Dear YouDig? Archives


Throwing Shade


Dear YouDig?,

We are a tree service contractor and some shady property manager is trying to give us a haircut. We don’t want a haircut. We like our hair AS IS.

We had a contract. We changed the scope through agreed upon change orders. We finished all of the work on time. No complaints. Now, a month later, it is time to pay. The manager is challenging our work and offering only 2/3 of the balance due.

A bunch of lies. The job is small and the legal cost of pursuing this would eat up the margins. Very Frustrating.

-Throwing Shade


Project Leadership – Find Your Quarterback and Win!

By John Swansinger, Partner in the Real Estate and Construction Practice Group at
Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs

Dear YouDig?

I am CEO of a mid-west  manufacturing company. At long last, those extremely tough times have drifted away. We are thrilled with our plans to construct a new state-of-the-art facility opening in 2021. The options for construction delivery methods have expanded since we were sacked in the recession. Now we have to choose between design bid build, design build, construction manager at risk, multiple primes and others.  What factors should we consider?



Overcoming FORO

Dear YouDig?,
I admit it. As an engineer I like to tinker. A few months in to a factory project our team tinkered up a change in the materials and the delivery system that would save the owner a bucket of money for just a little more time. Once we offered to split the savings, the owner claimed it was all a part of our fee … and then departed to the witness protection program. Is that what they call being “ghosted?” Give us a break– great ideas come at their own pace. We get paid to think. Where is the incentive to keep our brains on once the original plans are set? What can we do to create a “win-win” with value engineering?
-Fear of Rip Off


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