Controlling Your Contracts
Michael Lodge, NCPM, CRTP - Certified Mediator - www.lodge-co.com
When I first started out in the business world I worked for a company that built co-generation power plants all over the world. Big combustible bed boilers that created several types of revenue streams and were big projects to build. These were big $300 to $500 million dollar projects. My role was as the Project Administrator, to go through the contracts, organize the contracts, and put together the building budgets for the projects. Then from their I went to work for a investment banking firm that invested and owned power facilities throughout the United States. Two big jobs that gave me the best lesson ever - know your contracts.
Now on big building projects you have hundreds of contracts, you read them through, because they are going to be a part of your life through a particular part of the building stage. If you do not know your contracts then you will not know how to organize your vendors around those contracts. Not knowing your contracts will cost you a lot of money if you do not follow the contract and question certain parts of the contracts. In my role I had to know both, the contracts and the finance administration side of the contracts. A contract has a land of its own, it can cover risk, insurance, taxation, due dates, penalties, changes, etc. I remember that as soon as we had a build contract this big set of binders of every set of construction contracts were put on my desk, and page by page I would go through them and onto a spreadsheet the information would go.
On the operational side of a contract there are also a lot of contractual data you have to know. In my case they were energy projects. This meant that I had to know production schedules, on-peak hours to super-on-peak hours, inventory of natural gas in the pipeline, what partners in the contract were going to get paid, and the list goes on. The first job I had was to make sure the contracts and the data were organized, the second job the same. The point is - know your contracts.
If you don't have experience in the reading of contracts, get some help. There are schools that teach this information. Take some project management classes. The better you know your contracts the better you will make money. Be smart, be proactive, know your contracts.
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Michael Lodge is a Nationally Certified Professional Mediator specializing in business disputes, as well as family conflicts. He has written three books and hosts an international podcast on IHeartRadio and other podcast media stations.