Using Technology to Grow Your Construction Firm

Summary: Following some simple strategies can help you grow your construction company.

The barrier for entry for starting a business has never been lower. There are a number of resources available online that can take out a lot of the guesswork involved in starting something from the ground up. Even if you have not gone to business school, some digging around online can help you find high quality material, from affordable online classes to articles written by people who have experience in the field, that can help you get started.

Learn From Others

If you have an internet connection you have access to a tremendous amount of information. The good thing about this is that you can find information on nearly any topic imaginable. The downside to this, on the other hand, is that it can be challenging to sift through the sheer amount of information that is available. How can you decide what is reliable and what is not? The best way you can use the internet as a learning tool is to do your research and learn from different sources. A report posted by a reputable construction claims management company, for example, might be more reliable than a relatively unknown blog you stumbled upon.

Use the information you find to help understand different aspects of running a construction business and to familiarize yourself with the industry, as a whole. Not relying on one single source, but rather using a variety of tools, can help give you a well-rounded perspective. That being said, you need to find a balance between researching and doing. Experimenting, trying new things, finding out how you like to work, making mistakes, and ultimately learning from them is how you will build your intuition.

Stand Out Online

In the past, it seemed like the best way to grow your business was to advertise in-person or through print avenues. Today, however, there is great strength in using online tools to grow your brand and get people’s attention. Firms like Lyle Charles Consulting have clean websites that people can easily digest to get a feel for whether or not they want to do business with them. Creating a path of least resistance to the customers can be highly beneficial.

Having a robust online presence, such as through social media and online resources, can help attract clients. Even if the person who stumbles upon your content is not in need of construction services, leaving a good impression can lead to word-of-mouth recommendations.

How to Handle a Dispute Over Construction Materials

construction-bricksWhen there is a dispute in construction, work can stop altogether while both parties attempt to hash out the problem and recoup losses. First, construction consulting services should determine whether a claim is worth pursuing, then measures should be taken to expedite the claim and seek resolution.

Whatever the case, avoid trial at all costs! Trial is an expensive endeavor, and you’ll quickly find your bills adding up just to try and recoup your losses. You may have to hire a construction expert witness, pay court fees or find yourself subject to a ruling that goes against your interests. With this advice, you’ll be ready to handle any construction dispute as quickly as possible.

Determine if the Claim is Worth Pursuing

A construction claim analysis will show whether the claim is worth pursuing, and the answer is pretty simple. If you stand to lose significant sums of money fighting a claim, either through work stoppage or attorney’s fees, it’s not worth the cost of pursuing the claim. It’s ideal to recoup all losses, which is why documentation is crucial to successful claim resolution.

Failing to provide proper documentation might lead to mediation, where both parties attempt to sort out what happened and come to a conclusion benefitting everyone.

The end goal is to avoid trial, which usually leads to longer work stoppages as both sides settle their dispute. Work can rarely continue without some kind of resolution, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to settle disputes as quickly as possible.

Lyle Charles specializes in construction claim analysis for commercial and residential projects of any size or budget. Contact Lyle Charles to learn more about settling construction disputes.

Causes of Short Term Vacancies in Construction

short-term-vacanciesShort term vacancies can cause a serious problem for any construction project, and it’s important to come up with a contingency plan on how to deal with these types of unplanned events. Construction is very much a business where time is money, so be prepared to hire construction & turnaround services as needed to fill in some of these gaps. As you’ll soon learn, accidents and departures can be triggered at a moment’s notice.


By far, injury is the most common cause for a dispute and ultimately a work stoppage due to short term vacancies. Injuries can happen to anyone, it’s a myth that only the ground crews are prone to problems. A project manager could be surveying the site when an injury occurs, leaving an important vacancy in upper management that could be filled by a construction consultant.


Whether it’s the scope of work, changes to the project or delays in supplies, disputes can cause serious problems on site. It’s important to fulfill any construction claims management as soon as possible so work can continue. In some cases, it may even be more financially wise to accept an event as a loss and move forward. Every situation is different, but underestimating disputes quickly leads to lost money for all parties involved on a project.

Final Thoughts

Short term vacancies are not easy to anticipate, but they are easy to fix. Make sure you have crews on standby, and consult with more experienced consultants to help fill in the gaps. Sometimes, creating a better safety policy is all that’s needed. Evaluate your operation and look for gaps where these short term vacancies might create major problems.

Lyle Charles is a construction consultant with more than 40 years of experience in commercial construction, and a specialty in communicating with business decision makers.

Successfully Navigating a Claim as a Consultant

construction-consulting-servicesOne of the primary drivers of business for construction consulting services is claim management. Claims are fairly common in construction, and companies will use consulting firms that can quickly handle a claim. Your job as the consultant consists of three phases: identify the type of claim, gather documentation to complete the claim, and advise the client on next steps.

