Avoid unpleasant surprises with T&M projects

by | Jul 28, 2021

Surprised by a larger-than-expected T&M bill?

According to industry estimates, Time and Material (T&M) projects account for nearly 30% of a typical construction project cost. They are often driven by changes that need a quick response to keep the project on track. Some examples are when different materials are used for flooring than planned due to unforeseen changes or having to add additional electrical outlets based on space configuration changes, etc. Additional work is recorded as a T&M estimate to be added to the project cost using the allocated project resources, (workers and subcontractors). T&M projects offer a quick and easy way to keep the project on schedule and avoid costly and time-consuming change orders. 

As a construction manager, have you tried to answer the following questions on your T&M projects?

  • Why is this bill so high?
  • Why are these subs on the job site during  the weekend?
  • Did that sub have four or six people on the job last week?
  • How long did that crew work on this job last month?
  • Is there a way for us to get a list of everyone that was on the job on a particular date? Why are we responsible for the overtime work of this sub’s crew?
  • Did this individual acknowledge our new jobsite safety before entering the site?
  • How do we know they were at the job site when they signed in?
  • Do we have any subs on the site that are not on the approved list?

But, we use the latest software tools on iPads

Despite using leading industry tools for managing most aspects of construction projects, getting accurate and up to date information from the field still requires time consuming data entry and the transferring of information based on one’s recollection or scanning paper records. 

Additionally, it requires supervisors and project managers to develop and maintain skills in the latest software tools. Despite greater spending and using the latest devices, getting quality data from the field remains a challenge. Below is an example of a daily log entry in Procore that  easily takes 30+ minutes to fill out on an iPad. And, it still doesn’t provide the information needed to easily answer the above questions.

Most of this work is performed by estimates and memory of those managing the project. Combined with manual data entry that most project management tools require for daily logs and reluctance of field users to capture detailed, accurate and timely information on the job site, these T&M projects can deliver unpleasant surprises such as higher than expected bills or unforeseen legal risks. 

A better solution

Solutions to this challenge must have the following capabilities to succeed:

  • Minimal time spent by the field to use the software and/or collect the data needed
  • No disruptions to existing tools and processes. Changes are hard! 
  • Minimal IT burden
  • Pays for itself almost immediately with tangible ROI.

Safe Site Check In customers have this capability without having to learn anything new,  set up additional software, or change how things work on the jobsite for just $79 per month. Instead of relying on someone’s recollection or combing through emails, incomplete project management reports or paper records, supervisors can use Safe Site Check In to provide a report of everything that happened on a job site every single day with accurate timestamps in minutes and in one additional minute, add it to the construction report in most project management tools. 

Here are some real-world results: 

  • General Contractor that specializes in TI and hospital construction
    • COO recently resolved a lawsuit by proving that the plaintiff was not on the job site as claimed. 
    • Head of Operations was able to lower one of their T&M bills by more than 50% by proving that the crew size was not as large and the work effort was not as long as the sub claimed in the invoice. 
  • General Contractor for building research laboratories
    • CFO was able to reduce the bill significantly by proving that the sub was responsible for paying overtime for their crew. 
    • Project Manager was able to identify several subs that worked on the job but not on the approved list of vendors to obtain owner approval and clearances to reduce risk and liability.  
    • Add this data to daily project reports in project management software to provide visibility for executives and owners.

Safe Site Check In is used by many contractors of all sizes at hundreds of job sites every day. To learn more about these and other customer stories, contact us at safesitecheckin.com 

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