EP 146

The Future of Contracting Series: Why QS’s shouldn’t only have margin as their KPI. (EP 146)



This week, Paul is joined by his close friend and QS, Chris Barber. Chris is a Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) at C-Link and Prosper and a passionate advocate for subcontractors on his YouTube channel, School of Sub

In today’s conversation, Paul hosts the second episode of a new 4-weekly series titled The Future of Contracting. In today’s episode, we explore the topic of measuring QS performance and Chris shares why companies have to move away from only measuring QSs’ on financial performance.

This show will resonate if you are a QS or manage Quantity Surveyors. Paul and Chris reflect on their shared experience and quickly realise that the way QS have been measured for so long is fundamentally flawed if you want to discover how and what can be done about it, check the show out.


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I’ve shared a link to the eBook here: QS KPIs eBook.


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Paul Heming: Hello and welcome to episode 146, almost at the big 150 now of the Own the Build Podcast with me, Paul Heming. Today we’re four weeks since the last one, we’re returning to the future of contracting series today. I am welcoming back the CVO, Chief Visionary Officer at C-link Christopher Barber. How are you mate?

Chris Barber: It’s great. Am I the leader now or have I still got a couple more episodes to go?

Paul Heming: That’s a good question. I think you’ve probably got a couple of episodes and I’ve never acknowledge you as a leader. That’s for absolutely sure. So on these episodes, as you guys know, if you listen to 142, if you haven’t go back, listened to that before. Listen to this perhaps. But really the idea of these episodes is to talk about the future of the industry, talk about the future of main contracting, subcontracting. We’re a tech business, as you guys know, kind of leading the fight in innovation and change in really what we want to see in the construction industry. We talk about a lot of the things that we have put into our software. The software will save quantity surveyor 600 hours every single project. And more than that, it’s a thesis and a theory really behind why we’ve designed the software to be two-sided, main and subcontracted from our own experience. And we care deeply about it. And the future of contracting episode, I can’t say that, can I always get said the future of construction, future of construction or contracting. We’ll go with these episodes are all kind of based on why we set the company up and our thesis behind how we think construction should work. A lot of it has come from conversations we’ve also had through own the build with amazing guests and the listeners. But today what we’re going to talk about is something that my good friend Christopher has banged on about for a long time. If you listen to episode 142, it is not IRS schedules. Thank God we’ve moved on from that. We are going to talk about why QSs shouldn’t only have margin as their KPI. Now, interesting topic. I’m sure there’s a few QSs in there thinking what else matters. Oh, the other thing that matters is maybe program and blah, blah, blah. But we are going to get to that because I’ve already, there’s a few things springing into my mind when Chris raised this, but you can click the link, you’ll be able to see any eBook about KPIs, what QSs can be measured on that Chris has written himself and get his thoughts. But now we’re going to talk to him about exactly that. So Chris, first and foremost, what inspired you to write this white paper eBook about QSs and KPIs?

Chris Barber: I think it was born through frustration of never actually having a KPI whether or not if I knew it was doing a good job or not when I was a QS. I think. I think that is reason why I wrote it was, I didn’t even know what one was. I know it sounds quite naive, but I was like, I didn’t know if I was doing a good job or not. And took me back how we measure our business, our performance, our colleagues, et cetera. And standards we set for ourselves in terms of measuring. And it made me think God construction industries lacking that particularly SME sector. I know some of these bigger, bigger companies may have more robust kind of metrics and KPIs, let say. But I never certainly had any. But my kind of defacto one in my head, the only way I could justify my existence was…

Paul Heming: You could never justify your mate.

Chris Barber: Yeah. Is free. This was with margin, creating additional margin for the company. And like you said, I mean, QS is probably think what else matters really.

