by Max Nuki
The candle never stops burning for a business developer in the commercial general contracting (GC) world. Success is dependent on a set of skills that goes beyond the limits of simply building rapport with a diverse group of owners and A/E/C professionals, but moreover starts the process of developing business by listening and connecting the needs of owners with teams of highly collaborative A/E/C professionals. It is the level of effort and the extent to which A/E/C professionals commit in forging collaborative relationships that is paramount to ensure owners’ imperatives are met and trends in the construction industry evolve.
The Value of Building Collaborative Relationships in the Construction Industry
There are three implicit imperatives that every owner requires for any project and these are to deliver construction projects: (1) on time, (2) at a reasonable price, and (3) at a desired quality.
From the inception of a project idea, the building of collaborative relationships is the cornerstone of meeting owners’ expectations. Without collaborative relationships between stakeholders at the beginning of a project, design questions flaws are quickly created, the workforce becomes confused, infrastructure and vertical construction waste ensues, project delays rear their ugly heads, and construction costs amass.
The Role of the Business developer in Promoting Collaboration among Project Participants
From the very first phone call, email correspondence, or a face-to-face meeting with an owner, an A/E/C professional, or even a happenstance interaction with someone who knows someone planning a construction project, the evaluation process of the business developer and the general contractor they represent begins within seconds; this is to say a business developer and their company can be accepted or rejected before they even know it. Referrals are the key for a foot in the door to any project, but the ability to create a long lasting favorable impression must be driven by a set of eyes and ears that can observe and listen to owners’ wants and needs. A consultative approach is a must for a business developer along with a helping mindset, but what is most interesting are owners’ calls for a high level of collaboration with all the stakeholders involved in the design and vertical construction process. It’s now that a business developer’s role becomes not only the master communicator and a builder of rapport, but a point person for setting the stage for owners and A/E/C professionals to collaborate and deliver on expectations.
What is fascinating is that even though the standard construction delivery methods along with their variations:
- Design-Bid-Build with or without multiple Primes
- Construction Management at Risk (CMAR) (also called CM at Risk and CM/GC)
- Design Build with or without Bridging or Public Private Partnership (P3)
- Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)
continue to be deployed in the industry, there is a growing focus on trends that will most certainly require even greater collaboration between owners and A/E/C professionals if the trends are going to sustain themselves.
Tracking Key Industry Trends to Better Serve the Owners’ Needs
Just as a business developer is a key player in promoting collaboration, a good business developer must understand how changes in the industry, both ongoing and down the road, will impact the owner’s needs. The following are the big picture trends that have been observed from the business development street corner.
- A call for greater collaboration between the disciplines; something similar to the IDP construction delivery method.
Source: Construction Institute – IndustryRedesign workshop by Fathom – 4/2016
- An increase in Pre-Engineered Construction (pre-fabrication and modular construction).
Source: PREFABRICATION: THE CHANGING FACE OF ENGINEERING
AND CONSTRUCTION – 2017 FMI/BIM Forum Prefabrication Survey
- Adoption of BIM technology.
Source: Building Information Modeling -InfoComm International – Brochure 2016
- Reducing construction waste.
Source: BUILDINGS – Smarter Facility Management – Diverting Construction Waste – 3/2014.
- Management of the workforce that is being impacted by the limited numbers of skilled trades people and the impact of millennials in the workforce.
Having a commanding grasp of these trends allows a business developer to use them to the advantage of the owners, providing a valuable service to their business, to the clients, and to the industry.
Max Nuki is Director of Business Development at Scope Construction Company, Inc. in New Britain, CT.
Source: US Markets Construction Overview 2017 – Featuring FMI’s Construction Outlook
Source: Millennials in Construction – Learning to engage a new workforce – 2015 Survey