Friday, April 15, 2016

Improving the Construction Industry Through a More Positive and Healthier Life Style

We are always looking for ways of improving the Construction Industry because there are lots of team members.  Well here are two simple and fast ways of doing just that.

Good manners, positive attitudes, and staying healthy can help achieve and maintain outstanding project productivity and promote good working relationships with all team members.

Building a More Positive Life Style

Too often we either miscommunicate or offend others with words we use or wrong unintentional body language, gestures, expressions, and most of time it’s simply negative and poor behavior which leads to bad manners.

These behavioral failures tend to be especially true when extending complements, offering constructive criticism, and just every day life’s events. 

Try this simple 3 step game, the object being to accumulate lots of points by the end of each day. 


              Step 1 - Using the “Sample Positive and Negative Behaviors” table below create and           memorize your own list;

              Step 2 – Using the honor system start each new day with zero “0” points; and

              Step 3 - Let your actions be your guide by awarding yourself plus points for every good         deed, action or positive behavior performed. And deducting minus points for every negative or self- serving action performed.

Sample Positive and Negative Behaviors

Positive and Good Behavior = Plus Points
Negative and Poor Behavior = Minus Points
Acting with good manners (+1)
Not acting with good manners (-1)
Greeting others with a smile (+1)
Not greeting others with a smile (-1)
Positive and future talking (+2)
Negative and past talking (-2)
Doing something special for a friend or family member (+5)
Being self-centered (-2)
Being on time (+2)
Being late (-2)
Hold a door open for someone (+1)
Don’t hold a door open for someone (-1)
Saying Good Morning, Afternoon, Evening to others (+1)
Not Saying Good Morning, Afternoon, Evening to others (-1)
Saying thank you (+1)
Not saying thank you (-1)
Giving or offering a senior citizen a seat on the bus (+2)
Not giving or offering a senior citizen a seat on the bus (-2)
Saving your litter for a garbage can (+2)
Littering (-2)


Subtract any Minus Points from Plus Points.  For example:   +10 – 2= +8 points for the day

Have fun and try for lots of + Plus Points each day.

Building a More Healthier Life Style

Try avoiding the following for a couple of weeks to lose weight, inches and get healthier and happier which leads to improved self-esteem, a more positive attitude and happier and life style. Most important, eat three meals every day.

No Caffeinated Drinks
No Eating in Bed
No Frozen Foods
No Junk Foods
No snacks between meals
No sparkling sugar added drinks
No unnatural salt
No white flour
No white rice
No white sugar

If you can't avoid all of these try avoiding a few.

If you have more suggestions on improving the Construction Industry please tell us!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Construction Web Site Hits Nail on the Head

Since 1999  is still here and now creating new mobile solutions for our users and clients to achieve their ultimate goals!

In the September 8, 2000 issue of the San Francisco Business Times Brendan Doherty, Business Times Staff Writer published a column titled “Construction web sites don’t yet hit nail on head.”

We are amazed and pleased to say “We are still here” unlike most of the Construction web sites mentioned in the column it appears that only two remain online today, namely us “” and “”.

The column says that for construction web sites the promise is large “it’s a place where there is not only lots of money but a lot of inefficiency”. 

Well, our most recent efficiency innovations include making our site a mobile web site with solutions for marketing, bidding, negotiating and referring property(s), Projects, and Resources.

Bidding and Negotiating

In minutes registered users can create and send RFP's  (Requests for Proposals) to other registered or non-registered users for competitive bidding.  The RFP can be sent to “closed” (private) lists of bidders or to the “open” (non-private) public including the option of sharing the RFP  on Facebook or Linked In.

And it even gets better because track-able  “Lets Negotiate”, “RFI’s” (Request for Information), and “Follow Up” features are built into the respective “RFP” and “Quick Bid” Action Centers.

If the RFP’s   “Deliver your Proposal using CPC Quick Bid” option is selected the bidder needs only to include the Base Bid amount in the auto-filled /editable bid form, preview the bid and if “It looks great.. Send it” back to the RFP creator.

Quick Bids can also be created in the absence of RFP’s.  In minutes registered users can create and send Bids for any project to other registered users or to contacts in their personal email client.

A "Bid Tabulator" is also available for comparing bids quickly and allowing the owner to negotiate with any or all bidders for selecting the right bidder for the project and getting the best value.


For those Projects or Real Estate deals you can’t handle or if you know a good resource worthy of referring why not refer them to others.  Our Referral Program is for Profiting while helping others to profit and succeed" and "Never miss making money again for referring someone or something". You can even NEGOTIATE the Referral Fees with the Seller. Ask how to start your own referral business using this system.

