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book review

Managing A Construction Firm on Just 24 Hours a Day
By Matt Stevens
Publisher: McGraw-Hill, 2006
406 pages

click to purchase

If you want to clear your head about something in construction contracting, just pick up consultant Matt Stevens' new book, Managing a Construction Firm on Just 24 Hours a Day. It is like talking to your older brother who has clamped a hand on your shoulder and is telling you the blunt honest truth about the costs associated with schedule compression or right-sizing your overhead. Yes, this book is full of takeaways and sample equipment forecasts. But where it really shines is in discussions of resource allocations and the uses and significance of CPM schedules. Stevens makes them simple. It is in essence the ultimate, easy-to-digest book about the financial management of contracting for an industry where the younger people have college degrees and the older set don't exactly want to focus on finance. I've never seen anything more accessible on getting and managing work profitably.

There's also a fascinating and tightly narrated chapter called "The Business of Contracting" on the changing nature of the construction industry. In it, Stevens discusses, among other subjects, how most young construction professionals "do not [and did not] go through the 'field' because they don't want to work" in the dirty and dangerous environment of the jobsite. They have "turned construction into a business" in which "craftsmanship is now assumed to be the same from contractor to contractor."



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