EP 134

From Estimator to QS: How do you handover from pre-construction to construction? (EP 134)



This week, Paul is joined by Carlene Goodearl, the Lead Commercial Manager at Anchor, a provider of specialist housing and a Board Member at Women in Social Housing.

Carlene is a construction manager turned commercial manager. In today’s show, we discuss her journey in construction and focus heavily on her role as a client-side QS, discussing how to manage her Main Contract Supply Chain and the pre-construction phase, including the handover from Estimator to QS.

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Paul Heming: Hello and welcome to episode 134 of the Own the Build Podcast. With me, Paul Heming. Today we are continue our free download giveaway and I’ve linked an EOT template that I wrote a couple of years ago, and you can download it in the show notes as a subbie. In the past I wrote endless EOT requests, whether you’re a subcontractor or a main contractor. And today I’ve got a client’s QSs. So she’s going to like this, but unfortunately that is what we’re doing there. You can have the EOT template. Let me know if you’ve got any questions or comments. In the studio today, as I mentioned, I’m joined by a client QS, I’m joined by Carlene Goodearl, the lead commercial manager at Anchor, who are a provider of specialist housing and Carlene is also a board member at Women in Social Housing. Her career has taken her from being a construction manager, site manager, turned into a commercial manager. She listens to the show and she actually reached out and said to me, Paul, stop banging on about subcontracting and main contracting. We need to hear about life as a PQS. I remain to be convinced, but I’m only joking. Carlene, how’s it going? Welcome to the Own the Build.

Carlene Goodearl: What an introduction. Paul. Thank you very much and I am very, very excited to be here and talk about a client side perspective to everything that you’ve been talking to today. So thank you very much for agreeing to have me on the show.

Paul Heming: No, it was an absolute pleasure to have you on Own the Build reach out and say, look, I think you’re missing some of the point here and you should be talking about client Side QSing. And it is absolutely fair critique because as I probably bang on about far too much, mine was subcontractor. I spent a lot of time with main contractors, not a huge amount of time with PQS. So I am very glad to have you on the show today Carlene, talk to us about, I kind of tried to do a job there saying construction to site, to commercial, but talk to us about your journey and your experience.

Carlene Goodearl: Well, I was going to say that you covered most of it, but I can embellish on it. So I actually have a law degree. So I started off getting a law degree and for those who are lawyers or solicitors, listen to this, I am very sorry because I didn’t find it the most thrilling of occupations. And I went into site management whilst I was at uni.

Paul Heming: Whilst you were at uni studying law, you went to become a site manager.

Carlene Goodearl: I did. And when I say site manager, I must confess it’s just Tesco, refurbs, et cetera, around the M25. So it wasn’t your multimillion pound. Don’t believe that I was doing multimillion pound schemes while studying for a law degree, but…

Paul Heming: Still.

Carlene Goodearl: I realized that law wasn’t for me. Because every day in construction is different, every day produces different challenges. No day is the same and its fun and its exciting being on site and its interesting learning how things go together. So I did a lot of apprenticeships with some quite large contractors and settled for one contractor starting from an assistant type management, working all the way up to project manager. And then I became a bit of their defect specialist where they took me around the country to get retention back off of nasty clients like myself who didn’t release retention. Then that’s when I found Anchor, well, Anchor found me and they asked me to come and work for them. So I then became one of their construction managers overseeing some of the defects jobs that they had running my own projects. I then got promoted, so I oversaw the construction team and then I took a job in the front end and I think that you don’t really know how to do the front end until you’ve done defects in aftercare and really understand what goes into those problems. So for me it was, I’ve done all three if you like. I’ve done the onsite understanding how that works, how dealing with subcontractors know, then I’ve done the defect aftercares, understanding what contractors leave behind. Then I’ve done the building from a client perspective and understanding the stress and the intricacies of that and then doing the front end, putting contracts together. I must say that the hardest part of it all is defects because to stand up in front of particularly our residents, our clientele and say to them, you’ve got this problem and you’ve got to live with it. And trying to get a contractor back on SLAs is very, very difficult because these people have just come here to retire.

