Well, this is it, the last month of 2020, a year that has had just about everything. If Murphy could claim a year, this would have been it. This month, as part of a look into the "Construction Alliance" and the "Construction Guidelines", we will explore what keeps good ole' Murphy at bay during the construction process. "Progress Meetings" are critical to the success of the project, sure some things may still go awry, but can be quickly put back on track during these meetings.
Who attends progress meetings?
The Contractor schedules the meetings and records/distributes the minutes of the meeting to all project participants to keep them informed of the status of the Project. Other attendees who participate include: Owner, Architect/Engineer and other sub-contractors depending on the status and schedule of the Work.
What are progress meetings?
As the name implies, it is a regularly occurring meeting held at the project site, during the course of construction. Division 01, Section 13100 - Project Management and Coordination, of the Project Manual contain the requirements of the meeting. Depending on the complexity of the project, meetings occur daily, weekly, or bi-weekly, but at a minimum monthly. An agenda containing minimum meeting requirements is included and may contain one or more of the following discussion points:
- Safety: The Contractor is responsible for all safety on the construction site, this is the perfect time to highlight particular requirements and to address issues that may come up.
- Job Progress: Perhaps the most critical part of the meeting, it is important for all to know if the Project is ahead/behind or on schedule. Everyone will play a part in keeping the Work on schedule or catching up what has fallen behind.
- Upcoming Construction: Equally important to keeping the project on schedule is knowing what work is coming up for which trades. A perfect opportunity to discuss coordination items between different contractors and to verify preparation work is complete and ready for the next stage. Individual technical specification sections will also indicate whether the item needs to be discussed with other trades.
- Status Reports: Having all parties in the room to discuss topics like submittals, delivery of materials, longer lead items or items fabricated off site aids in keeping the Work on schedule.
- Proposed Changes / Problems and Conflicts: This may come a shock to some, but not all projects run smoothly! Sometimes materials become unavailable, or the Contractor has had better results using a product the design team was unaware. This is the perfect time to discuss a possible substitution. Or, what if during the course of excavation, a mountain of rock appeared between soil borings that took everyone by surprise. The Owner can be informed of the problem, discuss solutions with the Architect/Engineer and Contractor and come to a resolution or at least a path forward.
- Progress Payments: The second most critical part of the meeting is the Architect/Engineer walking the site, observing in place construction and comparing it to the progress payment. By doing this during or immediately after the progress meeting, there is no delay in paying the companies doing the Work. This is also why meetings must be held at least once a month.
- Record Documents: The project manual will indicate when, where and how record documents are to be updated. Typically, this is tied into the progress payment and must be verified by the Architect/Engineer.
- Additional Information: As mentioned previously, stuff happens on a job site. The result of which should be distributed in the form of an request for information (RFI) directed to the Design Team. Progress meetings are a good time to discuss the issue and resolve the RFI or create an RFI if an issue can't be resolved during the meeting.
Why progress meetings are important?
As you may have surmised, keeping the project on schedule and discussing issues is the primary goal for progress meetings.
The value of progress meetings.
To me, an Architect and Specifier, the value in the progress meeting is the collaboration and knowledge you can gain from attending one. Nine times out of ten, you will likely walk away from the meeting knowing more and being better at your job because of it. Think of it this way, Architects are good at design and drafting and Specifiers are good at keeping up to date about latest materials and technology. Who is better at knowing how those materials and technology fit together? During a progress meeting, you have access to years of knowledge and experience, why would you not take a minute and learn something you may not know. Ask a question. If someone is talking about something you don’t understand, chances are someone else doesn't understand either.
Till next month…
Steve Gantner RA, CSI, AGCMO, SCIP, CCS, CCCA
Senior Specifier - Conspectus, Inc.