Paul Heming: Yeah. Well I take it back to my own experience. One of the things that forever stuck out to me when I was a trainee QS was my first boss said to me, a good QS on make back his salary. I won’t tell you what my salary was at the time because it was truly pathetic as a trainee QS. But he said you should make that back on this project. And I remember thinking, oh really? Okay. And so you talk about de facto KPI, for me it was money. So when I started in the construction industry, started at exactly the same time as a very close mate of mine. We both went into the same company, Harry, you know. And Harry was a project construction manager. My partner now Anna, she’s a project manager. So always had this difference between commercial hat and operational hat between QS and project manager. And I used to always think, God, thank God I’m a QS because when it comes round to appraisals, guess what? I can go in and I can say, remember that variation? I made all the money on that. Do you remember that extension of time claim? Do you remember this? Do you remember that? It’s really, really obvious. I made you that money.

Chris Barber: Tangible. Right?

Paul Heming: Yeah. So I used to always think brilliant that we’ve got that. Because I used to think about Harry think what can he really do? He can go and say it’s on time, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But it can’t really say, you need to give me X because I’ve made you Y. So it’s funny when you said, it shouldn’t be the de facto KPI, it took me back to when I was a young QS thinking it’s pretty great that that’s the KPI, at least we had something obvious. So take me back to, you said there, when I was a QS, I didn’t know if I was doing a good job. That’s not how I felt. I thought if I was doing a good job, I was making them a load of money. So that’s how I thought. Just talk to me then about, could you describe why you didn’t know you were doing a good job?

Chris Barber: Yeah. Just to touch on a different, a slightly different point before I answer that is the reason I feel that that defacto margin has just a big detrimental impact on the whole economy. Because if you’re just looking at money, that’s going to be the biggest issue, right? If you’re looking at money, you’re going to act in a certain way. But the reason why, touching on the point where you just said, why didn’t I feel like I was doing a good job? I think because each project has got its own limitations and advantage and opportunities. So if you are handed a job from the estimator and they’ve done a job, so I shouldn’t say, but you know, they’ve done a job, they’ve not priced it correctly. It’s got a rubbish margin. What do you do if you…

Paul Heming: Or if it’s got a scope app or whatever?

Chris Barber: Well, yeah, it’s been completely mispriced and you are getting judged on the profitability. How’d you know if you are doing a good job?

Paul Heming: That’s true.

Chris Barber: And each package as well has its own limitations as well. So you might look at, there was some quick easy wins I’ve done before where like overpriced by the estimator, the easy went on like a little small capacity.

Paul Heming: Yeah. But you keep that to yourself as a QS, did an amazing job.

Chris Barber: I know, but it’s not a true reflection, is it? Yeah. That is what I’m saying. It’s not a true reflection of is the QS doing a good job? And that’s why you can’t just look at margin like summaries. I remember a value engineering a package and I did a really, well, quite a lot to be honest. But there was one that really stood out to me where we’d priced it and I thought, well this is our CDP and this looks too far too robust in terms of the price and the allowances. We should be able to scale that back. And then through kind of ve in it with this contractor, I got to, I placed it for 50% less and it had no impact on the actual specification. And that was just through collaborating with the supply chain and getting to that point. That is what I mean by that’s like an intelligent way of doing it. Rather than just go out with out to tender, re-tender the package with some randomers, get a cheap price back and then just go, yeah, placing the order. They deliver an awful job. They’re late, quality’s terrible, health and safety issues. They’ve come back with a load of variations because there’s loads of ambiguity, but you are just going to set, sit there and go, I’m not paying you. And then what have you got left at the end? You’ve still got that margin left that you are justifying your role on.

Paul Heming: Yeah. Now I think that people will be listening to we going, yeah, obviously you don’t go out to the cheapest person, the cheapest price isn’t always the best price. Right? And they’ll be almost rolling their eyes at that Chris and saying, yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it. But I think you touched on an important point is the fact that you’re not told what your metrics are. I was told go and make your salary back and I’ll be pleased. That’s the metric I was told. It sounds like it’s a similar metric for you. Right? So obviously you are measured on did the job go well? Because if in that instance, you had procured someone awful and the job had extended, everyone would look at that package and say, that’s what killed the job. Well done Chris, you procured that, your fault. Right? But it’s not, you only did that because you were doing the right thing. You weren’t being measured on that decision making process, are you? So my question is to you, you say that obviously margin is an important KPI, it shouldn’t be the de facto KPI. What other things do you think can be brought into how a QS is measured?