Paul Heming: Yeah. So talk to us a little bit for context. I know about Anchor, I’ve done a bit of reading about Anchor and we’ve chatted before, but for the listeners, what is it that you guys do?

Carlene Goodearl: So we are the largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care in later life. So just for context, at Anchor serves more than 65 residents across about 54,000 homes across the country. So it’s a very large company and we serve a lot of customers and our development plan has just been looked at. We are doing 5,700 homes over the next 10 years. 10% of that is outright sale, 45% of that is shared ownership and 45% of that is rent. So where before we were doing much more of a sale product, going more into the affordable market, and I think that that’s what contractors don’t realize that at the end of it, when we are not the client, the resident’s, the client, so every delay that happens on site, it’s very different to just house building because those people can just stay in their homes. I remember when I used to work with a sales director and he said to me that the biggest challenge, the biggest hurdle for somebody who we sell to is their own home because that’s where all their memories are. That’s where their life has been. That’s where their daughter probably got married there and got ready and any obstacle to that throws off the, I want to move. So any delay causes that tool spiral into, oh, is this the right decision? Is this how we should be moving? Is this right for us? Is it right to move to an apartment, we’re going to leave our garden. What happens then?

Paul Heming: Does that then impact how you manage the program and how you manage, I don’t know, delays, LEDs and stuff because it is a slightly different mechanism, like you’re saying, than house building for instance, in that there really is a drive to get people in because it becomes their home effectively.

Carlene Goodearl: It does. I mean, LEDs can be detrimental. If you impose LEDs onto a main contractor, the most likely scenario is they just filter those down the line so all of the subcontractors don’t get paid, which normally means that they start pulling off some of their labor. Well, that doesn’t help me when I’ve got people at the top of the chain. Because don’t forget, most of our residents are moving from their very, very large, in most cases homes and they’re the top of the chain of the mortgage. So everybody else below them is waiting for them to move first. That doesn’t help them get into their home.

Paul Heming: Okay. One of the questions that I had for you before I understood that you did a law degree was how did you go about going from site through to commercial? Like what was the thinking there now? I guess that that the grounding almost of being, having a law degree must have really helped you or make that transition, but was it something you always wanted to do.

Carlene Goodearl: The law? Yes. Yeah, it was, I mean I’ve got quite an inquisitive mind myself anyway. So it wasn’t that I just went, I’ve got a law degree that I can rely on my laurels now and that’ll be it. No more learning. So I’m studying for my Ricks at the moment. I’ve done various courses, various courses over the years and I think it’s very difficult to transfer, but it depends whether you have the basis of those transferable skills. And I do think that a law degree does give you though that basis of transferable skills.

Paul Heming: A law degree combined with technical understanding of site and operations on site gives you a very good grounding, I would say to be a good QSs. So there’ll be a lot of main contractor QS is quaky in their boots, just hearing about the prospect. All jokes aside, right. So I wanted to, our conversations were initially hinged on the fact that you said you don’t think there’s enough of a PQS voice perspective in the show. And I think that’s absolutely true and correct like a client side QS. So really interested to talk to you about that. How did working as a main contractor in the past educate you on working as a client side QS today?

Carlene Goodearl: Oh, massively, because you understand not only the tricks of the trade, you understand how things go together as well and the sequence of events, you can look at something very pragmatically. I know lots of QSs and don’t worry, it’s not a name and shame exercise. Definitely not, but I know lots of QSs that don’t know the fundamentals of how the program should work.

Paul Heming: You’re looking at one.

Carlene Goodearl: Oh, Paul. Oh, Paul, I’m neither going to disagree or agree with you, but I think that there’s a lot of PQS in particular that have always been a client side representative and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. But I think to be a really astute PQS, you have to understand what those challenges are of the main contractor because we’ve all seen the news lately. Main contracting is not easy. It’s not an easy task to undertake. It’s full of risk. It is not full of lots of profit. I’m not selling it to anybody…

Paul Heming: That’s endless risk. No, no, it’s endless risk. Isn’t it?

