GO-PMO.. the alternative

PMO (Project Management Office) is rarely heard of being a method of delivery on behalf of an Owner, Corporation, Developer or even PM Agency. Given the great challenges in managing and administrating projects in Latin America. Setting up a PMO is one of the best methods to deliver a construction project. We have been promoting this initiative with our clients with substantial results since 2010.

People, Process, ToolsTo explain how a PMO works, first we have to identify the challenges that actually exists in the Management and Administration process of any given project. One of the most important challenges is that Project Management knowledge  and fundamentals are not that well known. Its not just about cost, time and quality; its about innovation, standardization, continuous improvement, even learning from past mistakes where sometimes is not an option for many but crucial for the Management of any given construction project.

The majority of the PM companies have focused on being executors, managing the project on a day to day basis without any type of platform, training or planning. This is the reason that many owners and developers have tried, with limited success, to implement their own “in-house management”. they rather take the risk themselves than pay for it.

The PMO will eliminate these risks, the PMO consists of having solid and continuous improved fundamentals that include: Training Programs; Latest Software and Tech Applications; Management Platform such as Management Information Systems, Cost, Time, Scope, Safety, Quality Management Systems, Organizational System as well as Human Resource System.

Doing the same thing and expecting different results never works, our initiative “GO PMO” has been a better alternative for our clients.

for more info contact us.:

www.pizaconsulting.com ; dp@pizaconsulting.com;

@pizaconsulting.com (twitter)

Damián Pizá, is a Certified Construction Manager (CCM); he studied his Masters in Construction Management at the University of Texas at Arlington; LEED AP; OSHA +30; Member of the CMAA (Construction Management Association of America) Member of the Emergent Technology Committee

Founder of PIZA Consulting, company that specializes in providing PMO; PM/CM services; Technology / BIM services; Training; Auditing as well as OSHA and LEED Certifications in Mexico and Latin America for Global and International Companies.

Corrupt CM Agencies and How to avoid them.

This year we reviewed over 700 resumes, interviewed 100 candidates and allocated between 15 to 20 very capable professionals for global and international companies.

corruption_347102_7Part of our responsibilities as Construction Management Consultants in Mexico and Latin America, is to provide to our clients the best and most capable resources for their projects. Most speak their experiences and its eye opening.

Corruption doesn’t surprise me, I have 15 years experience in the construction industry and is way to common. However, there was one candidate that told me she caught red handed a recognized CM Agency in Mexico paid off by the General Contractor. The GC handed Change Orders and over estimated items while the CM Agency was in on it. At the time I didn’t believe it, how can an owners representative (rep) could do such a thing?, but the more I asked other professionals the more common this practice has become in paying off CM Agencies hundreds and sometimes millions of dlls, affecting the project in a substantial way.

How can the Trustworthy figure such as the PM or CM be stealing from the very person that hires them?.,,,,, and why?.

Answer is obvious, this is too easy: the PM Rep has a free pass from the client, his recommendations are often blindly approved and his suggestions are also very much appreciated and respected, therefore, the CM Agent is in enviable position for this malpractice.

The reality is that it exists, and some professionals have told me that the % they have seen this is close to 50.

What do clients do now? Have a rep for the rep? It’s just ridiculous. For us, in our projects, we found our answer in Technology.

Currently we are using BIM (Building Information Modeling) with our clients, not only to provide the value we all know BIM provides, but also to avoid the risk of corruption and payoffs to CM agencies. The way we manage BIM is that it will detect any anomaly; any difference between what has been constructed vs. the drawings, or in this case the model; any overestimating as well as anything not constructed that is being charged.

I always encourage developers, corporations and firms to use BIM within their organization either in house or by contracting us. Not only they benefit directly from using it, it could also avoid a 7-figure loss.

@pizaconsultingwww.pizaconsulting.com ; info@pizaconsulting.com

Damián Pizá, is a Certified Construction Manager; he studied his Masters in Construction Management at the UTA; LEED AP; OSHA +30; Member of the CMAA (Construction Management Association of America) Member of the Emergent Technology Committee

Founder of PIZA Consulting, company that specializes in providing PMO; PM/CM services; Technology / BIM services; Training; Auditing as well as OSHA and LEED Certifications in Mexico and Latin America for Global and International Companies.

