[BOB Mid 2012 new products - Checklist]

Dealing With a New Product for the First Time



Elsewhere in this publication there is reference to the need to identify risks so you are better prepared to deal with possible problems.

One significant risk in construction, however, is dealing with a new product or material for the first time.  Let's look at a method and process for dealing with labour and material requirements associated with new products at the two critical times.



Pricing New Products


Pricing of the project stage will be the first time you identify a new product and the first thing you do is to look at the details on the drawings and specifications and Google search to see what technical resources and installation details are available (you DO use Google, don’t you?).



Having done your homework and assuming you are the one installing it, the key points to determine are:


Is this product:


     adequately supported by clear technical data?
     provided with local or overseas technical support?   
     simply a change to an existing one?
     totally new but similar to other products?
     totally new so first time involvement?
     a single unit or needing a variety of supplementary fittings and fixtures?
     only to be installed by an LBP?
     only installed by certified fixers?
     related to a critical part of the building project?
     critical to the inspection process?
     a major risk if you get it wrong?
     one that you are comfortable using?
     able to be costed accurately?
     able to be installed by a specialist subcontractor?
     outside your comfort zone of wanting this building project?


While risk can be loosely interpreted as ‘relinquishing responsibility’ or ‘passing the buck’ one of the keys to being a LBP [Licensed Building Practitioner] is to maintain best practice procedures by identifying and realising your own limitations. Having realised your limitations, the solutions is simply to use specialists for installing products you have problems with.

Having determined that you have the knowledge and skills to install the new product, your costing system should have covered adequate labour for its installation and included all necessary material and supplementary fittings and fixtures.    



Installation On Site


The second time you encounter this new product is when ordering and installing on site.

The type of questions and issues you should be raising at this stage about this new product and who is doing the work include:

    the repeat exercise to identify whether it is a changed/existing, new/similar or totally  new product
     having site copies of technical data, brochures, handouts or online information as required
     ensuring your ordering quantities are accurate (include for waste and all necessary associated  fixtures and fittings - compare them with your pricing data)
     having a helpline number on site 
     identifying personnel who are providing the labour
     identify labour risks and establish extent of supervision
     noting supervision requirements for LBP activities 
     ensuring labour has seen demonstration videos, visited site demonstrations or talked to technical reps or other installers
     recording labour outputs and comparing with estimating data
     recording problems [and successes] for future reference