Carlene Goodearl: I’m not selling it to anyone who wants to start off a main contracting business, but you do have to pick who you want to work with and those people are normally the fair and reasonable people. And I’m not saying that we are fair and reasonable where we just have an open checkbook and everybody can just come along and go, oh, Anchor’s an easy client. It’s absolutely not that, it’s been astute enough to know what needs to go into the contract to manage both their expectations, our stakeholder’s expectations, understanding that our expectations, are you will deliver this, this, and this. Before we enter into contract with people, we take them to an existing scheme and say to them, this is the quality we’re expecting, this is what it needs to look like. And then we can have a reasonable discussion around that and what that costs to do. I know lots of contractors and not particularly for Anchor, but I know lots of contractors, they’ve got to this run up to practical completion and they weren’t aware of the standard that the client wanted. And I find that very bizarre because you should be engaging with people very, very often through the contract. But there’s a vast proportion of people, clients in particular that just turn up on a monthly basis to the client meeting and go, right, I’ve heard, I’ve heard what you’re doing design wise. I’ve heard where you are program, have a quick walk around, have a sandwich. I’m off.

Paul Heming: Yeah. And am I right in saying that Anchor is retirement living or later life living, is it higher end? Is there like a certain spec expectation that you have? Like you talked about people being at the top of the chain having selling their family home or whatever, is it to move into a nice standard of living?

Carlene Goodearl: Yes. So we have done those sorts of schemes where they’re very, very high end living. But one of the great things, well, I think and could do is they do tenure blind. So regardless of whether you’re buying a rental property, of buying a rental property, of course you’re not buying a rental property, you’re leasing a rental property. If you are leasing a rental property or buying a property, it’s the same specification. So why should we ask a contractor to give us a better standard for the outright sale than the rented product? Those people deserve the same, whether they’re cash rich or they need to rent their property.

Paul Heming: Yeah, absolutely.

Carlene Goodearl: And if you think of….

Paul Heming: And I…

Carlene Goodearl: Sorry, if you think about your family, would you want potentially your mother or grandfather or grandma or whatever to have a different property just because they’re not cash rich.

Paul Heming: Yeah, no, completely understand that. I like what you’re saying about your model and either way, your expectation as the client is that you have, you want a certain quality of products and part of your process, as I’m understanding is to bring the contractors to society, show them before you’re making any decision, this is what we want, this is what we spec, this is what we’ve designed, this is what we’re expecting you to deliver on. You’ve told me that your view, oh, don’t worry. It’s going to be, I think a simple question that your view is that the current market we are in, its summer 2023, is a contractor’s market. Could you explain what you even mean by that term?

Carlene Goodearl: I’m going to get shot dead for that statement. Paul, you’ve put a target on my back now.

Paul Heming: So on record, it’s on record now.

Carlene Goodearl: No, but I still believe it is however much all of my contractors will now be ringing me up saying that that’s not true. But we have to go out and test the market whether people want single stage or two stage. Now that never used to happen. We used to just send out a tender and people would register interest or bid on it. We have our own framework, which is, has been invaluable to us, but we still get declines on it. We go through various DPS systems, we get a number of declines on it. Their order books, the contractors order books are filling up quite rapidly with decarbonization and retrofit of cladding. And those contracts are mainly based on cost plus or variables or pain in gain. So they are much more appealing to a contractor that has slimmed down overheads and profits, et cetera, than a fixed price lump sum contract where you have to jump through hoops and quite rightly so you have to jump through hoops, but you have to jump through hoops for extension of times or proving relevant matters and events. You know, why wouldn’t you want those? I don’t say easier at all because they’re not easier because doing anything regeneration or retrofit is definitely not easier.

Paul Heming: No, but I think everyone understands what you mean. Yeah.

Carlene Goodearl: But commercially, it’s easier to extend the contract value than in a conventional sense.