Concursos: La etapa mas importante y la mas descuidada

Seguramente haz escuchado que la construcción tiene 5 etapas: Prediseño, Diseño, Contratación, Construcción y Cierre. Sin embargo, cual es la mas importante? Cual es la etapa donde los inversionistas y dueños les cuesta mas dinero si no es ejecutada correctamente?


Algunos podrán argumentar que es la Construcción, es decir, la ejecución directa del proyecto, pero como uno ejecuta lo que planea, otros podrán argumentar que la planeación es la mas importante. En mi opinión la culminación de la planeación es la etapa de Contratación, es el vinculo hacia el inicio de la ejecución, esta etapa que incluye el concurso del proyecto es lo que puede hacer o deshacer tu proyecto y es donde se define si el inversionista o cliente paga mas o paga lo que debe ser.

Me ha tocado infinidad de veces ser invitado a concursos de obra para encontrar que estos están mal ejecutados, y muchas veces mal realizados, mal coordinados y sin un entendimiento de que están concursando. Y no estoy hablando de proyectos menores y de bajo perfil, estoy hablando de clientes globales, empresas importantes y reconocidas, asi como instituciones de alta jerarquía en el país.

El primer error que encuentro es la falta de conocimiento de las personas que ejecutan el concurso. El segundo error es la falta de experiencia en el tema y el tercer error es la inhabilidad de no reconocer que ocupan ayuda.

El “Concurso” tiene que captar lo que la etapa de planeación realizó de una manera muy clara y concisa de tal manera que se refleje en los documentos contractuales los cuales son la base de la ejecución del resto del proyecto. El equipo de concursos tiene que ser el mas experimentado de todos los participantes y la mayoría de las veces es el mas inexperto.

Urge que se contraten a profesionales con capacidad para realizar los concursos y actualicen sus políticas ya que ellas pueden ser la causa de proyectos fallidos.

@pizaconsultingwww.pizaconsulting.com ; info@pizaconsulting.com

Damián Pizá, Es Gerente de Construcción Certificado en EU; Maestro en Administración de la Construcción, LEED AP, OSHA+30 miembro del Comité de Tecnología Emergente de la Asociación Americana de Gerentes de Construcción (CMAA).

Fundador de PIZA Consulting, empresa que provee capacitación, certificación y consultoría ejecutiva a empresas globales en Gerencia de Construcción y Tecnologias aplicadas a la Construcción tales como BIM (Building Information Modeling), Web Based PM Softwares, Apps, entre otros.

Quien es el Súper Héroe de la Construcción?

superheroEn la mayoría de los proyectos hay fallas en el diseño, fallas en la construcción, en el tiempo y/o en el costo, y al que siempre voltean a ver como el “responsable” de todo esto es al Gerente de Proyecto o a la Gerencia.

Cual es la razón por la cual “culpan” a la gerencia? y lo que es peor, a la vez tomamos esa responsabilidad nosotros como Gerentes.  Creo es algo muy sencillo de explicar aunque no sencillo de entender, les comento:

Tengo 15 años involucrado en varios proyectos y no lograba entender como es que el peso total de la obra recae en la gerencia o gerente de construcción. Que nos ha hecho pensar esto? Que les ha hecho a los clientes pensar esto?

Primeramente en ninguna parte del contrato debe indicar que la Gerencia de Proyectos es responsable del diseño, de la calidad, tiempo o costo del proyecto, si en algún lugar indica lo contrario entonces están practicando “Gerencia a Riesgo” el cual NO es común incluso en Estados Unidos solo el 7% de los proyectos son practicados de esta manera y me atrevo a decir que menos del 3% en México.

