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  • THE  GENERAL CONTRACTOR PRE-CONSTRUCTION SERVICES

    THE  GENERAL CONTRACTOR PRE-CONSTRUCTION SERVICES

    By Peter Babajamu
    August 30, 2022

    In the construction world, where there is a massive influx of personnel (skilled and unskilled), professionals from the Engineering world, and across construction technology, there lies a responsibility for proper coordination. A General Contractor (GC) is responsible for managing financial resources, human resources (sub-contractors, trades, vendors), and time constraints to complete a project. As simple as this sounds, it is a complex chain of events broken down to the slightest activity possible to capture and account for all areas.

    The first step required before construction could take place is the conceptualization of an idea. The client or owner has typically referred to, conceives an intention to improve their structure or/and infrastructure that will positively impact their business or way of life directly or indirectly. These ideas may include and are not limited to developing a new structure, expanding an existing structure, renovating a structure, procuring new facilities for infrastructure, etc. It takes a while to conceive and implement such ideas.

    For an integrated project delivery (IPB), the owner generally seeks the services of a group or company of licensed consultants consisting of an Architect, a Structural Engineer, a Mechanical Engineer, and an Electrical Engineer. Depending on the gravity and nature of the job that is to take place, other consultants may be required. The consultants help prepare and translate the owner’s expectations into detailed documents. These documents include project specifications, design drawings, contracts, and standard codes related to each deliverable.

    The first set of documents is not issued immediately for construction. Still, it is used as part of a tender process to allow the owner to employ the services of the victorious General Contractor (through a bid selection process). In addition, the first set of documents is required to obtain the necessary permits needed before the actual construction can be allowed to proceed.

    From the General Contractor’s perspective, the first step after receiving an invitation to bid (Request for Proposal) is the preliminary phase, usually referred to as the Preconstruction phase. The Preconstruction phase is the design phase where the General Contractor studies and understand the initial set of construction documents, prepare a budget, and provide a detail on the building methodology, schedule, risk, safety techniques, logistics, human resources, etc. required to execute the project. There are meetings from time to time between the owner, consultants, and General Contractor in other to foster communication about the project. The meetings usually result in issuing addendums adding new information or removing previous information from the construction documents. The GC usually requires assessing the existing condition of the proposed job site to aid budgeting.

    The preconstruction phase allows the owner to assess whether the project is constructible and helps to identify value engineering alternatives, green building options, and cost-saving options.

    It also helps in the overall selection of the General Contractor showing the highest level of capability and not necessarily the cheapest.

    The preconstruction phase can take as long as three months, depending on the size and scope of the job. Hence, the GC has a team that handles the requirements for this phase. The team typically consists of an estimator(s), procurement agent, site superintendent, a logistic coordinator and is headed by a preconstruction manager. The estimators are responsible for preparing the bill of engineering, management, and evaluation (BEME) or bill of quantity (BOQ) which provides a breakdown of the cost of materials, labor/services, and equipment for the project. The procurement agent handles negotiating and preparing the contracts that would be required in case the services of a vendor or subcontractor are required for additional budgetary information.

    The site superintendent, in this case, represents the operations team. They provide information on the general requirements, general conditions considered, and the logistics that need to be put in place to achieve the overall goal. In addition, they prepare the schedule and identify lead times which can slow down the project.

    The logistic coordinator is responsible for identifying and pricing priority equipment that dramatically impacts the project’s cost and time. Although they play a significant role in the construction phase, they are sometimes part of the preliminary phase.

    The preconstruction manager organizes the team, represents the GC in meetings, and organizes the final bid document (bid submission form, bid information form, prequalification documents, assumptions, and clarification).

    As soon as the bid document is submitted to the owner, the owner selects the General Contractor to execute the job based on several factors. Although it is typical and even a government requirement for public projects to select the lowest bid to remove bias, there is little freedom to consider additional factors.