Paul Heming: Yeah. No, that makes sense. I guess the question that jumps out to me is, and we’ve talked about this actually from main to subcontractor, it’s a very similar thing. A main contractor might say it’s a subcontractor’s market client, QSs might say it’s a main contractor’s market. I guess my question to you is, you talked about the fact that your competition in inverted commas are offering main contractors cost plus pain gain, like lots of different contractual arrangements, which may on, when you zoom out, look more attractive than the traditional fixed price lump sum. So what are you doing as a client to make your business, your projects attractive in what you perceive to be a contractor’s market?

Carlene Goodearl: Apart from applying them with booze before I get them to sign up to the deal? No, I’m…

Paul Heming: I mean that usually…

Carlene Goodearl: We don’t…

Paul Heming: I’m smiling and charm…

Carlene Goodearl: Be very clear, we don’t do that. We’re a not-for-profit organization. We don’t have the budget to apply everyone with Boo. I think it’s about the relationships and about being really fair, but that doesn’t, like I said earlier, that doesn’t mean being a pushover that just meet, that means them truly understanding our expectations. Lots of our contractors that are building for us at the moment are through repeat work. They’ve done one scheme with us, they’ve done two schemes with us and they recognize that although we are not a pushover client, we are always there. We are always there to support. We gave lots of our contractor’s payments during COVID to help them out even though it wasn’t recognized under a contract. So we did that to support.

Paul Heming: You know, I don’t think, just to jump in there, I don’t think that anybody wants a client who is a pushover. I think people want a client who is fair, reasonable, and professional, right? You want it to work both ways. You want to be recognized that you are not a pushover. They’re not a pushover. And if you are both doing the right thing by the contract, everyone I think goes into a contract thinking, I want to deliver this well. So if everyone has that same mindset, things will go wrong. They always do. But you’re all aiming for the same outcome effectively, right?

Carlene Goodearl: Absolutely. If everybody goes into a contract with their eyes open to each other’s wants and needs, then it becomes a lot smoother. It’s when you are not clear on documents or you’re not clear on what people can deliver. So we go back to the quality aspect equally. I take the prospective contractor to our sites, but we go to their sites. I want to understand that they can deliver what we’re asking them to. There’s no point in me signing up a small time contractor to deliver some schemes for us in central London of 30 million pound when they’ve never done that before. It’s just ridiculous. The values and the expectations of the scheme need to align between client and contractor.

Paul Heming: A hundred percent. Okay. Okay. So we’ve got the grounding of a really good conversation here. We will talk much more about this, but we will do it right after this break.
So I’m enjoying, I’m enjoying being educated about client side QSing. What I want to understand from you, and I know this from being a subbie, what I saw as you know, main contractors who stood out to me as main contractors, who you’d want to build a relationship with, want to work with, contextualizing it in today’s market conditions where you are trying to appeal to the contractor, widen your contractor’s supply chain, I guess to some degree, right? As the business is growing, how is it that you as an organization tried to be a client that stands out from the crowd?

Carlene Goodearl: I think it’s about being approachable. So I think there’s a number of things that feed into that, but I think it’s about being approachable. I mean, I remember when I worked as a site manager or a PM on site and the client would walk around and you would tell all of the subcontractors and everybody on site, all the clients coming and make sure you’re over there, make sure you’re over there and how many times are those people not approachable to when me and our construction team go on site, we are talking to everyone, the bricklayer or the plumber, oh, how are you doing here? How are you getting on with this? And firstly, you probably find out more of the truth. And secondly, it makes it personable. It makes it that they’re not just delivering this building for somebody that they never meet. They meet somebody and they can put a face to the word client. So I think that’s really important to go on site and talk to as many people as possible and understand what’s going on. And thank people, for example, we had a scheme in the run up to PC and every day I was down there because it was very local for me anyway. So selfishly I worked from there, but every morning I would buy the whole site team breakfast and go last push, come on guys. We’re really doing really well here. Equally when they cite teams or sites get recognized for awards or NHBC pride in jobs or good CCS scores, I not only get the reports, but I send it to their chief executive. I send it to the chief executive and copy in everybody and say, well done. You know, brilliant. This is fantastic and this really how we want our skins to be run and what a fantastic job you’re doing for us. And that goes all the way to the top. So the site team think, oh, we’ll send good news again. We’ll have those good conversations because it goes all the way to the top.