Segundo, de lo que si es responsable la gerencia es de coordinar, administrar, controlar, liderar e informar de manera correcta y oportuna los riesgos del proyecto (pero nunca comprometer)

Estos puntos anteriores son la Teoría, sin embargo, lo que sucede en la practica es que la falta de capacitación del Gerente; el “YES MAN”; la falta de una plataforma de proyectos por parte de la empresa que provee Gerencia;  así como la presión del cliente  nos orilla a pegarle al “súper héroe” como Gerentes de Proyecto. Yo fui uno de esos “súper héroes” fallidos, les platico mi experiencia:

La gerencia es “presionada” por el cliente queriendo hacer todo para ayer, los clientes empujan y lamentablemente el gerente cede a responsabilidades que NO le corresponden, pero el concepto de gerencia en México muchas veces es mantener al cliente contento y a “hecharle todos los kilos para que sucedan las cosas”. Este fenómeno le llamo “El súper héroe” donde toda la experiencia y fundamentos de la gerencia de proyectos es tirada por la ventana. Es decir, en vez de Coordinar, administrar y liderar las inquietudes del cliente a los participantes del proyecto e informar correctamente al cliente, el gerente se vuelve un “yes man” y con esto llenamos de promesas y compromisos al cliente.

Las gerencias son responsables del proyecto de construcción? La respuesta es SI cuando mal informan, pero NO cuando hacen su trabajo. He llegado a concluir que los mejores gerentes de proyectos son los que ponen su trabajo en riesgo día con día. En lo personal y como empresario hemos tenido mucho éxito en nuestros proyectos simplemente por tener buenos fundamentos, plataforma y programas de capacitación donde hemos logrado sustituir el YES MAN por la COLABORACION con el Cliente.

Estamos dispuestos hacerlo siempre con el fin de mantener nuestras buenas practicas empresariales y profesionales. La pregunta es, estas dispuesto a dejar ser un “súper héroe” y mejorar esta falta de concepto que existe? Esto puede implicar incluso perder el trabajo cuando precisamente estas haciendo tu trabajo.

Si queremos empezar a mejorar la planeación y ejecución administrativa y gerencial de nuestros proyectos tenemos que empezar con estos fundamentos, de otra manera estamos condenados a los resultados de siempre.

@pizaconsultingwww.pizaconsulting.com ; info@pizaconsulting.com

Damián Pizá, Es consultor de empresa Globales y ejecutor de proyectos de Alto Perfil en las Americas incluyendo Estados Unidos, Mexico, Latam.

Director de PIZA Consulting; Gerente de Construcción Certificado en EU; Maestro en Administración de la Construcción, miembro del Comité de Tecnología Emergente de la CMAA; LEED AP y acreditado OSHA+30.

The True Key for Successful Projects

* This column was published “Integratec” Magazine

As a CM Agency & Consultant for Latin America, many US clients ask me what is the key to success in projects South of the Border? Well my response is very simple, its “Collaboration”

I believe Collaboration is the most important and critical discipline a project must have than any other management activity such as Leadership, Communication, Coordination, or any other Tool or Process or Procedures. Many could argue differently but at the end of the day you will find out that Collaboration is a Fixer of many causes of failed projects.

Fortunately or Unfortunately, the first 10 years of my career, i participated, one way or the other on Failed project. I don’t know if Failure is the word, but that is how it felt. My definition of Failed project is a project that doesnt finish the way its planned from the get go, not even on the same ballpark, also its a project where everybody is stressed out, and tension is high every week in the board room. During this period of my career i thought to myself “WOW do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?, this is not at all healthy, I really want to quit being a CM (who wouldn’t), this is not for me, how can anybody have fun in this nightmare”. it was terrible, everybody fighting, everybody yelling. And let me tell you , it wasnt one project or any other project, it was all of my projects for the first 10 years, and guess what, all of them were failures. My only motiviation was my passion to the CM practice.

It wasn’t until I ended up participating in one of my still current accounts (3 years ago)  that I started to notice that 90% of my Projects were succesfull, I just couldn’t believe we finished on time and on budget as planned months ago, this was a 180 degree turnaround.. we didn’t had the best CM Practices, we didn’t had the best CM leading or coordination or communication or even the best of tools processes or procedures, i actually can tell you that we had the same “weaknesses” we had experienced in other projects that were consider failures, but this time we had Major Collaboration with the Client, we supported each other, my problems were their problems and the other way around. There is an understanding about teamwork, and they (my client) not only acted as a collaborative client but also the contract was very risk proportional. (you will not have collaboration if the contract stipulates a barrier, because everybody will look for their own interests and not find a way to collaborate and solve)


So is Collaboration the key to success??  Well, many can argue that identifying the causes of the problems increases the success of a project, and that is true, but no project is the same, and therefore no problem is the same, so once the cause is identified it will be very difficult to turnaround the problem in the same timeframe of the project.