Chris Barber: Yeah, so the industry has this tendency to rely on ambiguity to drive profitability. So that is the margin side of it, but that creates a whole load of other issues, right? The ambiguous nature of tendering purposely building in ambiguity to drive that profitability.

Paul Heming: Have you done that in the past? Because I have.

Chris Barber: No, no, because you know me, I don’t like conflict and I would much prefer do my work the front end and have an accurate picture than me issuing instructions, doing pay less notices, all these other things that come with additional admin later down the line. I’d rather put my energy in at the front end and make sure it’s comprehensive. Plus delivering the high end schemes. The focus is on making sure you are as comprehensive as possible. So in short, no, it is not an approach I took, but each to their own, right? So one thing that would highlight to me with the ambiguity is how much upstream variations you getting from your supply chain that aren’t client applicable. That would be something that I would look at as a KPI.

Paul Heming: What do you mean? What do you mean? Sorry?

Chris Barber: So, that would almost determine how high quality your tendering is and how comprehensive your tendering is and procurement.

Paul Heming: Okay. So I see what you’re saying. So just stopping there. I want to drill into that. So what you are saying is an interesting KPI would be, I’m the client, you are the main contractor, you have 10 variations to me, all of them are subcontract variations as well, which means 10 variations you get from your subcontractor. A 10 chargeable variations to me, a hundred percent rate of variations. Absolutely epic. You are an amazing QS, right? Because only when there’s a change do your subcontractors get a change, right? Versus there are 10 client variations and 100 subbie variations, which means that for every one client variation, you’ve got 10 subbie variations, which means you’ve got scope gaps with your subbies, which means you’ve got a 10% rate. I know that’s very simple numbers, but what you’re saying is, if I’m understanding that right, if a KPI was, how many of your subbie variations are you mirroring a client? You’re clearly a good QSs who’s done a good tender process. Is that right?

Chris Barber: Correct. Yeah. Because if you’ve not, like you just said, if you’re not doing a good tender process and being thorough and you’re getting the changes and the variations from your subcontractors, even whether or not you pay them or not, it’s just the volume. Like is there a consistent theme? Because then what that means is there friction on site, the subcontractor goes on the go slow because he’s not getting paid his changes that he thinks is due. Then there’s quality issues, that all spirals various different issues off the back of being the ambiguous.

Paul Heming: I’ve never ever thought about that once and I have managed many QSs. I have been managed by many commercial directors, commercial managers, whoever. Never once was that even thought up. I mean, trust you to go left field. But actually that is quite an interesting metric, isn’t it? Because it does show how comprehensive your tender process is. And you said to me then ambiguity is built in. That is the opposite of how you want to manage your process. You want absolute crystal clarity so that in the hundred variation example, maybe one falls through the gap that you miss because whatever happened. But there shouldn’t be any more than that. With me, the master of ambiguity, apparently if I’m probably getting 10 variations through that; my percentage is different. And if I was actually being measured on that, I can assure you that if it was me and you lined up against one another and you had a better, your procurement was better than mine, I’d go away and have a look in the mirror and say we’re going to change that next time round. So it’s actually quite interesting just how that conversation has flown out from here, because there’ll be QS listening thing. I don’t think I initial on that. There’ll be commercial directors listening, managing directors listening, thinking that’s an interesting way to do it. I guess then its how do you manage that? How do you build that into, but perhaps we can come to that. What else? So we’ve got KPIs being number one, margin obvious, number two, I don’t know how we’re going to call it, but we…

Chris Barber: Upstream variations. Well, non-client variations.

Paul Heming: Okay. Non-Client variation ratio. Right? What else?

Chris Barber: So I would then, I’m just trying to think of kind of that those 10 tangible things that you can, like the quantitative…

Paul Heming: Actually measure.

Chris Barber: Quantitative because I think it should be a two-step process. It should be a quantitative and then that kind of qualitative process too.

Paul Heming: Let’s do quantitative now.