Paul Heming: The client actually cares and shares it internally with the people that matter on our side.

Carlene Goodearl: Exactly. And we run, well, I say we run, Anchor runs our team very non-hierarchical. So the site team can pick up the phone to our exec director of development. And I think that that’s right, that they can go, I know who that person is. I’ve had a conversation with that person. We’ve sat down and had a cup of coffee. And it’s about that making yourself approachable and making yourself very visible. Nobody benefits from a client that just comes down once a month because their expectations can’t be gauged.

Paul Heming: No, no, a hundred percent. And so you sound like someone who is very involved throughout the process. Are you someone who’s involved post-construction, pre-construction? Where do you spend the most of your time?

Carlene Goodearl: In my role at the moment is pre-construction. And I love pre-construction because I think that that’s what sets the train on the tracks, that’s what sets the expectations. That’s what I very much liken it to training a puppy because I’ve often trained a puppy. But that’s the grounding, isn’t it? That’s the grounding for everything. And if you set that contract and you set the drawings correctly and you set all of those foundations and the expectations, touch wood, it should be a relatively smooth ride. Interrogating the programs prior to entering into contract is something that not many people do. If a contractor came to me and said it’s 94 weeks’ worth of work, I know lots of PQSs that would just turn around and go, oh brilliant, let’s put that into the contract. But if you go through it, you could probably see where there needs to be a little bit of a buffer, et cetera. And where they’ve scraped on time and that’s what’s fed from me being on site. I know how long those activities take. And what I don’t want to do and nobody wants is for contractors to be set up for failure because that’s when liquidated damages comes in and things like that. And that’s when relationships break down. And I take it as a bit of a personal insult if liquidated damages are imposed and if somebody is that late, because not only have they not delivered, but I also haven’t delivered, I haven’t interrogated that program to understand how difficult those balcony details are, et cetera.

Paul Heming: Yeah, I completely agree. So I think what’s really interesting, maybe getting to the heart of the conversation now is so you’re someone who is very much involved at pre-construction stage, but you have lots of construction and actually post-construction experience with like the defect side of things, right? So you really do get it in a way that many people would be lesser experienced at the pre-con stage. So what I want to drill into is how you manage the pre-construction then. So you mentioned to me that you do a two stage tendering process, which includes two stages obviously, but the first being very qualitative. What do you mean by, don’t laugh at me. What do you mean by the fact that you do a very qualitative first phase?

Carlene Goodearl: So how we structure it is, it is a two stage, so you can laugh at me now. But the first stage, you’re right, is very qualitative. So we ask a series of questions and some of them are somewhat generic where it talks about how do you deal with gathering information for gateways or building safety acts or the golden thread, et cetera. And then some of them are very specific, so they talk about the scheme is nestled next to a school, so how do you deal with protection of children and public, but also engagement. So it is very specific to the scheme. So we ask a series of questions which are weighted, and we do that 60-40 with finances as well. So the 40% is, I write a scope of what I think they need to do during the PCSA period to get them on site. So that may be liaison with the person that we’ve bought the land from, that may be discharge planning conditions, that may be producing fire strategies. So I write a scope and I ask them to price that, and then that becomes the competitive element of it. We also ask them to provide us a cost of what they think the scheme is going to be to build, but that score is not marked. And the reason for that is I need to benchmark it in my internal governance reports. So I need to make sure that I’m not telling the board that it’s going to be a 5 million pound scheme and it actually turns into a 35 million pound scheme, but it gives me a steer of where they think they’re going to be given what documents we’ve sent out, et cetera. Most contractors try to stay within that figure because they don’t want to let you down because you’ve now, the PCSA is 14 weeks, you’ve built the relationship with them. At the end of that 14 weeks, they need to give you a fixed price. Most contractors want to stay within that price that they’ve given you on the outset because they don’t want to disappoint, they didn’t want to lull you into a full sense of security during a period. And ultimately everybody wants the main contract.

