President’s
Message

Double Your Investment Returns in Less Than a Year!?

Keith Brubacher

Sounds too good to be true. Yes, if we’re talking about your retirement account or Wall Street returns, it IS too good to be true. To be clear, I’m not a financial advisor, and just in case my attorney is reading this I’ll add a disclaimer for good measure: “Individual results may vary. Past performance does not guarantee future results.”

I’m talking about how the Brubacher team of construction professionals advocate for our clients by helping them understand and manage risk. We do this by working together in the project planning process, collaboratively working through final design input and cost estimating.

Nothing is more frustrating than for a project owner to finally secure all approvals and financing, only to find out during the first week of excavation that the plans don’t work to tie into existing utilities. This often means delays, increased costs and change orders, and sometimes new designs and approvals to tie in at another location.

In years past when pipe, fittings, and precast lead times were shorter, the amount of lost time and money was less. Today, that special fitting to adapt to a different type of existing pipe or reconfigured precast design may be unavailable for months rather than days or weeks. Even more importantly, understanding the exact location of existing utilities ensures the contractor has the proper shoring materials on site when excavation begins.

The solution: Brubacher’s experienced vacuum excavation crews safely locate and expose existing utilities to verify location and elevation. They can work in tandem with the project engineering firm or our own survey crews to record the information for later reference. The modest investment for these activities is but a fraction of the cost of surprises later. A project owner, developer, general contractor, and design professional all can initiate this exploration, and the earlier the better. In fact, the pay-off can help counteract the high inflationary costs being experienced in every other facet of construction. The return on a few thousand dollars of exploration cost is often two, three, or even 10X when delays and unexpected change orders are avoided.

Any good engineering company will pull manhole lids to verify inverts, and they’re all required to place an 811 utility location call during the design process. That’s a good start, but it doesn’t reveal things like the unmarked concrete-encased buried electric main at the same elevation as the sewer or water main tie-in! (true story from August, 2022). Nor would it reveal the pipe that changed to a different style midway between two manholes due to a repair years ago. Neither would it reveal the 6” gas main that is 6’ deep instead of 4’, conflicting with the RCP outflow pipe from the first stormwater basin that must be functional before opening up the site (true story from 2018).

The Brubacher team has an unwavering passion to be a good steward of our client’s resources, sharing their insights gained from years of experience. We take no joy in seeing avoidable delays and costs increase for our clients. Involve the Brubacher team early in the project, enjoy the fruits of collaboration, and avoid the stress of ‘Combat Construction’!

Reach out to Brubacher’s Estimating Department today! Contact Us