E-Bits

PDMi is committed to providing pithy information through our E-bits blog and we hope you find these articles useful.

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  • Brad Bollman

In the world of comic book characters, seeing through walls and above ceilings can be common place. But in Realville, engineers and architects can only dream about having the super power of “X-Ray Vision”.


We do a lot of renovation projects and I have learned over the years there is one thing that is a constant, you never know what you may find behind that piece of drywall. Many times we are called out to a jobsite to inspect the existing conditions of a wall or a header beam after the drywall has been removed. It is always the hope of the client that there are no major surprises once destructive testing is complete. Sometimes we get lucky and sometimes we do don’t.


Here are a few tips to manage those existing details that cannot be seen…

  • Produce As-Built documents – At the end of your next project, be sure to have As-Built documents produced. It will give a great starting point for future renovation projects.

  • Have a contingency account – The project budget for every renovation project should always have a contingency account to cover the cost of unseen conditions. Be clear about who manages the account and who has the authority to spend it.

  • Execute Fair & Solid Contracts – Understand all contracts between an Owner and a Contractor are about Risk and Reward. Be strategic about who holds the risk (the owner or the contractor) because where the risk is, the contingency money will be.

We may not have X-Ray vision, but we can help you through your renovation project. Give us a call; we would love to talk about how to make your next project a success.

  • Brad Bollman

We received a call from a client in June of 2020. As you may recall, our world had a few unknowns going on at that time. This specific client happens to own a large warehouse and he had a request from one of his existing tenants (a large national brand) to add on to the existing facility to accommodate additional product storage. The additional product storage was needed due to it being a very “hot commodity” at that time. We rolled up our sleeves and got to work on preliminary layouts and design, working alongside the warehouse owner and his tenant on what exactly they needed. It took a few months of planning to arrive at a solution that the tenant was happy with and would meet their needs.


Once the planning was complete and the tenant was happy, PDMi was ready to start design documents so that we could get competitive bids from the sub-contractors in order to break ground before it got too late in the fall. This is when the project slowed quite a bit. As I mentioned above, the tenant was a large national brand and there were many “layers” of approvals needed, above that of the local warehouse manager, in order to move the project forward. Needless to say, our window for breaking ground before winter was missed and the project never got started until late in the spring of 2021. Due to the setback, the project is now finally just WEEKS away from completion, but the product that the tenant so badly needed space to store is no longer such a “hot commodity”. It is still in demand, but not the way it was in 2020.

At PDMi, we often talk about planning, designing and implementing a project, all done in that sequence. The moral of the story is that there can always be outside factors that slow the process, even when you make your best effort to follow it precisely. Back in June of 2020, we did not anticipate a completion date of May 2022, but here we are ready to deliver a great product despite the schedule delays. The tenant will still get great use out of the new space, despite it being later than the local warehouse manager might have hoped.


If you’ve got an upcoming project that needs planned, designed or implemented, give us a call – we’d love to be part of your team.

  • Brad Bollman

This guy had a job to get done, and quite frankly he may get it done, but he is going about it the wrong way. The family van is not the right vehicle to haul a large tree from point A to point B.


This reminds me of a client that recently called us. They had an exterior paving and site improvement project at their plant that they wanted to get done as soon as the weather would allow. One of the facility engineers decided he could put together a scope of work document for competitive bids from contractors. It did not work out well. Because, like the guy with the van, the facility engineer did not use the right vehicle to convey his message to the contractors. The quotes he received from his document of general notes, a non-scalable plans & no specifications, were not complete and could have led to major change orders. His supervisor stepped in and gave us a call. We created a document that clearly conveyed to the contractors what the owner wanted done.


So how do you determine if you have the right in-house vehicle to get a project done?

  • Assess what existing documentation (plans, details & specifications) you have on file. If you don’t have good documents or a way to create them – you may want to hire a professional.

  • Assess the experience and abilities of your staff. If your staff has not successfully managed a project like this one – you may want to hire a professional.

  • Assess how busy your staff is. If your staff is already stretched thin – you may want to hire a professional.

PDMi would love the opportunity of helping you create documentation, manage the information and provide the effort needed to complete your project. We can be the right vehicle to bring your project home. Give us a call…