    Peter Babajamu is an Estimating Assistant with Canadian Turner Construction.
  • Emotional Intelligence:Hallmark of leaders

    Emotional Intelligence:Hallmark of leaders

    Emotional intelligence remains one of the most prized hallmark of great leaders. How many times have you had to react in anger and frustration at your team members or direct support on their failure, poor performance and inadequacy in meeting the demands of their tasks? I bet severally; but how did you do it? Did you shout at them, banged on the table or even assaulted them emotionally? Most often, we do some of these in a bid to express our frustration. Unfortunately the outcome of our outbursts are negative impacts on all parties.

    Without a balanced emotional intelligence, an executive with excellent strategies, best training in the world, great innovations, an incisive analytical mind, smart and highly intelligent ideas will fail to make a great leader. It has been proven over time that people with extreme display of negative emotions have never emerged as  drivers of good leadership. We have several examples of highly intelligent and highly skilled managers who earned their promotions into  leadership positions only to fail at the job because of unbalanced emotions. It is also not uncommon to have not-too intelligent executives soaring at their new positions simply by their abilities to manage emotions intelligently.

    Very often many leaders realize at the end of the day that their outburst were way overboard. However, the damage would have been done and a damage control thereafter would not completely erase the effect. What then is the solution? Are people born with certain levels of emotional intelligence or do they acquire a balanced emotional intelligence as a result of training or life’s experiences? In other words, can emotional intelligence be learnt?

    Like leadership traits, emotional intelligence can be innate and also learnt. However it has also been proven that emotional intelligence increases with age in an old fashioned phenomenon called maturity. It is believed that as one grows with age and experience, there is a tendency to empathize more as well as deal with issues more realistically.

     It is nevertheless important to emphasize that building one’s emotional intelligence cannot happen without a sincere desire and determined effort. CEOs are to lead in the direction of emotional intelligence training of their staff. This is because emotional intelligence does not only distinguishes outstanding leaders but can also be linked to strong organizational performance. There is a direct link between an organization’s success and the emotional intelligence of its leaders and their team

    Daniel Goleman Identified five components of emotional intelligence at work that may also be applied to our private lives;

    1. Self-Awareness- The ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others
    2. Self-regulation- The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods. The propensity to suspend judgment and to think before acting
    3. Motivation- A passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status. A propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence
    4. Empathy- The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. Skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions
    5. Social skill- Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks. An ability to find common ground and build rapport

    All of these five components are recommended to be incorporated not just in the training programs of an organization but must also be considered in the recruitment and onboarding of new hires. Now this does not in any way replace the competency requirements of technical skills and relevant qualifications. Rather, it should be seen as a compliment or the icing on the cake for the making of an efficient workforce required to meet the demands of this age.

    It would therefore be unwise to think that strong  intellectual capacity, expertise and technical ability are not important ingredients in strong leadership. But they would not be complete without a balanced emotional intelligence. The fact that emotional intelligence can be learned is an advantage that leaders should explore. The process may not be easy initially, but like all learning processes, it will take time, dedication and commitment to the process. It will also take lots of practice so that even when we fail, we do not give up on the process. Ultimately, the benefits that come from having a well-developed emotional intelligence, both for the individual and for the organization, make it worth the effort.

    By Adenike Babajamu

  • INTERGENERATIONAL SOLIDARITY “CREATING A WORLD FOR ALL AGES” – LOCALISING THE SDG 2030

    INTERGENERATIONAL SOLIDARITY “CREATING A WORLD FOR ALL AGES” – LOCALISING THE SDG 2030

    PREAMBLE

    Youths all around the world today are facing different challenges, difficulties and obstacles that have continually threatened their existence and redefined their identities. While both developed and developing countries have high rates of young people with mental and social problems, the youth living in poorer countries like Nigeria have more severe problems because of their inability to access basics such as food, education, primary healthcare,  unemployment etc.