Chris Barber: So in terms of the other quantitative ones would be, I kind of alluded into that what that actually does when you’ve got those non-client variation, the impact that has. So non-conformances that like quality issue would be ones. So how many non-conformances have being issued to your subcontractors that you’ve procured? Because essentially you’ve gone through a process. If you’ve chosen the cheapest or maybe the most not suitable person for it, there’s going to be high levels of non-conformance because they’re not the right people for the job.

Paul Heming: Do you think, I mean…

Chris Barber: I know it sounds a bit harsh, but…

Paul Heming: It is difficult. That one, isn’t it? Because I do hear what you’re saying. It’s about am I picking the right contractor for this trade? But I reflect on, and it’s different because I was largely procuring installers, but if I was being measured on their NCRs, I would feel uncomfortable. I’d feel it was almost a bit unfair. It’s more of an operational site thing to do. But then at the same time, why isn’t it a measure? Even if it isn’t your measure, Chris, you failed because they had 200 NCRs. Why is it not measured?

Chris Barber: Yeah, it’s the project team, right? I think. And the severity of them, so they could someone’s missing a boat on a window, that’s a big severe, right? And again, it does come to that procurement because there’s varying schemes and quality levels, et cetera that are required. But something where it’s really important are you saying to them, what is your quality control process? What process did you have in here? Like being, that’s that extra step of being thorough in your procurement and having those necessary checks and balances in place.

Paul Heming: Yeah.

Chris Barber: I know it sounds harsh, but if you choose the cheapest and just make a rash decision and just get someone on site, you’re going to highly likely going to employ someone who isn’t the right fit for the job.

Paul Heming: Yeah. And you know why it comes back also to QS needs to care; really, really care about even just reflecting what I said there about, it’s not really my problem, is it? Yeah, it is. You chose them, you procured them, you put them into a contract. You said this is the QA process that we’re going to go to. So yes, it should be, should it be the absolute, perhaps not. But even just recording it and saying, this is how we’re going to measure the quality output of that subcontractor. And it then feeds in what we’re talking about four weeks ago, doesn’t it, with that tender strategy piece of, we’re going to measure on this, we’re going to talk you at the start of, if you are one of our five subcontractors, we’re going to reflect and say last time round you had 184 NCRs of which 90 were serious, blah, blah, blah. Why was that? We’re not going to pit you again and you need to change and it all filters into it. So even if it’s not your KPI, Chris, it could be part of the bigger picture of your KPI’s. Kind of how I would see that.

Chris Barber: Yeah, that’s almost like a team KPI because what is the site and project manager doing about that as well? Are they going around, are they assisting with that QA process? And everybody’s bought into it then because there we making sure you know, almost don’t want to be following around on site subcontractor, but also making sure the subcontractor’s doing the necessary handovers properly and they’re checking it. It’s not just a piece of paper that lands on the desk and they sign it. Have they actually done the properly?

Paul Heming: I think it comes back to data, doesn’t it? And we’ll all be listening now thinking about that dreaded NCR schedule on the job, which has got, it’s an Excel spreadsheet, 176, I’ve got a fill in number line, a hundred seventy seven, a hundred seventy eight, end of the job disappears, forgotten about. No lessons learned ever is that, it’s just never happens. Because it was such a dreaded thing, let alone you actually say, well, hang on a minute. Who were these NCRs coming from? Why were they coming from somewhere? And I think that actually the point that you’re making, whether it’s QS or project is, it’s about data and it’s about reflecting on that data and putting it back to QS. You chose this guys 60 NCRs or whatever, how are you going to impact next time round and learn a lesson? And that segues me on fantastically to our advert where we’re going to talk about data and the importance of holding there as part of our software. So we will come back right after this break.
Christopher, we’ve done quantitative and I always struggle with this word. Let’s talk about the qualitative KPIs. We’ve taught quantitative. Again, it’s like Peter Piper, Peter Pepper, isn’t it? So talk to me about those ones.

