This game has many variations, but one of the worst is the basic game of change orders.

As a subcontractor, you are into the job and the scope changed or the drawings were finally completed and you were finally able to get the shop drawings completed. It took longer because the owner’s rep or the designers could not or would not make a decision.

Sometimes you have to submit a change order to help you cover the additional work that was necessary to meet the revisions. You submit them to the General Contractor as scheduled and a week later get a denial in no uncertain terms.   Read more » about Games General Contractors and Subs Play – Change Orders

When I was in grade school, we used to play “Crack the Whip” where one boy would act as an anchor and 5 or 6 other kids would form a chain, hold hands and begin to run usually counterclockwise. As the speed began to pick up the kid at the end of the line would go flying into the air usually taking a nosedive into the turf. I was a skinny kid and usually ended up flying through the air, fun until gravity played its role.

Later, as a teen at the roller rink or on the ice, we played the same game with the person at the end of the whip speeding at an incredible speed, but sometimes ending up being slammed into the boards. You get the idea I’m sure. The person at the end of the chain takes the brunt of the blow. This might be a fun game to play as a kid, but tough on the person at the end of the whip, especially when it is you. Crack! Bam! Boom!

General Contractors play this game with higher division subs when it comes to scheduling.    Read more » about Games Contractors and Subs Play: Crack the Whip

According to the Northern District of Georgia, a second construction company owner has been charged with conspiring to pay bribes for City of Atlanta contracts.

We previously reported that Elvin Mitchell, the owner of one of the largest minority contractors in Atlanta, was indicted for bribing city officials with over $1 million as a way to gain $10 million in City of Atlanta contracts. He pled guilty to those charges.

Now, a second contractor, “Charles P. Richards, Jr., has been arraigned on conspiratorial bribery charges for paying over $185,000 to obtain City of Atlanta contracts.”   Read more » about Games Contractors and Subs Play – Bribery 2

It is a game almost older than dirt, a “table stakes” game. Every contractor or sub has been tempted to play the game at one time or another to win a project. It is commonly known as “the grey bag,” or “this is the way it is played here,” or “I know that you are not the lowest, but…” or “if you will hire this consultant on the project, I will guarantee that you will get it,” or “if you will hire my cousin’s company as a sub on this project or that one, then I will help you get the project.”

The legal profession knows it as “bribery” and even though it continues on projects around the country, the downside risk if you play is considerable.

Two recent examples caught our eye. The first was reported in the Houston Chronicle. It involves a former Houston Independent School Board member and Chairman who, along with his co-defendants, were convicted of “tortious interference in a business relationship, bribery, conspiracy and a violation of the RICO statutes." The game involved collusion among the trustee, a contractor and a “consultant” to block the plaintiff’s attempts to get work from the school district. The game was that in order to get work, the bidder had to hire the consultant and pay fees.    Read more » about Games Contractors, Subs and Owners Play: Bribery

A recent post by Joe Paduda, principal of Health Strategies Associates, in his blog, Managed Care Matters, titled “Construction Labor Fraud is Screwing Everyone” was the second in his series on labor fraud and the damage it is doing to the insurance industry. In this issue, he interviewed Matt Capece, representative of the General President at the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, about how bad the worker’s comp problem has become in some key states like Florida, Georgia, Colorado, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Capece said, “When we go onto jobsites in Florida, on 8-9 out of 10 sites we hear from carpenters that they are getting paid in cash.” He indicated that subs and labor brokers in Florida are paying in cash with no overtime or any other benefits like vacation, worker’s comp or training. Usually they are also misclassified as independent contractors as well.    Read more » about Games GCs and Subs (Labor Brokers and Insurance Agents) Play: Worker’s Comp

This is another in a series of games we see on construction projects. Have any of you seen this one?

Most of us have heard that term applied to plumbing systems or negative feedback on our projects. Being at the end of the line usually means that you catch everything that falls apart above you in the job. This is especially relevant for this game on construction projects and schedules.

This game usually begins when the architects have incomplete construction drawings or the contractor can’t build something that the architects have detailed, and it has to be redrawn. It can also be caused when the owner’s rep, engineers, or GC doesn’t approve shop drawings for an order, delivery and install on time.   Read more » about Games Contractors and Subs Play – “It All Flows Downhill”

This is another in the continuing series spotlighting the games that general contractors and subs play. This one is called, “Sub Sub,” and it is found in a broad range of project types from residential to commercial and institutional. It happens in both the private and public sector. In other words, it is a widespread practice by subs who want to maximize their profit, minimize their risk and overhead, and who do not much care for the well-being of the workers on the job.

What is it? The Dictionary of Construction defines it as: One under contract to a subcontractor for completion of a portion of the work for which the subcontractor is responsible.” Sounds reasonable enough, but like the other games we will talk about, this one is regularly gamed in a variety of ways.

For example, take a hard bid or low bid job where a company with little or no field labor force wins a bid and then hires another sub contractor to do the work under the original contract and then that sub contractor hires 1099s or independent contractors from a “labor broker” to do the work that the original sub is responsible for.   Read more » about Games Contractors and Subs Play – “Sub Sub”

This is the first in a series of posts that will focus (sometimes with a bit or bite of humor) on the games that some GCs and subs play on your jobsite while they are working on your projects.

We are interested in exposing some of the dangerous, costly, and frankly, stupid practices in an attempt to make you aware and to encourage the industry to improve its practices in the future.

Let me start by relating a simple story that I saw happen on one of my first multifamily projects. Let me call it “now you see it, now you don’t.”

As a rookie architect, I was sent to a site in Dallas where a client was building a garden apartment project for our biggest private client. Not only was this particular developer the firm’s largest client, he was also the “most profit-minded client” (read cheapest).   Read more » about Games Contractors and Subs Play