Novice and Student Users 

Novice and Students will find that makes a unique learning platform because test projects can be created and showcased. And our Free Self Help section contains interactive forms and worksheets.  In addition we have couple of useful publications for purchase and download.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Never miss making money again for referring someone or something

“Profiting with referrals while helping others to profit and succeed” This is the concept behind the Referral Program on  which includes a referral fee negotiating process. The Referral Program can be used by Sellers, Buyers, and Referrers.  Login to and select My Referrals.


A Referral is the action of mentioning someone or something to another party and is used frequently in the Real Estate industry for generating business associated with real estate transactions for a Referral Fee.

Real Estate agents, for various reasons, opt to refer buyers and sellers and/or their agents in exchange for a referral fee.   And some real estate agents prefer to simply refer and collect referral fees in lieu of getting involved with the actual Real Estate transactions because referring can become quite lucrative with limited liability.

Generally a referring buyer is known by the referring party either by past experience in a working relationship or personal knowledge. And in most cases hiring parties tend to feel more comfortable with Referrals because of the referral relationship with the referring party.  
However, I have not seen the referral process used outside of the Real Estate Industry.  I have referred buyers, sellers, resources, and clients over the years to others for various reasons (too busy, not my expertise, referral request, etc.) but it never occurred to me to request or collect a referral fee or profit in any way.
Here are a couple of suggestions when considering the Referral Process:
      1.       Don’t be timid and/or feel uncomfortable asking for a Referral Fee in exchange for referring someone, something, or bonafide opportunities to others because a referral provides value to the buyer by helping him/her succeed;
      2.       Think of a referral as giving a helping hand and be prepared to negotiate the referral fee;
      3.       Use and promote the referral process in industries outside of the Real Estate Industry; and
      4.       Helping others succeed and profit can be fun, profitable and personally rewarding.

The Referral Program on makes initiating referrals fun and easy and it keeps a personal history of your Referral Transactions.

In addition to the Referrals consider Performance Reviews when hiring resources.
Performance Reviews
A Performance Review is a method by which the job performance of a resource is examined, evaluated and documented.  Here are a couple of ways Performance Reviews are created and presented:

Rating Services and Published Lists
Rating Services and Published Lists usually contain Third Party Performance Reviews.  The third party Rating Service or List Provider obtains the background information from a member resource and/or references provided by the member resource. But such references are questionable because who provides or uses poor or bad references for reporting performance?
Furthermore, to be meaningful third party reviews should be current (based on work recently completed or performed) and consist of candid information provided by hiring party(s).
And, rating services and lists usually require the resource to pay a membership fee which suggests that such rating or listing services are motivated to be somewhat bias and/or to lower their qualification standards to grow or maintain paying members.
Hiring Parties
Hiring parties provide First Hand Performance Reviews.  A first hand performance review usually contains a resources background information based on actual recently completed performance on a specific project(s) directly from the hiring party.  These reviews can take the form of a Letter of Reference prepared for the resource by the hiring party or a Performance Report generated from a list of questions answered directly by the hiring party. offers such a check list wherein the hiring party simply selects Yes or No from a list of performance related questions.  A Performance Review Report is available showing only the YES selections and the resources Overall Performance Rating, Quality of Work, Punctuality and Professionalism.
This type of review is also useful for resources wanting reviews because it is easy for the hiring party to complete the review questions and post the results for the resource.
The resource simply asks the hiring party to “please review my performance”.  Upon completing the review it is listed in the resources profile.  The resource has the option of displaying the reviews in a Professional Search on .
While Performance Reviews and Lists are useful for finding resources they should not be used solely for hiring resources. One should continue with the due diligence (professional screening process) before hiring the resource.
Some say this screening process takes too long but what is one or two days (that’s how long it should take to complete a professional screening process) if it: (1) can save lots of money (sometimes thousands or tens of thousands of dollars); (2) insure minimal or no schedule delays; (3) can produce good job performance, quality and workmanship; and (4) avoid needless worry, confrontations, and sometimes legal battles.
Here is a simple screening process named Subcontractor Hiring Guidelines which can be used for all types’ resources.

Comments Welcome!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Subcontractor Hiring Guidelines

Here are a few guidelines to follow when you're seeking a subcontractor.

An essential ingredient is finding subcontractors who can be flexible and innovative. In many cases it's important to do a construction project around an existing building or within an active office or business without disrupting the day-to-day operations. A good subcontractor is willing to work at off-hours or devise another way to circumvent the owner's ongoing work schedule.
Review the subcontractors experience to ensure the firm has done your kind of project before.  Sometimes a high-rise builder may not be a good choice for an upscale retail shopping center.  Likewise, a residential home builder subcontractor may not have the skills to tackle commercial construction work.