Chris Barber: So this is, I never had any qualitative 360 feedback when I was a QS. I’d look at it kind of a 360 bit of a buzzword, I think. But 360 feedback between like three, let’s say of the key kind of stakeholders. So project team, client and the supply chain. So sticking with, let’s go with the first one, right? So the project team, so what’s really important is how have you engaged with that, your project team to deliver your aspects of the project and how’s it gone, essentially? And you could really delve into the procurement side of it. How much of a decision did, who made a lot of the decisions? Was it done in a collaborative way? Did you know were proper tender recommendations put together? And then the QS, the site manager and the project manager went, we’re going to go with that one. Was it a team decision or was it done in isolation? Because it’s done in isolation, you’re going to take the wrap for it. So my opinion would be you want to be doing it with a couple of people.

Paul Heming: Absolutely. So let’s reflect on that. Because so many companies will have lessons learned meetings at the end of it, right? What we’re actually talking about. So we’d reflect and say, well we should have done this package differently. Should have done that package differently. In terms of your KPIs, your QS, I’m managing you. How do I go about getting that? Do I go and speak to your project team and say, added Chris do on with that? Can you give me your feedback on him?

Chris Barber: Yeah, I think it needs to be done independently. So someone’s not really attached to the project. Someone’s responsible, whether that’s the HR or a commercial director or someone just should say, look, here’s the feedback form everyone’s going to, it’s not just be the QSs, it’s going to do it, it’s going to be the project manager, site manager, et cetera, everybody involved. And it would be that open, open way of just saying, look, this is how I think it went. This is areas that we, I feel that went well, areas we could improve on. And that qualitative then is, it gives, it helps make more informed decisions, I guess on the quantitative side of things, like, oh, they did that. She do a real good job there in the ve side. And then there’s one package that went a bit strange, but there’s a good answer to that. It was difficult with the client. Client changed their mind to and you could really start understanding any, the project in a bit more deeper, get a deeper understanding of the project and what happened.

Paul Heming: And almost actually what you are saying there then is that as a QS, so if you do a 360 degree review, right? So you understand what the project team thinks of you, like operate, like how the site managers, project managers interacted with you, what the client thought of you, what your subbie thought of you within reason, what margin you achieved. Then you also like how many non-client variations you had, like value engineering, all of these actual different elements that fall into the responsibility for QS. It would actually be really, really nice, wouldn’t it, as a QS. Particularly like the younger that you are and you’re trying to learn, you want to learn. And there we’ve just rattled off like seven or eight different metrics of some description. It would probably really nice to say really great procurement, really great at ve, there’s areas to improve when it comes to your client relationship or your subcontractor management relationship where clearly there’s a little bit of feedback and most people would be desperate to know about that and be desperate to think, okay, yeah, so my subbies thought that I’m going to change that next time round. Because everyone wants to get a better project, wants to deliver a better project, right? But the important thing being that you are saying is all you were ever asked was margin.

Chris Barber: Yeah. Didn’t even get a bonus either. So after all those—

Paul Heming: Didn’t do very well on the margin well.

Chris Barber: Yeah, question marks, but yeah, I never got the bonus that I thought I might get.

Paul Heming: We’re getting into the crux of this though. You didn’t do well on margin, so you wanted to get a bit of qualitative research. Oh, he’s quite a nice guy.

Chris Barber: He’s a nice guy. Yeah.

Paul Heming: Subbies loved that.

Chris Barber: Yeah. I actually got on really well with the supply chain. That was one thing I definitely excelled in. It’s also, you’ve got the voice in that 360. So you are giving it your kind of two pence on what happened in the project with a supply chain, and with the client. But also imagine what that could build with the relationship with the subcontractors and supply chain. Like having that kind of dialogue…

Paul Heming: Opportunity to say, what do you think of Chris? How did you feel you were true, it’s interesting, all of this, it still comes back to, oh, steal your little buzz phrase, a 360 degree view, right? But we talked four weeks ago, go and listen to episode 1, 4, 2 about humanizing the relationship with your supply chain. We believe in it, you should do it. And imagine, I know that the subbies that I’ve already spoken to on this show, if you gave them the opportunity to speak to someone in an organization and give fairly honest review of like how they interact on a certain job with a QS, they would love to be able to do that. Not to be able to say that QS was X, Y, and Z, but to be able to say look, I would’ve quite liked it if on this particular issue there was that one variation which ended up being a problem. If we talked about that more at procurement stage or blah, blah, blah, we’d have veed it with you, but we were never given the opportunity and then it became this big problem. Do you see what I mean? So actually if you are… It all ties back to that tender strategy we talked about a few weeks ago, right? Because if the QS has all of these metrics, which is actually getting feedback on actually understanding and being measured on, they will become better and your business will become better and will appear a lot better, right?