Identifying the Claim

Some of the most common construction claims involve personnel, but others involve shortages and work stoppages. If a refinery hires construction turnaround services, for instance, and the crew is late in their work versus the initial assessment, it’s usually going to be a claim related to work stoppage. The crew itself may have a personnel claim to file if their failure was the result of contractors not showing up on time.

Gather Documents

The backbone of any claim is the documentation, so you have to be careful in proving your case. Make sure you have receipts for the client’s purchases, and work orders documenting their side of the work. Look for key documents that prove what your client was asked to do, what actually happened, and within what time frames.

Advising the Client

In some cases, mediation or even trial may be the best course of action. You can step in as a construction expert witness at that point, to help argue the claim, or recommend a mediator for the client to consider. Remember, the client will be legally bound to abide by the outcome so your reputation is staked on these types of decisions. Carefully assess your client’s chances of winning a favorable verdict if he must move forward to recover losses.

Lyle Charles is a construction expert witness with 40 years of experience navigating construction claims, and assisting businesses of all sizes to resolve claims quickly and efficiently.

Smart Steps for a Dry Basement

 photo Smart_Steps_for_a_Dry_Basement

Ask any homeowner with a basement about their biggest fear, and aside from a natural disaster, you’re likely to get plenty of people citing water damage and flooding. Basements are prone to this kind of problem for a couple reasons. The most obvious is that so much of a home’s plumbing and water flow systems run in and out of the basement. Their position below ground level also means they can be humid, and the way the surrounding land holds and handles water can play a role as well. Lastly, since basements, particularly ones that aren’t finished, are places we don’t spend large portions of our time, a minor issue can more easily become a major one, since these spaces go unchecked for longer in many cases.

Luckily, there are ways to avoid these issues; otherwise we wouldn’t have basements in the first place! The first is to make sure you have a quality, functional sump pump, and ideally, a backup power source for it, should it go out during weather or an outage. There are other, more set-it and forget-it type strategies you can implement as well.

One of the best, both for helping to prevent water damage, as well as offering energy conservation, is wrapping your pipework with insulation. While it helps treated water stay at temperature, in the winter, it can reduce the chances of freezing, bursting, and leaking pipes. Non-absorptive materials like closed-cell foam can help insulate while avoiding rot and mold issues from condensation or humidity.

Lastly, if you don’t go down into your basement on a daily basis, checking on it more frequently can save you an incredible amount of stress and money if you’re able to spot an issue while it’s still small, rather than going to get your Christmas lights and stepping into two feet of water.

Article submitted by The Foam Factory, an online retailer of thermal insulation materials, including a range of closed-cell foam that call be rolled, wrapped, and fitted around pipework.

Two Methods to Settle a Construction Dispute Outside of the Courtroom

construction-disputeWhat do you do if one of the senior level managers leaves your project? Do you have any plans that you can put into motion? That’s where construction advisory services can help. Bringing your dispute to court can be a good final resolution if you can’t solve the dispute in another way, but there are methods to keep those disputes from ever seeing the inside of a courtroom.

Claim Resolution

The simplest method is construction claims resolution. Determine what the claim is, file the proper paperwork and wait for the dispute to settle. That’s where things get tricky. If you don’t have a system in place for gathering and filing important paperwork, you’ll quickly lose contracts and receipts. If you’re not used to project planning, make sure you hire a consultant to help you review the plans. One of the most common claims is not accurately foreseeing the scope of work.


Another method crews use to avoid court cases is to utilize private mediation. A private mediator is someone who is familiar with the laws surrounding the case, but not the case itself. Mediation is useful when you want to settle a dispute without burning bridges, and it often ends in an amicable agreement.

You need to prepare your documentation for mediation, and to get your story straight. Speaking with a consultant can help you if you don’t have a team in-house to review claims as they come in.

As a last result, you may be left with no alternative than to go to trial. In these situations, make sure you have an expert witness lined up to help explain your side of the dispute.

Lyle Charles Consulting has offered crisis, turnaround and short-term management solutions for commercial and residential projects for more than 30 years.

Experts to Consult Before Upgrading Your Home

Written by: Lyle Charles

Summary: Learn who you’ll need to speak with if you want to add a room to your home.

When you own a home, you’re always tempted to move or upgrade. Even when you install a new light fixture, toilet, shower, shower head or anything else around the house, your eyes immediately drift to the next thing that needs a little love and care. Eventually, some people face the choice of expanding their home or selling it and moving into a larger home. Usually, this is driven by the size of the family, but other factors may come into play as well.upgrading-your-home

In these situations, you might need to speak with more than one construction consultant to get things right. Here are tips and ideas for who you might need to speak to, and what they can offer to you.