Name of Subcontractor

Federal or Social Security ID
This information is Optional because many companies or individuals do not welcome giving out this information until they actually have been awarded a contract. It this case, this information should be obtained immediately upon starting the project because it saves time at end of year for tax reporting purposes.

Areas of Expertise of Specialization
Helps define the professionals ‘qualifications for your specific project
State License Type
For license identification purposes                                
License Number
To insure that the contractor is properly licensed
License Expiration Date
To insure that the license is currently active and remains valid for the duration of your project
Phone Number AND Emergency Phone Number
General contact information and during construction in the event of an emergency
This URL is useful for obtaining more information about the company or professional
E-Mail Address
Contact information

A contractor is bondable when a rated surety company has given the contractor a written statement of bond ability.  Before issuing such a statement the surety company conducts their own background check on the contractor before they make a commitment to provide a bond to the contractor.  When the surety company is satisfied that the contractor is a good risk the contractor becomes bondable.  Even though you may not require a bond for you project you may want to use this information for qualifying contractors. (See Bonding Rate Below)

Bonding Capacity                                                       
The bonding capacity is the dollar amount the bonding company is willing to guarantee for all bondable and non-bondable work the contractor has on hand based on the experience level and capabilities of the contractor. 

Example:  The bonding company determines that the construction company qualifies for a bonding capacity of $2,000,000.  The contractor has work on hand, contracts totaling $1,000,000 ($500,000 requiring bonds and $500,000 not requiring bonds).  In this example the contractor has a bond surplus of $1,000,000 for any future work requiring a bond and will be granted the bond.

Example:  The bonding company determines that the construction company qualifies for a bonding capacity of $2,000,000.  The contractor has work on hand, contracts totaling $1,000,000 not requiring bonds.  The contractor wants to bid on a new $2,000,000 project requiring a bond, which would increase his work on hand to $3,000,000.  In this example the contractor has a bond deficit of $1,000,000 and will not be granted the bond unless the bonding company reevaluates the contractor’s capabilities and agrees to increase the contractor’s Bonding Capacity.

If you are requiring a bond ask the contractor to invoice you for its direct cost.  You'll save a hefty mark-up because it is not necessary to include the bond cost in the contract schedule of values and incur the contractor’s markup.
Bonding Rate
When the contractor becomes bondable the amount the surety company charges the contractor for the bond is called the bonding rate.  This bonding rate is based on the risk factor the bonding company places on issuing the bond to the contractor. The higher the risks to the bonding company the higher the bonding rate.  And conversely, the lower the risks to the bonding company the lower the bonding rate.

The bonding rate is also a good guide for comparing contractors by looking at their bonding rates you can generally tell if the contractor has a good track record. 

Example: Contractor A has a bonding rate of 1% (one per cent) whereas contractor B has a bonding rate of 3% (three per cent).  Contractor A has a greater experience level and capabilities than contractor B as viewed by the Bonding Company.  Also, contractor A's bond will cost you 2% less than contractor B's bond.  
Work on Hand
This is the total amount of work the contractor currently has under contract. 


When qualifying Subcontractors it is good practice to obsttain at least three references, preferably from former clients and/or vendors or materials suppliers.  Subcontractors who pay bills on time demonstrate dependability and financial stability.

Remember, subcontractor’s can make or break your project so choose your subcontractor(s) carefully.

Whenever practical, in your bidding documents, reserve the right to negotiate with any and all contractors because the lowest bidder is not necessarily the right contractor for the project.

Much of this material was taken from the new publication “Construction Like Sushi” ISBN 978-0-9668245-1-3 and available for download on

Friday, May 3, 2013

New Contractor licensing Law puts Responsibility and Liability where it belongs

Construction Managers and Consultants take notice!

On January 1, 2013 California’s Assembly Bill AB 2237 went into effect which basically regulates those submitting bids and performing the actual work (a Contractor), rather than those overseeing or managing work (Construction Managers and Consultants).

The new law is intended to “clearly define when someone is a “Contractor” and discourage unscrupulous individuals from working under a fraudulently obtained owner-builder permit.”1

Apparently, there have been cases when individuals circumvent the contractor license law requirements by calling themselves a “Consultant” or “Construction Manager” but submit a bid to perform certain work, and then provide the labor and materials to perform that same work in exchange for a fee.  The problem is that these individuals may or may not have the proper insurance or bonds in force as required for “Contractors” thus leaving the property owner with all of the responsibility and liability for the work being performed.

Basically, a contractor’s license is not required unless one proposes to or undertakes to do the actual work or some part of it or if the total project cost is less than $500.00.  However, in California, registration with the EDD (Employment Development Department) is required when hiring employees to perform any work.