Chris Barber: Yeah, I think there’s one word here, its accountability. I think what that 360 does, it gives, I think people lower their standards in construction and how they behave. Because the way they operate on sites, and I’m generalizing a bit here, but I’ve been on many construction sites, subcontractor and main contractor lower their standards in how they interact with one another. And they do that because they’re not accountable. And what the 360 feedback will do will give it, make them fully accountable for how they behave. And also the looking at the quantitative side of things as well makes them highly accountable. Not because the margin you can go, well, job wasn’t priced, right? I couldn’t really make the money on it. But have you gone through like, what’s the other factors that are the metrics success…

Paul Heming: Of which there are many. Yeah.

Chris Barber: Which we just listed out. So it is that accountability, you could go, well job’s not making money, I’m just going to do a half-ass job, going to continue, there’s no point. You can still do an amazing job as a QS. You can still be an amazing QS on non-profitable jobs. And that’s where I think the industry needs to change and take a.

Paul Heming: It’s funny, isn’t it? Because even it has happened to me many times before where I would be pulled onto a job, which was a disaster. It was a blood bath job. You’d be pulled onto it; 65, 70% of the way through to steady the ship to save the ship, if that’s the right phrase. Where margin was almost irrelevant because it was gone. That job was dead. But you’d almost be brought onto that to steady the ship, relax the client, relax the supply chain, build the relationship, and just finish it off quietly and pragmatically. And that almost is that qualitative KPI. But again, I never went to my boss and said, remember that job that was trouble. I kind of said, you would’ve said I did a good job there, but you’d never thought I made you good money. That I was never…

Chris Barber: How did you know you were doing a good job? Did you do a good? I’m sure you did, but where’s the record of that ever happening?

Paul Heming: Yeah, absolutely.

Chris Barber: As the site manager done a review and said, Paul came in, really steadied the ship, did an amazing job. I’m so grateful for him being here, written down on a…

Paul Heming: And the subbies and the client.

Chris Barber: Yeah.

Paul Heming: And it was a good point because even I’m thinking I did do a good job, but I’m sure I would’ve done a better job next time round if after it, subbie client and whoever else had said, had given some feedback. And then I got some candid feedback because you can only ever build blocks. Can’t you get better and better each time and you’re not the, unless you’ve got an amazing manager and I was so fortunate in my career to always have a major amazing managers which helped me to accelerate. You’re not going to go anywhere. And even with those amazing managers, I never really knew what those KPIs were. So I think you’re actually making a really, really interesting point. I want to not change the topic, but just when you raised this with me, and I don’t know if you’ll remember this, but a few years ago, I think it was 2019, there was like this construction inquirer article written and this article, I think some people will remember it, it was, the headline was subbies under attack from a new breed of aggressive quantity surveyors. Right? And included within that, there were a load of quotes. Like it’s like these QSs are making bonuses on the back of how much they can scale us. It’s pretty depressing at the moment. There’s certainly a new younger breeder QSs who are drilled by main contractors to get back. We’ve even had one QSs say to us, it’s only 50 grand. Right? And it’s easy to say that when you’re a main contractor, not a subcontractor. And I remember seeing this article and it was a few years ago, remember seeing lots of posts about it on social media, oh, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. This is all for the world that we’re in now. And when you wrote this article about KPIs, my instant feeling was, is this what leads to subbies being under attack from a new breed of aggressive QSs? I don’t think that it is. I think that it’s a bit overplayed, this aggressive breed of QSs. But is there something in if your only KPI is margin that this can end up being the feeling in the sector?

Chris Barber: Yeah, I mean that’s at the heart of why I wrote it because if your focus is money, a margin, you’re going to act in a certain way. And what do those behaviors look like? They look like ambiguous tendering, creating lots of gray areas, placing orders with the cheapest, people have mispriced it, being overzealous and dogmatic on variations. Upstreams of your clients are destroying relationships with your clients, destroying relationships with your supply chain. And that is the big issue we’ve got as a culture in the industry. And I do think it’s because there’s no accountability and we’re all just focused on one thing.