I believe Collaboration solves the cause before it becomes a problem, so my answer to the question , as we Mexicans say.. “A huevo que si” (Hell yeahhh !!!) (article original published September 27,2012)

@pizaconsultingwww.pizaconsulting.com ; info@pizaconsulting.com

Written by: Damian Piza, Certified Construction Manager, Masters in Construction Administration and member of the CMAA Technology Committee. LEED AP, OSHA +30.

Start from the Beginning

Recently I was invited to give a Lecture to the senior class of Architects at the Tech of Monterrey in Mexico. I spoke in regards to the Construction Management Practice, but also took time to suggest that no matter what professional career they pursue, they must try to start from the beginning, as easy as this sounds, it was actually very difficult for me, and so I begin to tell them my story:

I graduated as a Civil Engineer in 99 and my first job was a great one, it was a Management position with a respectable construction company, I was very pleased with my hiring; had the opportunity to grow quickly; good salary; worked 9 to 5; Monday through Friday, I also had a desk with free sodas and coffee (what else can you ask for?), I was 23 at the time. After a couple of years I started thinking that I had a good job, but haven’t really been on the field (on site), I was just having occasional visits to the site. Then, I  started to ask myself how things really work at the job site? I already knew what’s in the books, but what about what’s NOT in the books? I believe these were good questions and wanted some answers pronto!!

So I made a decision to start from the beginning, and started on a journey that was far from expected….

….I got hired as a Construction Field Supervisor, and during this time, I got into many strong argument with the field workers; saw people get beaten and stabbed (got almost beaten myself); lived first hand the corruption that exists in our business (at all levels); saw how unqualified workers got hired and how difficult is to hire qualified workers; experienced how people just don’t care about Safety except when there is an accident but its soon forgotten; saw many accidents and unfortunately two deaths on my projects (these fatalities will always live with me); Learned how quality can be covered up but also how to do a good job. Time slowly passed and worked myself to an administrative role with a respected global company that provided Construction Management Services, however, it was more of the same, no training was provided, no fundamental knowledge of any kind was given, safety was put at the back end, it all look great from the executive level, but inside it was just a terrible mess, I was very disappointed…. after some years I became a CM of my first project, pressure was coming from everywhere; I was dreaming about the job, it was literally a 24/7 job, I had health problems and again fundamental knowledge at this level was not there.

Sounds Scary? It was !!! but got my answers.. and after 10 years I knew from the inside how things operate, because of this I believe  I can contribute much better to our profession (I hope my clients agree:) I’m not saying that everybody should endure or do what I did, what I am saying is that in our profession as CM’s / PM’s there is so much to learn, so much to contribute, so much we can get better at, so much we need to fix.  I do believe that changes come from the “Top” (executives level) but change must start from the Beginning and if we as professionals do not understand it, how can we contribute effectively to it?

It took me 10 hard years to finally say that i dont regret my decision, I even wanted out of the construction business at some point, but im glad i stuck with it.

My advise to this future class is simple: start by putting on a hard hat, start from the beginning. (article original published October 11,2012)

@pizaconsultingwww.pizaconsulting.com ; info@pizaconsulting.com

Written by: Damian Piza, Certified Construction Manager, Masters in Construction Administration and member of the CMAA Technology Committee. LEED AP, OSHA +30.

Marketing your Construction Services

After a month i finally read Ted Garrison’s article posted in June 2014, titled “Marketing your Construction Services” (an interview with Rick Crandall), i would recommend this article that has to do with building relationships in business that equals = collaboration at work and repeating services, it also has to do with professionals that lack a sense of “Marketing” their business to boost up sales.