Here are a few tips and preventative measures for putting responsibility and liability where it belongs:

1.  Community associations, and owners of high rise buildings or common wall structures should advise and educate their entire association or occupants about how to screen and hire contractors because work performed, in only one unit in the building will/can affect the others.  i.e., defective workmanship; and use of inferior materials and/or equipment;

2.  Owner-Builders, Property Owners and Managers should understand that licensed “contractors” perform functions such as (1) proposing to undertake the actual work,  (2) providing and overseeing bids, (3) arranging and setting up work schedules, (4) maintaining oversight of projects, (5) satisfying the sufficiency of bids, plans and specifications and (6),  inspects the work performed by vendors/subcontractors to determine compliance with the plans, specifications and any other construction documents; whereas, “Consultants” and “Construction Managers” do not propose to or undertake the actual work or some part of it; nor do they satisfy the sufficiency of bids, plans and specifications; and

3.  Property Owners should get familiar with the overall process of planning projects, hiring resources, taking bids, and managing performance. offers free advice and learning systems to its users for under $100.00.  The system includes the new book titled “Construction like Sushi” featuring a four part system and optional interactive self calculating down loadable work sheets that can be modified and reused.  The four part system includes:

1. Planning Projects
2. Hiring Resources
3. Job Costing and Contracting Agreements
4. Managing work performance and payments

And the new Project Registry is a perfect tool for managing and archiving property and project information.

4.  Understand that:

a.  Professional roles that are associated with responsibility and liability when undertaking building construction and improvement projects include, but not limited to,  Agents, Community Managers, Construction Mangers, Consultants, Contractors, Owner-Builders, Owner Representatives, and Property Managers; and

b. Project types include, but are not limited to, Home Improvements, Home Improvement Goods and Services, and any building construction projects.

This information is based on the author’s interpretation of the California Contractor licensing law.  Therefore, everyone should consult their respective local and/or state Contractor license laws and be guided accordingly.

Definitions and Information sources:
EDD means California State Employment Development Department
1 Contractors State License Board, Press Release 12/31/2012

Comments welcome!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Discoveries and Innovations contributing to Building Construction and Real Estate

70,000 years ago (Seven hundred past generations) approximately 10 to 15 thousand breeding humans walked the earth.    

Ten thousand people occupy approximately one tenth of the average football stadium of today and I have difficulty creating a family tree with more than three generations.

Today’s world population is said to be over seven billion with over 314 million in the United States.

The thought of these first humans building shelters or habitats inspired me to research the Internet (Google searches by “History of” and topic) for discoveries and innovations contributing to Building Construction and ultimately Real Estate.

Here are my findings:

The earth’s surface has approximately 196,939,900 square miles.  Oceans comprise approximately 70 per cent of the earth’s surface or approximately 137,857,930 square miles and the remaining land is 59,081,970 sq miles.

These first humans owned a lot of land.

Earth has been divided into five continents (Africa, America, Asia, Australia and Europe); but some say seven continents (Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America).   

Africa, Asia and Europe BC discoveries included the Hammer (Stones for striking wood and bone), Drill (pointed rock spun between hands) and Tongs (sticks for handling fires) were the first tools followed by the Shovel (Ox shoulder blades used to move soil and rock), Saw, Rope (from water reed fibers) and bronze nails.  The most significant America discoveries are AD via Europe. 

Here are a few of the most significant (in my opinion) contributions in chronological order by continent:

Africa 2.4 Mil to 400 BC
Asia 10000 to 1000 BC
Europe 6400 to 300 BC

Concrete (Natural)

Calculator (of Transactions)

Tongs (pliers)
Clay Roof Tiles
Pliers (Tongs)

Water Wells

Windows (Glass)




Concrete mix


Pliers (Tongs)

Iron Production

Air Conditioning
Pulley (Rope and Wheel)
Marble and Granite




Marble and Granite

CAD (Mathematical Theory)

Europe 600 to 1949 AD
America 1585 to 1975 AD

Crane (wheel, pulley and rope)
Clay Roof Tiles


Real Estate Law
Flushing toilet

Classifying nail sizes
Indoor plumbing

Electricity (Discovery of)
Concrete Blocks


Slide Rule
Asphalt Pavement

Wood Shingles
Electric Power Plant


Circular Saw
Concrete Block Machine

Air Conditioning

Welding Tool
Asphalt Shingles

Portland Cement


Fax Machine
CAD Software

Telephone  (Like device)
Calculator (Commercial)

Personal Computer

Tower Crane

Apparently no significant contributions associated with the advancement of building construction since 1975.

Comments welcome with any overlooked and/or additional contributions to the Building Construction and/or Real Estate Industries.