    The International Youth Day (IYD) is meant to create awareness of these difficulties, embark on activities with the youth to resolve some of these problems and empower them to participate in public life so that they are prepared and equipped to contribute to society’s development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

    The theme for the International Youth Day 2022 is Intergenerational solidarity  “Creating a World for All Ages

    Youths in Nigeria fall between the Millennials and Gen Z (majorly Gen Z) They form the highest percentage of the Nigerian population. They represent the future of the nation and are at that age when the past heroes of our nation took crucial decisions on the existence of Nigeria. They are energetic, strong, versatile but according to the National Bureau of statistics, youth unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 53.40 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020.

    This implies that many of our youth are unemployed, out of school, unskilled and economically unproductive. This notwithstanding, there is no doubt that the Nigerian Youth have great potentials and capabilities many of which are untapped and far below optimization.

    Statistics of Nigerians thriving in developed worlds particularly in the fields of medicine, health care, engineering and business enterprises are proofs that given the right environment, Nigerian youths will equal or even supersede their counterparts in developed countries.

    To create an environment for our youth to thrive, the solution lies in localizing the UN SDGs and making it attainable by year 2030. Unfortunately according to a UN report, this achievement have been set back by 4 years (globally) by the Covid 19 Pandemic. For us in Nigeria, we have been set farther backward by political instability, poor governance, the menace of banditry and the activities of Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, Niger Delta militants, kidnappers and a host of others.  The realization of the SDGs by 2030 (about 8 years from now) seems like a mirage and near impossible feat for our nation.

    This then mean that, while  the Gen Z generation (the youth) will be required to play a major part in reinventing our society, its success goes beyond them and a collaboration is inevitable to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. We therefore need to leverage the full potential of all generations as solidarity across generations is key to sustainable development. There must be an alliance  that will foster successful and equitable intergenerational relationships and partnership for the realization of the SDGs. We must ensure no one is left out or behind in the whole process.

    Intergenerational solidarity will help to break down harmful stereotypes,  bring communities closer together, synergise all efforts, dispel myths and create public space for dialogue. It cannot be business as usual for us as a nation. We need new approaches in education, workforces, politics, and socio economic development. While we all do have rights, we also have responsibilities. No generation can afford to remain on the fence.

    What we are saying in essence is that there is strength in diversity (instead of just peanuts let’s go for mixed nuts). Our generation differences should be our strength and must be harnessed to solve our Nation’s problem. We all need to put aside differences occasioned by age, technology, culture, religion, policies and outdated structures to build bridges that connects and break down the silos. The SDGs affect everyone. Hunger, poverty  and climate do not discriminate by age. In the words of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres “When young people are shut out of the decisions being made about their lives, or when older people are denied a chance to be heard, we all lose”

    We all have responsibilities and indeed no generation is dispensable.

    So firstly, How then can we bridge generation gap?

    It starts with accepting our collective responsibilities Our youths must not just be seen as leaders of tomorrow but more importantly as PARTNERS of today. They have the potential to effectively transform the world into a better place for all. Therefore they must be provided with the necessary skills and opportunities needed to maximize that potential.

    TO BRIDGE THE GAP THEREFORE , WE MUST

    1. Dialogue:
      1. we must be open to dialogue
      2. Avoid ageism against youth(discrimination against youth  )
      3. stop social stereotypes (old people are weak and old fashioned/ young people are rascals and lack experience)
    2. Dialogue must lead to mutual respect
    3. Youth-led organizations and networks, in particular, should be supported and strengthened
    4. Mentoring (mentor/mentee relationship) submit to mentorship. Governance is not family business.
    5. Communication channels must be opened, accessible and free
    6. Create a structure that works
    7. Invest in Education
    8. Increased participation in civic and political rights. The youth must be integrated into the decision making mechanism at all levels.
    9. Build skills and capacity
    10. Create enabling environment (energy, security, access to credit that will promote; entrepreneurs, agriculture etc.
    11. Proper representations in meetings, policy design etc.