Read: http://www.tedgarrison.com/resources/garrison-report/2014-reports/2014-06-marketing-your-construction-services/

I relate to this article since I’m one of many Owners of a business that went from being a good professional to an Entrepreneur offering professional services. Many professionals, like me, think that being good at what we do professionally (in my case Construction Management), equals being good at running your own firm, when in reality they are totally different.

Although there are many traits you must learn to make a business successful, one of my “challenges” as an Entrepreneur is definitely Sales..i just don’t like knocking on doors and Marketing my services as a firm, many could argue that its easy, its simple, its just a lack of ambition or drive, but believe me, its not. How do i stay in business then? well this articles is a good boost to what I’ve always believed in, which is doing your Sales pitch by building relationships, doing good work.

Actually same thing happened to me when at the beginning of my career i started reading “Leadership” books of highly successful people that were “Performance Driven” in other words, had a whip on their hands.. i even tried to change my personality since at the time i thought i needed to be like them.. but after stumbling in Howard Schultz book i quickly learn i was doing it all wrong. (Thanks Howard)

This article reminded me you can still be very successful at what you do by applying your own beliefs, your own set of virtues, being who you really are. At the end of the day, success is what you make of it not what others think of it.

@pizaconsultingwww.pizaconsulting.com ; info@pizaconsulting.com

Written by: Damian Piza, Certified Construction Manager, Masters in Construction Administration and member of the CMAA Technology Committee. LEED AP, OSHA +30.

BIM: From COST to IMPORTANT INVESTMENT (application of BIM making the difference)

The most important Construction Magazine in Mexico “OBRAS”, has honored us by publishing our column on how we have become considered a Construction Item to an Important Investment to our Clients.

The use of BIM in our Management Platform including Administration and Safety has establish our services of Construction Management in Latam second to none.

Below the column published please scroll down for translation in English

            BIM 0 ChimpObras imagen 1Obras imagen 2

The 4 biggest disadvantages of a Designer, a Construction Manager or Contractor start with not having processes or procedures in place; secondly, not following them; thirdly, not auditing them and lastly, not updating them. In other words, everything circles around standards, manuals, methods which is the only way performance is increased.

BIM is not the exception, it is very important where to use it, but its most important how is being used. For example, we apply BIM as a big part of our Management Platform to our construction projects, others can use it for prefabrication purposes or even design purposes. No matter how you use it you must have processes.

BIM Pros and Cons: Knowledge> recently we’ve been invited to several bids just to provide very basic tasks of what BIM does, reducing all the value of what BIM provides to a minimum. This is a costly mistake, the lack of knowledge. For example, to provide BIM we must model in a software, the cost of modeling is higher if the BIM analysis is requested “basic” such as clashes or even rendering, thus devaluating the service. The cost of analyzing further BIM and providing other processes will increase the value of BIM substantially raising the benefits for a lower cost.

Training > Today there are many companies in Mexico that talk about BIM, this made me remember when Project Management was the talk of the day, everybody wanted to be a PM from that point on, also, many companies started providing PM services without any good knowledge of best practices or processes (in Mexico). The result of this was a devaluation of the PM service and lack of credibility. With BIM, something similar will happen, many companies will provide BIM without proper processes or methods, this will devaluate the service and will add tremendous risk to Investors. Training the professionals is key to value the service and do it properly.

Additional Cost> There is a general perception that BIM should be an additional cost to the project, this shouldn’t be the case, right now BIM should be used by all participants including Designer, Project Manager and Contractor its cost of implementation is less than the return that they will have in efficiency and effectiveness (All participants knowledgeable in BIM have an immediate return). For example, in our company, as Construction Managers, we do Constructability Reviews and also Review the Quantities of Materials, with BIM we are able to do this a lot more efficient and effective saving time, and therefore cost doing what we are suppose to be doing. Designers shouldnt be using 2D anymore, Contractors should be using Apps and Mobil Technology.

There should not be additional cost using BIM unless some of the participants do not know how to use it, then this is made “by others”

What was always viewed as a cost to the project now we are viewed as an investment. We average between 5% to 15% of cost savings, we have also recorded 20% savings on time applying BIM properly and we are getting better and better each time.