Paul Heming: Money, money, money. Short term. Short term. Short term. So if you could offer somebody who is managing quantity surveyors right now or has quantity surveyors in their business, one bit of advice, what would that be?

Chris Barber: Advice would be dig deeper into the KPIs and understand how their true performance is and making them accountable.

Paul Heming: And so on that basis, I’m going to kind of list out what I’ve been scribbling down here. Point number one to measure is margin. It’s not the most important, but it’s up there. Point number two is non-client variation ratio. So how many variations and not going to the client and the subcontractor, they should line up.

Chris Barber: Claims not paid, just to let you know like because you know QS go, yeah, there’s no variations on this, but they’re just being really harsh on the survey.

Paul Heming: Yeah. That’s fair. Then you’re talking about NCRs like…

Chris Barber: Quality basically.

Paul Heming: Yeah. What’s the quality on site? It’s a really easy metric that isn’t it store that at the end of the job, measure it on the QS, put it back into the supply chain. It’s only a good thing to be measuring that and actually using it. Everyone is measuring it, no one is using it, at least in my experience, right? Then the next thing is going into the qualitative where you are talking about project feedback from supply chain, the subbies from the client, from my colleagues. Like how have I interacted? And if you gave me all of that once a project once a year, A, you’re going to be able to tell me where to improve and B, I’m going to improve. Right? So it makes absolute sense and I completely agree with you.

Chris Barber: Yeah. I think what you get out of it, there’s quite a lot of benefits as well, but ultimately job satisfaction, you would definitely get that. And because you can understand where you need to improve and it’s, you’re not just progressing just because you are the intelligent charismatic person in the room. You’re actually progressing off on genuine output…

Paul Heming: And getting better. And you are getting better as a QS, your subbies are appreciating your business even more because you’re actually engaging them, probably your clients as well because we didn’t talk about that. But if you go back to your clients and say, look, we do 360 feedback and we want to know what you think of our project team, how could we be better on the next project that we deliver for you? They’re probably going to be like, that’s pretty interesting. Yeah, we’d love it if you did, if you’d done X, Y, and Z and then in your next tender you’re going to say, you’re going to act differently, aren’t you? You’re going to do things in a different way and they’re going to think, God, these guys really mean business. We can build a long term relationship with them.

Chris Barber: It’s about having the voice, isn’t it? So like you just said, touched on with the client, if the client is, feels like they’ve got a voice where they can give you constructive feedback and a mechanism to do that, that would be great. And you might actually win a job even though the project didn’t go too well. They might think, I’m not using them again. They’ll never learn. That’s essentially what’s probably going through their mind. They’ve not delivered, they’re rubbish, they’re very, very kind of aggressive to deal with et cetera. And then if you say, oh look, can you give us some feedback? And they might say, yeah, I liked your submission how you delivered this extra, X, Y, Z but you are really, really cavalier approach on the extension of timeframe. I would’ve appreciated if you approached it in this manner. And it would’ve made the project flow a lot smoother.

Paul Heming: Wouldn’t the construction industry be a better place for this? And I actually, sometimes Christie bring things to me and I think what’s he up to? Who is this guy? But this one and I think these are the kind of episodes I love doing where I know for a fact because it’s seeping into my mind how I would run Construction Company, construction project, construction department differently. So I thank you for bringing it to me and I will say again guys, if you go and look in the show notes right now, you will see that eBook there. If you want to connect with either Chris or me and drill into this a bit further, ask us any questions, you can always do that. You’ve got the LinkedIn and we’re on paulandchris@c-link.com. So get in touch Chris, I’ll see you in four weeks and it is going to be episode 150, so you better bring your A game mate.

Chris Barber: Can’t wait. Thanks mate.

Paul Heming: Cheers mate.

Chris Barber: Bye.

Beyond margin - how KPIs can transform your construction business

Construction has a conflicted perception regarding the value of KPIs – the industry struggles ...

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