    THEN WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE YOUTH? 

    Internationally and in the new dispensation our youths are blessed with great POTENTIALS. We must as youth leverage on this potentials to actualize the future we want to see. The youth’s  ability to think critically, make changes, innovate and lead must be put to good use through;

    1. Continuous engagement and awareness among the youth (all spheres, the SDG must be taken beyond the classrooms, town hall meetings to motor parks, markets. A team is as strong as its weakest link)
    2. Taking responsibility (end to blame games)
    3. Demand accountability and good governance. These include accountability from our fellow youth who are occupying position
    4. Pay the price of sacrifice. There is always a price.
    5. Resilience; a never giving up spirit. This “japa” migration syndrome will not help our nation. People only thrive where there are problems by proffering solutions. What solutions are our youth going to proffer in the developed countries? At best they will be one of the crowd.
    6. Embrace self-development
    7. Representation; This must also be demanded
    8. Take advantage of technology with an understanding that technology is a medium to drive change but not the change itself
    9. Driving social progress and inspiring political change
    10. Playing a significant role in the implementation, monitoring and review of the Agenda as well as in
    11.  Holding governments accountable

    FINAL NOTE

    To achieve the SDGs we must be ready to tap into the enormous potentials of both the young and the old. We need people of all ages to join forces together to build a better world. The Youth which form the largest percentage of the Nation and the world at large cannot be pushed aside. It is time to bridge the intergenerational gaps and connect the dots. It is only then that the Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved.

  • ….Year 2022

    Thank you for being part of our 2021 story. Let’s do 2022 together again.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY

    COVID-19 has redefined the future of work in every organisation

    •What specific skills do tomorrow’s administrators require to be accountable? •labor market is more automated, digital, and dynamic. •demand for technological, social, emotional, and higher cognitive skills will grow. •Greater responsibility for administrators to translate  expected to actual performance. Only what gets measured, gets done.

  • A peep into Year 2022: Are you business ready?

    A peep into Year 2022: Are you business ready?

    That the year 2020 was the year when businesses became truly flexible is no longer news. The year witnessed dramatic change in many businesses such that previously restrictive work concepts as working from home, digital transformation and work-life balance became acceptable and in many cases accounted for business continuity.

    Solutions such as online services, home delivery options, video conferencing and cloud computing kept businesses afloat. Business leaders had to make quick decisions; one of which was Pfizer’s ability to produce one of the first COVID-19 vaccines to receive Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in less than one year.

    The trick of businesses and many CEOs in 2020 was mostly adapting in response to the challenges created by the outbreak of Covid 19 and dealing with the consequences.

    With the year 2021, came a more aggressive trick of adapting proactively to the reality of the aftermath and continuous consequences of Covid 19 on businesses and the economies in general. The emphasis on digital transformation has become more intentional and not as a temporary solution as it was in 2020. Most CEOs have stepped back to review the spontaneous practices during the pandemic to see what works and can be adopted with many of such converted into policies and procedures that align with their corporate strategies.

    In this last quarter of 2021, it is time for CEOs to shift focus on the future by not just adapting to change but anticipate change and assess what changes need to be made so that their businesses will thrive in the coming year.

    Without any doubt year 2022 shall be a year of new opportunities  to be explored only by those who are ready. This last quarter is the most apt time to brace up so as to have an early start in the coming year.

    One of the areas that may draw attention of CEOs is the need for organization design; not reorganization or change of job tittles or job description but a redesign of systems, skills and strategy. Focus on the business strategy for the purpose of alignment may be required. In addition, systems must be designed to have clear policies and procedures which may be an offshoot of the post pandemic experience. To ensure performance the use of score cards, dash boards and effective KPIs are crucial.

    One other thing that the pandemic has taught business owners is that many of the answers to uncertainty cannot be found in management theories. The business that will thrive in 2022 must therefore be ready to introduce Agile working conditions, redefine work as an activity we do and not just a place we go and must be willing to create a work space whether  virtual or physical with matching appropriate practices, processes and technology.