Paul Heming: How competitive is that process there? Is it two, three contractors? Like what’s your general sweet spot?

Carlene Goodearl: Three.

Paul Heming: Yeah, why three?

Carlene Goodearl: I think it allows you to understand how other people are tackling the questions that we’ve asked. We ask for logistic plans, et cetera, so we can see if people have better ideas. And what that does is it doesn’t just promote that we are looking just for cost. So everybody comes with different ideas and because we put more weight in it on the qualitative, it allows us to be a bit more flexible and say, this company have come up with this idea and this logistic works much better. So given three allows us to look at each contractor’s different experience and different ways to tackle the project.

Paul Heming: Yeah, I mean I always say this to a lot of the main contractors that we work with. You want to go out to three or four, I think max when its subcontractor packages, but not always focus on price, largely focused on the intelligence of each specialist trade around program, around logistics, around whatever it is. Because if you’re doing that, then you are actually getting, rather than just your view on a package, you’re getting another four voices or three voices and naturally each comes with their own idea. Each comes with a better way to doing it so that eventually the scope that you drafted on day one, which has now gone through this tender period is now refined. It’s a lot better, it’s a lot better, and it’s a lot better. So that when you’re placing it, whoever gets that contract is in a much better space and you as the client definitely are as well. Right?

Carlene Goodearl: I completely agree with you. I always say to lots of our contractors and people that report in to me, if everybody saw exactly the same as me, it’d be a really, really boring world and a really dull conversation. No, I know that I’m not a specialist, say in logistics planning or I’m not a specialist in working in some London boroughs with the tight constraints, et cetera. Or I’m not a specialist on asbestos removal for example. But there are loads of people out there that are, and we ask for their CVs during this qualitative stage because those people are put forward and they’re the people that you want to have on your team. You know, us very much see us working with contractors as a team. It’s not us and them relationship. It’s we are a team and us as a team need to deliver this project.

Paul Heming: Yeah, and it also mean it’s a bit like recruiting someone, isn’t it? You end up with a whole raft of CVs, you go through them. It might be that someone who’s a bit more expensive but brings that much more to the party is something that you manage into your own budget. I always think, I don’t always think, but often think that too much emphasis is placed on the financial side. Largely maybe because main contract margins are so small and it’s difficult and you are very money oriented, but the fact is that you’ve got so much more to bring to your project through the specialist, whether main or sub by bringing their intelligence into it and the more voices the better. Talk to me then about handover process from pre-construction to construction, because you’ve managed both aspects. One thing that used to wind me up the handover from estimators to quantity surveyor, it was something I always tried to manage when I was ended up managing the department. But what’s your process? How do you ensure that all of that effort, all of that energy that you put in during pre-con is not slowly, but surely evaporated over the first 10 weeks of the job going to the QSs or to whoever is actually managing the site?

Carlene Goodearl: It’s a really good question actually. And I think that lots of information, especially in previous organizations that I’ve worked in, is lost during this phase. This we were in Pre-con and now we’re on site and how anchor do it and how I like to do it is that the construction person or delivery manager, as we call them, construction delivery manager is appointed to that scheme very early on. So at the point where we get planning, they’re appointed. So even before the contractors come on board, they are sitting alongside us. And I think that there’s a difference between leading a project and being knowledgeable on a project and there isn’t that blunt handover. There isn’t, okay, I’ve finished my job, here you go, deliver the scheme now, bye, call me if there’s a problem. There’s not that, there’s a smooth transition and I think that those blurred lines are very needed there. So we have a scheme at the moment where our construction team, although they’re not actively doing anything on the project because it’s more in procurement contract stage, they are sitting alongside us making all of the decisions with us, feeling very bought in. So if there was ever a question of why that contractor got the job over that contractor, they were sitting alongside us, they were very much a part of those decision makings and they sit on most of the design meetings with us, they sit on all of the contractor interviews with us. And equally when it goes on site, it’s not that I just walk away and go, right, construction, you’ve got it on site. Now I’m going, we, me and my team go to the first three, four meetings, we visit sites. We are always there in the background because I think that it comes back to being a good client. A good client is an informed client and all of that history can’t just be lost because there may be a reason why that contract mends look like that or why the services are set out that way or the programs like that. It’s about that.

