There’s more to construction than hammering nails and cutting up wood.
That’s one of the real-life lessons Janotta & Herner tried to impart to EHOVE electrical technology and construction technology students during a project that took students beyond their normal curriculum.
The project sought to give the high school students a taste of the realities in the construction field.
One of those realities is that for companies submitting competitive bids for a project, specifications can change quickly.
Students were split into nine teams and asked to construct a handicapped-accessible bathroom. The young men and women had to estimate material and labor costs, permit fees if they applied and submit bids to Janotta & Herner officials in proper bid format.
Company officials reviewed the bids and awarded the winning team, as well as EHOVE, $500 each on Friday.
“I thought (the projects) were very professional,” said Robb Harst, Janotta & Herner’s director of public relations. “They were well thought out. I thought it showed the students cared about the program and took it seriously. We didn’t have a bad bid.”
The students encountered some issues along the way.
“In real life you’re not warned” about a sudden change in requirements, construction technology teacher Bob Wilhelm said.
The project started several weeks ago on a Monday, with the assignment to build an 8 x 8 restroom. By Wednesday, students were informed that the bathroom needed to measure 8 x 10 instead. The bids were due that Friday.
“Folks, that’s the real world,” Harst said.
Bid applicants might be told to add something, subtract something and “must deal with it on the fly,” he said.
He complimented the students on doing a professional, commendable job.
“It was difficult to pick a winner,” Harst said.
But company officials selected one, and it went to “Quality Construction Co. LLC, comprised of EHOVE/Monroeville High School juniors Jeremy Schafer and Austin Martin.
Harst noted that Schafer and Martin’s bid wasn’t the lowest, but it was the best, containing the most detail, including a construction schedule.
The best bid isn’t necessarily simply the lowest bid, Harst said, but one that contains detailed information.
“At first it was really overwhelming,” Schafer said. He added he and Martin made an excel sheet, worksheet of materials they’d need and prices. Their bid totaled $21,000, which included labor costs.
“It was a great experience, it was definitely not easy,” Martin said. “We just stayed focused and worked together.”
Martin said he and Schafer also searched online to look at how other companies submit bid proposals.
Schafer and Martin said the change from 8 x 8 to 8 x 10 didn’t fazed them. Schafer said he and Martin simply had to add some wood and supplies.
“I heard that they change like that all the time,” Schafer said, referring to requirements.
“It didn’t really change much,” Martin said.
Harst said at first, he wasn’t sure how the collaboration would work.
“We can’t be any more excited about how it turned out,” he said, adding the bids were professional and when students ran into difficulties, they asked intelligent questions, showing they were “immersed very deeply in the bidding process.”
Matt Ehrhardt, assistant director of EHOVE Career Center, said he was also excited.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to work with Janotta & Herner to have this opportunity for you,” he told the students.