Welcome to our first company blog post! We’re not ones to dance around the uncomfortable, so let’s get straight to what seems like everybody’s first REAL question – let’s talk about the company name. For anyone who has seriously tried, naming a company is NOT a simple task. From uniqueness to memorability, personal preference to public perception, not to mention domain cost and availability, there are countless factors to consider. There is no right answer, and as with so many things, there will always be people who question your choice.
Since registering bteamconstruction.com in July of 2020, I’ve been asked countless times why we would possibly choose the name “B Team” for our brand new, high-tech, general contracting company. The question is usually paired with a smirk, or in some cases, genuine concern. One individual, whom I greatly appreciate and respect, practically begged me not to proceed with the name. Why, then, would we continue in the face of so many not-so-positive reactions?
When I need an easy answer, I just say that my last name is “Bejarano”, and that I’m not particularly creative. While that’s all accurate enough, it’s not nearly the whole truth. The real story starts at the negotiating table. Over roughly two decades in general contracting, I couldn’t tell you how many times an owner or project stakeholder has asked if they were getting our “A Team” assigned to their project. Take a minute and ask yourself how you would answer that question. How many acceptable answers are there in that situation?
“No, Bill, I’m sorry, but our A Team is already busy scrambling to catch up on an 18-month commitment in Yuma. This team is the best we could assemble on short notice from a LinkedIn search of somewhat-similar resumes.”
Nobody in their right mind is going to give that answer. Nobody in their right mind is going to actually tell the truth. The question is deceptively rhetorical, and yet gets asked all the time.
Let me share something controversial that may come as a surprise. You’re not getting the A Team on your project regardless how big it is or how important you are. There is no A Team – at least not in the conventional sense – and there is plenty of data to prove it.
What if I told you that, in terms of meeting contracted budget and schedule, there is a nationwide 98% failure rate on ALL construction projects across the industry? That is to say, only two out of every 100 projects actually finish on time AND within budget. What if I went on to share that, over the last two decades, international construction productivity has grown at a glacial 1% pace as compared to the total global economic average of 2.8%? How about the fact that, despite their regular claims of double-digit gains, the actual net profit rate for the top-five, domestic, publicly-traded contractors is a meager 1.05%?*
Here’s a personal example that may help to put some of this in perspective. In 2019, I worked with a team responsible for constructing a 30-story building. This was a smooth project that took us 19 months and 3 days to complete, which is fast by today’s standards. In 1931, a full 88 years earlier, the 102 story Empire State building took only 13.5 months to build, and was finished without the benefit of tower cranes, power tools, radios, computers, or cell phones. Production rates in the industry have spent the better part of a century falling farther and farther behind every other sector. You don’t have to take my word on all of this – have a look at the links above, or just try searching the web for “global construction productivity” and see for yourself!
With that in mind, let’s get back to the company name. I’ve just explained that every general contractor is regularly forced to lie either to themselves or their clients. If you’ve looked through much of our site, hopefully you’ve noticed that honesty and transparency are very important to us. Knowing all of this from the start, how could we possibly reconcile the practice with the principle?
We’re not the A Team – our projects don’t have a 98% failure rate, but rather, are delivered as predicted. We follow the data where it takes us, constantly refining our processes and increasing our accuracy. I like to think of it not as a monopoly on smart, but rather a subscription to continuous improvement. Our proposals, projections, and results are based on evidence, not gut feelings or best guesses. We’re different than other builders, and we’re proud to announce it right there in the name!
*Taken from our own analysis of 2010-2020 SEC data for KBR, Granite, AECOM, Tutor Perini, and Flour.