Paul Heming: And that delivery manager role that you talk about, or construction manager, project director, whatever it is, that person who is the operations lead, let’s say for the actual job during the pre-con phase, I’m guessing that they’re not 100% allocated to the project. Is it like one day a week or are they straddling two sort of?

Carlene Goodearl: They’ll straddle three. So normally they’ll have…

Paul Heming: Oh man, out.

Carlene Goodearl: No. I know we are slave drivers here, Paul, we’re not. But don’t forget it’s a client side role. So it’s not a project manager on site. When people in construction think about a project manager, they think about somebody who’s on site all of the time. We talked about earlier about clients that we know that have turned up just once a month. So if that person just had one job, then for the rest, the other 27 days or however many there are, if you don’t choose February, they’d be very bored, wouldn’t they? They’d be very bored. Our construction managers don’t do that. They visit site as a minimum once a week, but equally that’s still just one day a week.

Paul Heming: Yeah. That gives them the flexibility to manage multi projects from there. For you, what, like, I’m sure you’re very busy on the pre-con side, right? And I’m guessing your balance of work is far less onsite than it is for your delivery managers for instance. But you talked also about the necessity for you personally to have that lived experience on site of a job that you manage through pre-con. How is that just educating you on, I would do that differently on this job now that I’m managing it pre-con stage. Are you often seeing things that you think because you’re learning your product more or so on, that you are then that impacting the way that you then manage the next pre-con and the next pre-con?

Carlene Goodearl: Absolutely. I think that you can’t really, as I said before, you can’t really manage the pre-con unless you live at all of the rest. You can’t manage the pre-con unless you know how people are receptive to our products. So in defects, you can’t manage the pre-con until you know how contractors are receptive to how we’ve designed the buildings. So walking round schemes during contract stage or aftercare stage is invaluable. You can’t really understand what you’re going to put into another contract until you understand what the pros and cons are of what we’ve done. I try to go to site a minimum of twice a week, a mindful of that, I’ve also got a pre-con day job, but I do try to go to site twice a week and go and visit and go, oh, does this work with this detail, et cetera. It’s all of that learning that needs to be fed into the next one.

Paul Heming: I completely utterly agree with you and it’s too often missed, isn’t it? If you could give one piece of advice to someone managing the pre-construction to construction handover right now, what is that piece of advice?

Carlene Goodearl: Make sure your documents are clear. I think that lots of people think that just because you’ve handed over to someone means that they can understand your documents or the sequence of events that have got you to that position. Make sure your documents are really clear, make sure that you’ve got an internal schedule of derogation that says why you’ve moved away from that standard or that standard. There is never going to be a scheme where every single standard that every client wants can be achieved because that change from levels, heights of the buildings, mass in planning, you know what planners want, et cetera, grant funding. So make sure all of your documents are really clear and it shows why you’ve deviated from those decisions or how the contractor is going to look at value engineering or things like that. So make sure your documents are very, very clear.

Paul Heming: Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Well, Carleen, I feel like as I always feel on these shows when I record them, that you could end up sitting around for hours and hours and on end speaking to the interesting person on the other side of the conversation, but the show has come to an end. I will be sharing details of yourself, of Anchor in the show notes. If you’re a main contractor looking for a charming, charming client with whom to work. I think you’ve all heard that Carleen and Anchor are exactly that. But thank you so much for coming on the show and for taking the time to share your expertise with us.

Carlene Goodearl: Thank you very much, Paul. Thank you.

Paul Heming: And as always, guys and even Carleen might even be listening again next week. You never know if I’m scared her off. I will speak to you all next week.

Carlene Goodearl: I will be, I will be…

Paul Heming: Fantastic. We’ve kept a listener. There you go. Have a great week ahead guys, and I’ll speak to you all soon.

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