    For businesses that did not transform in the year 2021, next year will not be too late to catch up on the realities of the time. While transformation is a major shift in the organization’s capabilities and identity, it should be a welcome disruption that is expected to deliver valuable and competitive results that will help the business to build organizational agility.

  • Ongoing research points to the possible launch of 6G by 2028

    While many of the developing countries like mine are battling with what to do about 5G and so called conspiracy theories, research is underway for the iteration of the 6G broadband with China in the lead.
    — Read on

    https://www.statista.com/chart/25794/6g-patents-by-country-region/?utm_source=Statista+Newsletters&utm_campaign=3e02085cfa-All_InfographTicker_daily_COM_AM_KW34_2021_Fr_COPY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_662f7ed75e-3e02085cfa-334587578

    The world is indeed on a wild chase in digital transformation and only nations that are forward looking are positioned to play in this high tech race.

  • Admin and Basic Office Operations.

    Today’s corporate organisations are saddled with the responsibilities of training and retraining their staff. Often times good hands are left out simply because of their lack of experience. Most modern organisations have come to realise that the so called “green” hands often become great personnel within the first year of hire.

    What makes the difference is the investment in orientation training and on-boarding programs structured to introduce new hire to the basics of the organisation.

    It is important that every new hire understands the structure of the organisation, his position in it and how he can chart a career path in the process. All of these are simplified in the orientation training.

    New employees must be introduced to the basic admin and organisational skills as well as simple office etiquettes that will help them adjust in the new role.

    This is what this presentation is about.

  • How to build a strong team- 10 steps

    Unfortunately we are in a generation where everyone wants to stand out and be in the lead. This has led to very many unhealthy competitions and rivalries in families, private and public organizations.
    Nothing beats team work in life. No leader can ever succeed without an efficient and effective team. Bob Morgan traces the success of the air force during world war 1 to team work. The story is the same today. Every real success in any endeavor is an outcome of teamwork.

    what is teamwork? Teamwork is the collaborative or joint effort of a group of people with a common purpose and objective, to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way. It include members ability to work together, communicate effectively, anticipate and meet each other’s demands, and inspire confidence, resulting in a coordinated collective action.

    While Teamwork calls for sustained leadership and goal orientation, the success or outcome of every project is hinged on the contributions of the team members. These contributions include their skills, capacities, experience and a whole lot of variables that will be harnessed by an efficient leader to realize the project’ objectives.

    There are many factors that determine whether an organization grows or not. Many of these factors like capital, prevailing economies, political environment and government policies are beyond the management or business owner’s control. However, there is one factor that nearly all business owners can control that may directly determine long term business success: hiring the right people, and coalescing them into a successful and powerful team.

    Strong and high-performing teams do not happen by chance or just by recruiting the best hands. They require careful cultivation from a team leader with a strong sense of team values, goals, and code of ethics. Without the conscious guidance and exemplary acts of the leader to the team, an effective team work is almost impossible. Find below 10 steps that have been tested and proven to help organizations create high-performing team.

    Establish expectations from the beginning. Do not leave your team to guesswork. Be very specific in your expectation of them. Create an organizational culture for your team.

    Identify individual strength and recognize them. As much as you want to have a strong team, recognize the fact that each member is a personality and areas of strength varies. Do not disregard anyone irrespective of their perceived weakness. Focus on their strengths and acknowledge them.

    Create connections within the team. Encourage members to relate with one another not just as colleagues but as people on a journey together. Team games, recreational activities and travels can help solidify relationships. You may for instance take team meetings outside the office to a tea room, a weekend at a resort or a games field.

    Exercise emotional intelligence. Be interested in team members’ welfare. Great leaders are emphatic. They show interest in the happenings around the lives of their team and do not just treat them as machines. Ask after their families, remember their birthdays, visit when they have health challenge.