BIM is a cultural revolution and the direct benefactor is the Project and Project participants that use it. It can be implemented in any type of project big, small, complex, less complex, with direct benefits, indirect benefits, cost or no cost, tangible or intangible benefits. However, more than a tool it is a process, it’s a methodology; a mindset that requires planning, implementation, update and training.

@pizaconsultingwww.pizaconsulting.com ; info@pizaconsulting.com

Written by: Damian Piza, Certified Construction Manager, Masters in Construction Administration and member of the CMAA Technology Committee. LEED AP, OSHA +30.

Who do you represent?

“Who do you represent?” one of my clients asked me this question at a project steering committee. Probably he expected another answer from me, especially in the place we were at the time, but he asked, I answered, everybody was shocked.

Just before I answered this important question, some other possible answers crossed my mind and I thought every one of them was valid in some way. One of the answers could have been that I represent “The client”, probably the most obvious and probably what he expected to hear, however that’s not necessarily the truth. I pay attention to what my client says, but I don’t always agree with him. For instance, not paying the contractor on time and still expecting the contractor to finish in a timely manner ?? (you know who you are)

My other answer could have been that I represent “The Company” that I work for, this is also true, however I don’t agree in taking sides and defend a position when I know its not the right thing to do (it happens often).

Probably my closest answer would be that I represent “The Project”. I like this answer and I lived by it for several years. I believe that representing the Project enhances collaboration and decision-making rather than own interests of either the client or my employer or any other participant. However this is an incomplete answer, a lot more is put into a project than just contractual obligations. A lot more bigger above any companies interests it’s at stake, such as team work, values and beliefs of every individual that is participating in the project, we know what is written in the contractual documents but equally as important is the unwritten clauses such as collaboration, values, doing what is right even if it plays against your company or the contractual wording.

So who do I represent? I think in a balance way I represent my client, my company, the project, however more than that, I represent “Myself”, my beliefs, my judgment, my ethics put into every project. So that is exactly what I answered back.

I believe if we start looking above the contract terms and into our own set of values, projects will have a lot more collaboration, a lot more teamwork, and thus a lot more success. (Originally published November 20, 2012)

@pizaconsultingwww.pizaconsulting.com ; info@pizaconsulting.com

Written by: Damian Piza, Certified Construction Manager, Master in Construction Administration, LEED AP, OSHA +30. Director of PIZA Consulting.

Safety in Construction, Does it really come first?

Where should I start? Writing about Job Safety in Latin America is very easy because there is NONE !!!, I’m sure in other parts of the world is the same or similar, even in the US.

Unfortunately I have had a rough run when it comes to Safety, I have witnessed the death of 2 workers and others injured during my first 15 years of professional work in Construction. I was not in charge of Safety Directly but I take responsibility for it, I take it very personal because I’m a believer that we are all liable for unsafe conditions at the job site.

I sit here contemplating and trying to answer why Safety is many times our last priority when it comes to construction work? I don’t think we do this on purpose, I believe its simply in our culture, I believe we do not have this education embedded in our core, but why?

Well for instance, I don’t remember in my college years ever having a course on Safety, also, I’ve been to numerous conferences and symposiums but I still can’t remember a single conference solely about safety. When I go to meetings, the last notes, if any, have to do with Safety. I’m sure you have heard about the 3 pillars of Cost, Time and Quality, but what about Safety? Very few RFP’s take into consideration a Safety Plan, also if there are any Safety SOP’s, these are 1000 pages long, nobody actually reads them and to be honest most of them do not apply. I believe all of the above have contributed to our lack of culture and thus to unsafe conditions.

So lets analyze, does Safety really come first? Ill let you answer this question.

For those of us that Safety has not been a priority I make an invitation to follow me on a journey to change our culture and start saving lives from here on out. Lets enforce but most of all educate / train ourselves and our colleagues so that all of us can return to home in one piece.

This Blog was written in January of 2013, i have obtained my OSHA +30 accreditation credential and since I’ve been actively supported training of Safety standards.

@pizaconsultingwww.pizaconsulting.com ; info@pizaconsulting.com

Written by: Damian Piza, Certified Construction Manager, Master in Construction Administration, LEED AP, OSHA +30. Director of PIZA Consulting.