. But they need to be there. Everyone is needed to understand the importance of teamwork, project milestones, and how everyone counts on each other.

2.    Hold the meeting on site.
 Don’t even
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consider your office conference room. It may be inconvenient to go out to the site, but once everyone stands there, the project becomes a priority. It engages the senses as your team sees the players, the problems, and the issues — it becomes real and urgent!

3.    Have your project manager/field supervisor run the meeting.
 If the company owner runs the meeting instead, then these two don’t become responsible or accountable. They must get together before the meeting and plan. Don’t let them “wing it.”

4.    Prepare the agenda:

o    Review project goals and objectives. Often, subcontractors think price is most important on every job. But schedule, quality, or value engineering may be the most important factor. When everyone understands what targets to aim for, project goals can be met.

o    Issue all subcontracts for execution before starting the job. 
All the subcontractors can then discuss issues, problems, and conflicts immediately and get them resolved early. This forces the project manager to commit to all of the trades early on, freeing up time later to just concentrateon building the project. 

o    Issue approved plans and specifications.
 Review them together and make sure every subcontractor understands what’s required.

o    Issue the project schedule. The manager/supervisor can then discuss the work flow, anticipated problems, coordination, and long lead items. Follow with an open discussion of the schedule between all subcontractors and suppliers.

o    Review job and safety rules. 
These include jobsite hours, safety, noise restrictions, cleanup requirements, equipment, adjacent property concerns, etc.

o    Review permit, license, and special inspection requirements.
 Identify who will be responsible for each of these and when they will be required.  

o    Issue a required shop drawing and submittal list.
 List out when everything is needed, who approves them, and timing. This step can reduce delays by prompting everyone to identify long lead items and order them early on.

o    Review payment procedures.
 Include procedures for invoices, releases, joint checks, authorization, and timing.

o    Review project insurance requirements.  


o    Review the change order system.
 Explain the approval process from pricing to review and payment. Include estimated timeframes, allowable markups, and who is authorized to sign.

o    Conclude with an open discussion. 
Allow everyone to share their concerns, issues, and comments. Addressing them early, with all parties present, saves time, money and headaches later!

This simple meeting will make a dramatic difference in your business. The quality of work will improve, you will finish your jobs faster, and field problems will virtually be eliminated. Customers, subcontractors, and suppliers will also be happier. The client gets what they want, and everyone makes more money.

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