Most contractors can recommend stone slabs for kitchen counters, but when it comes to adding a room it’s a different situation entirely. How can they tell which grade of steel will provide the longest lifespan, the safest supports and the ideal properties to add to your home? For that, you need a steel fabrication expert, who understands the process of making steel and can recommend suppliers.


You’ll need city permits, which means plans. That’s a lot of moving parts, working with architectural firms, city planners and inspectors. You might also have to get permission from neighbors depending on the area you live in. If there are any legal troubles along the way, a construction mediation expert will help save you time in court.

Not everyone will need all of these experts, but you should now have an idea of what to expect and how to budget.

Related Article: Frank Lloyd Wright Designed House for Sale in Los Angeles (Ennis House)

Related Article: Repairing and Improving a Home

An Essential Checklist For Industrial Fires Or Explosions

SS_14_0415PH_pic1_firesIndustrial facilities are always at risk of producing fires and explosions, as evidenced by the numerous ones that you’ve heard and seen on the news. These disasters can result in an entire plant going down in flames, hopefully without any injuries or casualties. But, if there were one to occur, there should be several protocols in place that will help speed up the recovery process and minimize the risk of construction delay claims and disputes.

Follow Up With Your Injured Workers

Following an explosion or a fire, there are many critical items that need to be considered. The first priority is the health of your workers. Were they hurt? How many fatalities were there, if any? Typically, governmental and industry agencies will open an investigation following a large incident. This gives the owner time to facilitate the rebuilding process and plan ahead.

Plan Ahead

In addition, these facilities will be decommissioned for a period of time. It’s important that all unaffected systems be preserved by following necessary procedures. Failure to do so could cause further damage and require more repairs to be made.

Assess Damages

Following the fire, the owner needs to perform a damage assessment to determine what is needed to begin the rebuilding process. This includes following up with the plant’s insurance carrier to ensure a quick and full recovery.

If a claim were to arise, the owner has several options on where he wants to go. Construction mediation is one of the most beneficial solutions, as most cases are settled relatively quickly and allow for the owner to continue performing damage control.

Bio: Lyle Charles is the President of Lyle Charles Consulting. Lyle is a structural steel expert, seasoned executive, business coach, and mediator. 

Tips to Repair or Replace a Front Door

Written by: ETO Doors

Front doors are one of the first things a potential buyer will notice about your home if you decide to sell. It’s part of your home’s “curb appeal”, or a measure of how attractive your home will seem to a prospective buyer. In this article, we’ll look at choosing a new front door, what you need to know to install, and some trends that dominate the market of today.

Measuring for Purchase

Front entry doors can be purchased as either a slab or prehung. Slabs tend to be less expensive because you’re buying less hardware. They are also harder to measure for if your door isn’t the standard size. Prehung doors, by contrast, are easy to measure for. Measure height and length from the outsides of the frame, then measure the width of the jamb.


Depending on your skill level with tools, installation is fairly simple. Still, many homeowners will find that hiring a contractor is only a modest cost compared to purchasing the tools yourself. If you already have those tools, then DIY is the best route to go. If not, then a contractor might just be the more affordable route.

Modern Styles Dominate

Modern is the big trend in front doors for homes, especially with Xeriscaping catching on. AS homes transition to landscaping that uses less water, the angular styles of a modern front door often compliment those landscaping choices. Modern doors also tend to feature more glass work, which lets light and warmth into the home.



What to Consider in a Construction Expert Witness

Construction Expert WitnessThere are numerous questions that you’re going to need to ask yourself when hiring a credible construction expert witness for your case. Your first priority should lie whether or not he’s truly suited for the case.

Consider Appropriateness

Beyond their credentials and hands-on experience, assess whether or not his knowledge and skills that he brings to the table works in conjunction to the case. For example, if your dispute is revolving around plumbing, you wouldn’t want to hire someone that specializes in roof fixtures. Remember, a witness that specializes in general construction areas are easier targets for the opposing counsel members, no matter their credibility.

Make Sure You Hire Early

If you’re hiring a witness, make sure you hire early. This way, you won’t miss out on what perspective they can offer you when it comes to the preparation of the case. Here, the expert will offer you advice or suggestions that could affect the result of the dispute. Listen to all of the technical details that he might provide. You’re also at liberty to ask what he believes will be the strong and weak points of the opposing side’s expert witnesses so you have the upper hand. Don’t skim on detail, especially when you have a substantial claim to deal with.

Also, it’s important that you give the witness time. They’re going to need time to write their reports, reflect and discuss the case, and consider the available materials. All of these factors play a large role in deciding the outcome, so be sure to speak with one of the many construction consulting services to discuss witnesses today.

Bio: Lyle Charles is the head of Lyle Charles Consulting, a consulting firm that has years of field experience in construction issues that will help move the resolution process swiftly and easily.