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Blog – Mendel and Company Construction. Building. Relationships.

What our motto means to us. Building. Relationships.

In this video Nathan Mendel discusses the Mendel and Company motto of Building. Relationships and how it applies in today’s marketplace. Construction of a commercial property is an ever moving process with many different things that can go wrong and right. Make sure you are careful about who you decide to build your relationships with.

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C.I.N.G. and Homes For Our Troops

I am starting this weekend on a high. Yesterday afternoon our Construction Industry Networking Group (C.I.N.G.) hosted the Chamber Unplugged Event at the South Metro Chamber of Commerce.

It was standing room only as a capacity crowd of 200 showed up to what was the last Unplugged Event at the old Chamber location.

My wife made homemade brisket sandwiches and potato salad for everyone and it was outstanding (thanks honey!).

Ten or eleven of our CING members had tables in the back room to allow people to learn more about what they do in their businesses.

There was a great energy in the room as new connections were made, door prizes were given, and best of all, almost $200 was raised for Homes For Our Troops.

CING had decided beforehand to match any and all donations received during the event, which means that nearly $400 will now be available for this wonderful cause.

What a wonderful way to start the weekend! Thanks to everyone who came, and thanks especially to all the CING members who helped with set up, bartending, door prizes and more. Can’t wait to see everyone at our next meeting on August 16th at the new Chamber location!

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Common Courtesy Is Not That Common

I’m not really one to rant, but I will forewarn you that this post is rant-like. I’d like to think that this is an issue that transcends the construction industry. I’m sure that it does.

O.K., picture this. We are asked by a potential client who shall remain unnamed to provide a bid for an office renovation. We don’t bid a lot of work, but this project was different for us and in a good part of town, so we decided to accept.

We visited the site, sent drawings out to our subcontractors, did quantity take-offs, compiled bids, sorted through addenda, asked clarifying questions, and provided the most competitive bid we could on the day the bid was due. Pretty standard. This “standard” takes us an average of 40 man-hours.

This bid was submitted about three and a half weeks ago. I have followed up three or four times with the client with no response. I have called the architect. I have even gone so far as to call one of the other bidders (who happens to be a friend of mine; the commercial construction world is quite small) to see if he had heard anything. He had not.

Which leads me to the notion that Common Courtesy Is Not That Common. We understand that we cannot win every project, nor do we expect to, but I do not think it is too much to ask for a reply. “Dear Nate, you were too high. Thanks for your efforts.” This, while not being ideal, would suffice.

There are very few other professions where people are asked to spend this amount of time, completely uncompensated, for the mere chance of obtaining work. (This is another topic that I will cover in the near future.) But that is the bid world in construction. However, to not have the courtesy of a response, either in the affirmative, or the negative, is difficult, and is not how business should be conducted. If this were the first time that we had experienced this, I would chalk it up to some cataclysmic event that prevented this client from responding, but unfortunately, it is not, which leads me to the title.

Thank you for indulging the rant. I promise the next topic will be more positive.

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Is this the start of something?

We have been incredibly busy for the past ten or twelve weeks here at Mendel & Company. We have been bouyed through the recession by our niche in the medical / dental field, but in the last quarter we have seen a marked increase in the number of non-medical projects coming our way. It is too early to call this a trend, but I am curious if others are seeing a general increase in commercial construction projects.

Tomorrow morning we have a CING meeting (Construction Industry Networking Group) which I facilitate. We typically have forty or more folks from the industry, both with a commercial and residential focus and so my question to this group will be whether they are seeing this general uptick as well.

My gut-feel for the last quarter was somewhat reinforced this afternoon when I received an update from the Association of General Contracts (AGC) who tracked that construction employment in Colorado improved by 1.9% in May.

I will report back my findings from CING this week. If you have a comment or opinion on the outlook for construction in Colorado, I would love to hear from you.

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Setting Expectations For Your Construction Project

We had an interesting experience last week with a potential new client. We were called by a 3rd party Project Manager that had an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) practice that is building a new office in the Denver Tech Center. We have worked in the particular building that they are going into, and we were referred to them by the building owner. They are on an extremely tight time frame.

They asked for our qualifications, references, the project team that we would use, all of the normal items, and we provided them. We felt really good about our chances for this project as we had by far the most medical experience of the contractors they were choosing from.
We then had a face-to-face interview that seemed to go well. All of this occurred over a three- day period last week.

Monday the Project Manager called and let us know that they had selected one of the other contractors. I told her I was surprised as I knew we had more medical experience than both of the other contractors combined, and she replied that they didn’t consider this project to be a “medical project”. We spoke some more, said that we were looking forward to working together on a future project, and I wished her well with this project.

In now having 48 hours to think more about this exchange, I have come away with a couple of conclusions.