    Reward excellent performance. Do not just openly acknowledge good performance, ensure such performances are rewarded. Rewards can be in forms of commendation letters, bonuses, vacation trips or promotion.

    Communication must be clear, unambiguous, consistent, continuous and documented where required. Do not assume that your team knows what to do. The communication line must be open and accessible. So improve on those communication skills; effective communication can keep working relationships strong for decades, while silence can break things apart very quickly.

    Establish a strong feedback channel . It’s not enough to communicate, you must create an efficient feedback mechanism and be ready to review constructive criticism. Every issues raised in a feedback wether positive or negative must be addressed and cleared with the team.

    Motivate Motivate Motivate. Great leaders create avenues for their teams to improve. Motivation helps a team to grow and perform optimally. It can be simply by the examples set by leadership. Avoid open criticism rather dwell more on individual strength. Positive reinforcement is a more productive manner of motivating team performance than shaming those who messed up.

    Encourage diversity, creativity and innovation . Do not stereotype your team. Allow creativity among your team. Remember they come from different backgrounds, experiences, ages, and opinions. Do not insist that things must be done in specific ways.

    Build trust. Create an atmosphere of trust by delegating responsibilities. Give crucial assignments and entrust your team to deliver.
    Great things in business are made happen by a group of people. Teamwork is the reason an organization thrives. No one succeeds alone. The strength of each member is the strength of the team.

    Adenike Babajamu (June 2021)

  • What do you read?

    I was a facilitator at the induction training of newly employed staff of a very reputable organisation in Nigeria recently. The subject matter was on Creativity and Innovation as tools for organisational turnaround. It was indeed a great time with the 170 trainees. In today’s e-world where machine is taking the place of human labour, the only survival strategy for any employee is to be able to go above what the machines can do. Artificial Intelligence notwithstanding, an employee who will survive in any employment must be creative and innovative.

    The need to do things differently and constantly think beyond the box has been over-flogged. The paradigm shift now is to think as if there was no box. Imagine the world is your space and you are limitless what would you do? When in the course of the session, the subject of sources of creative ideas was brought up for discussion, i asked the team of 170 trainees how many of them read books and to my dismay only about 15 of them were confident enough to signify positively. I was very specific in my question to exclude the Bible and the Quran because someone who reads a verse or two from the holy books would also claim to be reading.

    Its quite unfortunate that in this age of technology where you can store e-books on your phone and access to several e-libraries have been made easy, people still would not make attempt to read. What will happen to the next e-generation? The problem is not that people do not have access to books, it is simply that this generation have made a decision not to read. While i was growing up in the late seventies and eighties my siblings and i had reading competitions during our holidays from school. The bigger the book, the more fascinated we were.

    1. What then are our options if people will not read?
    2. How can we get our generation to be interested in opening their books again?
    3. Can the social media take the place of books in this generation?
    4. With the spate of fake, unreferenced information from the social media, how secure are information this generation is exposed to?
    5. How can we preserve knowledge and ensure it is passed on to people who will not read?
    6. What are the roles of parents, teachers, educational institutions and governments in improving the quality of the reading life of the next generation?

    I am aware that there are programmes organised by Association of Nigerian Authors and some NGOs to encourage reading in schools but what are the effects of these programmes and how has it improved the reading culture of Nigerians. Needless to say this trend is not just a Nigerian or African problem. In those days when you travel in aircrafts or even by road, it was not uncommon to come across co-passengers who had books to read in the course of the journey or while waiting at the airport lounge. This is no longer the case. All you see at such places are people pressing phones, tweeting, face-booking etc.

    Today the poor reading habit is impacting on the quality of graduates and employees that the society will make do with. All they know is what they are taught in school. They lack depth and are unable to apply basic knowledge to real life situations. I believe we can change the narrative and find a lasting solution if this conversation is taken beyond mere observations to taking drastic steps like introducing reading as a core course in schools at all levels.

    Adenike Babajamu (February 2021)

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