Dear YouDig? Archives


How to avoid a design-build debacle

Dear YouDig?,

We are a design builder. We hired a design team to do the preliminary design for our bid on a large DB project. We won the bid. Of course we warranted to the project owner that we would build the project, as designed, in a workmanlike manner.

Well, guess what? The design was a little too preliminary and has turned out to be trouble. The designer miscalculated several items (to the bad) and misinterpreted some of the owner’s objectives. The owner believes these missteps are unreasonable. Now, the dominoes are falling. The owner is sticking us with the cost overruns and delays. The designer’s misses caused us to underbid the project. The designer claims that they exercised reasonable care. Do we have to take the hit?

-Ohhhh Domino


Dog days – don’t fight

Dear YouDig?,

We are on fire this construction season. With the busy schedule comes a lot of pressure. Last week, during a hot afternoon stretch, one of our workers lost his head and beat the living hell out of a coworker. On our site. We don’t know why. The cops came. One guy went to the hospital. One guy went to jail (and was fired). Nobody saw this coming. Do we have exposure for this brawl?

-Dog Day Afternoon


Now batting … baseball, construction and life

Dear YouDig? Readers,

Baseball is back this week. We hope. (Dear Baseball, please make it back as Covid life is feeling a bit heavy). Like any great construction project (and life), baseball seasons are long and full of adjustments. Even MLB’s 60 games planned for the 2020 season without fans will require incredible coordination and strong performances from management, coaches, health experts and the players to succeed. We can hardly imagine major league baseball with few fans but we can remember when we played for the love of the game with a handful of fans in Little League. We know this, there are no fans at a construction site to inspire the grinders building our country. They just do it. In any case, winners keep trying to win every day with or without the fans; with or without glory.

Remember, you win the day by determining what are the best winning habits that respect the intricacies of life, the project … the game. You know that when you develop consistency in your habits you have a greater likelihood of success. Smart teachers or mentors have been communicating that to you for years. Have you been listening?

For construction, we know soooo well that to avoid legal heartache and to succeed on a construction project you MUST have precision in your bidding processes, discipline in your documentation, work together, keep each other safe, expect the unexpected and rapidly adjust, communicate (with the team, your suppliers and your customer) and be doggedly driven to succeed. Such is construction, such is baseball and such is life. In these times, Honor your habits. Smartly adjust.

Home Run = On Time Under Budget – YouDig?

Our wish for all of you is that MLB’s return will provide some much needed hope, enhance community spirit and help form the basis for togetherness in the future. Baseball has been around since… well, a long time. It has survived longer than our oldest elders.

Baseball shows up every year. Every day it battles, it adjusts and then it goes home.


Digging Freedom

Dear YouDig?

Freedom? The laws of construction sure don’t provide “Freedom.” It’s more like law prison.  What gives?



Manage Up the Nowhere Man

Dear YouDig?,

When we say we have a project team, we mean it. We seek input from all of our project players. Recently, we hired a highly recommended and accomplished assistant project manager on the belief that he would become an integral part of our cohesive group. Instead, he is as quiet as a mouse in our project meetings and frankly, everyone sees him as a place holder and there is negative chatter. Any suggestions on how to inspire change here or is a duck a duck?

-The Inspired