First, from my side, I should have asked more questions to determine where they were coming from. I can make excuses that this all happened very quickly. I can also say that I disagree with their assessment that this is not a medical project, which I do, and which the City will disagree with as well, but the fact remains that if they don’t feel that it is a medical project, then we should have approached it differently, and stressed our other qualifications with which they could make their decision.

On the other side, and I think this is huge, I think it is really important for clients to understand what they want, and then clearly relay that to their contractor. This client, it turns out, felt that they were building a “spa” that just happens to perform non-invasive medical procedures. So, while we showed them project after project of related experience, including several that were nearly identical from a functional and use standpoint, this did not register with them, as their issue was first-and-foremost aesthetic. We would have been better off showing them the numerous beauty salons, massage studios, and even a high-end knitting store that we built a few years ago, as this would have been more in line with the look that they were after.

Communication is a two way process, and we certainly failed on our end to accurately gauge what this client wanted from their construction project, but their lack of clarity causes me concern that they might not end up with a project that gives them everything they want as well, and at the end of the game, that is always the goal of all parties involved.

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The Power of The Positive – Part II

As I mentioned yesterday, I had another thought about the power of positive reinforcement while writing yesterday’s post, so here it is.
At the end of each of our projects, we do a job recap meeting with our Project Superintendent, Project Manager, General Superintendent, and myself. As part of this closeout meeting we ask if there were any subcontractors on the project that really went above and beyond (and there usually are).
Those that are mentioned receive a personal letter from me thanking them for their efforts and telling them that I appreciate them.
Well a month or so ago we sent a letter to one of our painting contractors telling him how happy we were with the project. (We do this via snail mail in case anyone wants to keep a hard copy of the letter for a wall of fame or a testimonial or any other use.)
Within two days I had heard from four or five people, the owner of the painting company, his field foreman, one of his crew members, a couple of my Superintendents, about how excited they were to get this letter. I guess it’s because we have gotten to a point in our industry where it is common only hear about the negative.
Getting this positive feedback from his company got many of the guys in my company excited, and this “buzz” lasted the better part of a week! All from letting someone know that they had done a good job and that we appreciated it. That is the Power of the Positive! and it’s contagious.
Try it. Let me know how it works for you.

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The Power of The Positive – Part I

I received the following quick e-mail an hour or so ago from a new client that we met for the first time yesterday.

As a quick background, he is not really our client, as we are working for the building owner on this client’s behalf, but he is the end user, and ultimately, it is important that he is happy with the space that we build him.

In any event, here is what he wrote me:

Frankly, after meeting w you and your crew, I’m confident all will go well 🙂

What a simple statement. This was part of a larger e-mail and he and I have been e-mailing back and forth coordinating a couple of details for his project, but his last e-mail wasn’t much longer than this, and, in my mind, was just another way of saying “I trust you.”

How simple. And how powerful.

After putting his confidence in my company, do you think I might make a little extra effort to make absolutely sure that everything on his project is taken care of? You bet.

We run all of our projects in an unbelievably organized manner, and our attention to detail is one of the things that we believe sets our company apart, but after receiving this vote of confidence, that extra effort will be made. When the confidence is given, it comes with a responsibility not to betray that confidence, and that responsibility must be taken seriously.

This reminds me of another story about the Power of the Positive, and how it is infectious. Tomorrow I will share that story with you.

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America Hiring Blue Collar Workers Again

America Hiring Blue Collar Workers Again

By Annalyn Censky

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Construction and manufacturing workers got some slightly better news from the government’s jobs report on Friday. Those industries each added 33,000 jobs in February. It was the biggest one-month gain for construction workers in nearly four years. And in manufacturing, February’s increase rounded off the strongest three-month winning streak in 16 years. But that doesn’t mean either industry is out of the woods just yet.

The above portion of the article came to me from the AGC weekly newsletter and it gave some food for thought. This talks about happenings in the construction industry on a macro level, and it is mostly good news. In case you didn’t know, the construction industry has been the hardest hit sector of the economy since the recession began, with unemployment reaching above 25%. It is currently at 21.8% and slowly getting better, which is good news.

At a micro level, this mirrors what we are seeing locally at Mendel & Company. While the medical and dental construction world has remained steady, due in large part, I believe, in their continued ability to receive financing, we have seen an increase lately in other types of work, like retail, restaurant, general office and other commercial work.

Tomorrow I will mention a few of the specific projects that we have started lately, as well as what this means in terms of prices for construction services in the near-term.

If you would like the link to the entire article referenced above, just contact me. By tomorrow I will learn how to post a link so that you can go right to it.

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Mendel and Company

From small tenant finish projects to large showroom or office space projects. Mendel and Company is dedicated to delivering the same quality service and high standard of construction to all of our clients.

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Building. Relationships.

With more than 200 medical and dental, and hundreds of retail spaces and restaurants, attention to detail is synonymous with Mendel and Company Construction.

3735 South Broadway
Englewood, CO 80113
P: 303.698.5628
F: 303.282.5411
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