Rule 1 - Your job is to make money. By building it safely, building it once and leaving a positive legacy.
“What do think your job is?”. It is a question I like to ask graduate engineers as they are starting in construction, because it helps to orientate them as they start life in the workforce and start in construction.
What is your job? Your job as a construction engineer is to make money for your employer, XYZ Constructions. You are not there for practice and you are not working for XYZ Construction Charities. XYZ Constructions is paying you a salary of $X with the intention that you return $(X+1). They are looking for a return on their investment, your salary.
With that reality understood, it is important to highlight that the best way to make money in construction is by building it safely, building it once (quality) and leaving a positive legacy.
Say you have two identical projects and on one project someone gets hurt, they have to build it twice and they allow pollution into a local river. Which project will make more money?
Fully appreciating the personal impact to those involved in a safety incident and the negative legacy it leaves behind, if you are worried about meeting program and budget then the last thing you need is a safety incident.
If you consider your project budget has a 10% profit built in and work gets affected for one week, then the project will need to perform at optimum efficiency for the next 100 weeks just to get out of the red and into budget.
The best way to make money is to do the job safely and avoid any loss time injuries.
Cutting corners is a short game, you may win once or twice but in the end probability always wins and you will have on your hands rework. So keep in mind and respect Rule 6 - The Six P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. By planning the works, communicating the plan, monitor performance of the plan and adapting when needed.
The best way to make money is to do the job once and do it right.
Legacy is about what you leave behind. A positive legacy is leaving things better than how you found them. And the legacy you leave behind is your reputation, your promise and your promise is your brand. If your clients do not trust your brand then you will soon have no work on hand. While it is important to live in the present, don’t loose focus of the long game.
Leaving behind a negative legacy for those that work for you, the clients that pay the bills and the community that will use what you build — which is often the case with construction projects — you will soon discover that: no one will want to work for you and you are only as good as the people that work for you; clients will not engage you and without clients there will be no money coming in; and your project will be known as the one. The one that polluted, the one that churned through employees, or the one that is falling apart.
The best way to make money is to leave behind a positive legacy. It is through that legacy that you add value. And if your client sees the value they will be happy to have you build something else (for the right price).
Check out the The Engineering Rule Book for the other rules.
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