SMA Consulting

Online Certified Residential Construction Manager Training Program

SMA iNHSS Summit

WHAT IS THE SMA CERTIFIED RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION MANAGER TRAINING PROGRAM?:

The CRCM program is a comprehensive 10-month, three-module program designed specifically to provide your entire team a common base of knowledge in homebuilding best-practices so that they can operate effectively and deliver durable, on-time, on-budget homes. It is a practical, effective, and inexpensive way to train your new hires while reinforcing the “K.A.S.H.”: Knowledge, Attitude, Skills, and Habits of your entire team regardless of their experience.

WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THE HOMEBUILDING INDUSTRY NOW?

In recent years, builders have been forced to hire less and less experienced supervision because there are nowhere near enough young people getting involved in homebuilding or the building trades in general. This is a national crisis, with over two million skilled and semi-skilled construction jobs going unfilled in the USA alone. At the same time, demand for new homes has stayed incredibly strong. The past year’s pandemic accelerated the trend of “doing more from home”, and the onslaught of “Millennial” buyers has created a shortfall of 25 million new homes nationally. There are simply not enough skilled construction professionals available to meet this demand. At our industry’s rate of production of +/- one million dwelling units per year, this represents a 20+ year backlog, with available inventory in key markets falling to under one month! As if all of that was not problematic enough, over the past decade we have also observed a marked increase in time-of-construction, with a marked decrease in construction quality. In an environment where every unhappy new home buyer has a global bullhorn via social media. For builders without experienced, highly trained and capable supervision, it is a recipe for disaster.

THE IMMEDIATE NEED FOR TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION:

How can we assure quality and durable, trouble-free performance of our homes given these challenges? Technology is one tool that can be useful, but not until your team understands construction best-practices and efficient trade relations. Laptops and smartphones by themselves will not help your cycle times or warranty issues any more than a circular saw or nail gun will build the house without a skilled carpenter. While we can’t magically transform a greenhorn into a master builder, we CAN provide a base of knowledge that all your field employees can use to produce a better product for your buyers right now, while they gain knowledge and experience over time. We can also teach your field staff and production support the same critical financial, estimating-purchasing, and scheduling metrics we advocate to your back-office.

To accomplish this, we have developed a true certification program for residential construction managers and other allied professionals. Our program will pre-test your staff at the beginning of their training to establish their benchmark/starting knowledge, then test again at the end of each section to document their improvement. Finally, your field staff will be expected to constantly increase their knowledge and skills through an annual continuing education requirement.

FOCUS:

Unlike other general training” available through NAHB or your local HBA/BIA, our program focuses on exactly what Residential Construction Managers need to know to deliver on-time, on-budget, defect-free homes as efficiently as is possible in current market conditions. Unlike “one size fits all” consulting programs, our certification program also tailors the curriculum to your specific type of construction and the starting knowledge of your staff.

A MODULAR TRAINING APPROACH:

The certification training is broken down into three 12-15-week modules that build upon each other. From the basics of the Construction Management job such as key responsibilities, organization, time management and quality assurance , through an advanced review of job start packages, structural and financial basics, to knowledge of practically every trade they will encounter. All geared toward avoiding frustrating re-work and warranty issues.

MODULE 1: The Role and Responsibilities of the Professional Construction Manager:

This module is designed to get your new hires up and running quickly, as well as providing your “old hands” a common base of knowledge of SMA’s best management practices. Topics include both professional and personal growth:
K.A.S.H: Knowledge, Attitude, Skills and Habits of Professional Construction Managers; Jobsite Setup and Staging; Required Project Documentation; Daily Quality Assurance procedures; Effective Scheduling and Sequencing; Trade/Vendor Relations; Reducing Wasteful jobsite practices (Lean production); Homebuilding Financial Metrics for non-accountants; Purchasing System Basics; as well as Personal Time Management, Communication Skills, Leadership Training, Maintaining Professionalism even in difficult situations, and Adding Value to your company both on and the job.

MODULE 2: Advanced Construction Management Topics:

These classes teach your CMs how to gain superior knowledge of what they’re building so they can control their jobs, instead of “just showing up.” Starting with SMA’s thorough job start package review procedures we call the EPO Review (EPO =Estimated Purchase Orders), which requires solid plan and spec reading, the ability to compare sales sheets to contracts to POs, and the ability to nip potential errors/omissions in the bud when it’s the cheapest and easiest to fix them: BEFORE construction starts. Module 2 also covers foundation and framing layout tips and tricks; Essential building codes; Basic sizing of structural components; Confirming load paths; Determining elevations that will promote positive lot drainage while minimizing site costs; The building science of weather and other forces acting upon a building shell; Best practice flashing, weatherproofing, and window/door installation techniques; and Indoor air quality issues. Six months in your CMs will be able to interact professionally and speak the language of building officials, engineers, designers, and the other construction professionals they’ll encounter in their work.

Module 3: Trade Knowledge – Methods and Materials:

The third and final module of the CRCM program is 100% about the 30 or more trade disciplines required to build a durable, energy efficient home. We’re not trying to turn your CMs into HVAC mechanics or production drywallers, but we will arm them with the knowledge of is and is not good workmanship; How various building systems and materials interact with each other and most importantly the knowledge needed to keep your company’s warranty exposure to an absolute minimum. We’ll take a much deeper dive into materials and methods introduced in the other two modules, including: Properties of common building materials; Framing best-practices; Controlling expansion/contraction of dissimilar materials; Avoiding premature masonry, drywall, caulk, and paint failures; An understanding of Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing systems and codes; Correct installation of interior and exterior finishes, and much more. We cover more essential trade knowledge in three months than many full-time construction management programs cover in two or more years. No unnecessary fluff, just the critical information your CMs need to deliver defect-free homes that will stay that way for years to come.

FAQ: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Q. How many employees can be in a training group?
A. We like to keep each group under roughly 25 participants, Also, if you have more than 12 CMs we can break them up into groups organized by their general experience/skill level (In order to be SMA-certified, participants need to pass the same final exam). We can make dedicated classes available for groups larger than 10 participants from the same company – contact us for details.

Q. How long is each training session/lesson…how much time will be required overall?
A. Each lesson plan lasts 75-90 minutes depending on the number of CMs/Superintendents in the group, and the number of questions we receive during the lesson. Schedule for 90 minutes. There is also approximately one hour of reading and/or other assignments that are due most weeks (10x per 12-15-week schedule)

Q. How will our employees join the training?
A. It's all online, live. We use one of the common web-based meeting services. Your staff will be given a link to the meeting that will usually remain the same for the duration of the training. Your employees can join from practically any laptop, tablet, or smartphone, as long as they have reliable Internet access. All classes are also recorded so they can make up missed classes or review the material prior to their exams.

Q. How long will it take to become certified?
A. The training curriculum in this guide will typically require 9-10 months of weekly sessions to complete, roughly one module per calendar quarter (although this varies somewhat depending on review sessions, holidays, and so forth)

Q. How can I know if my employees are learning?
A. . We do a pre-assessment of all attendees designed to determine your team’s starting point, and another quiz mid- term and at the end of each module. In addition there are quizzes on reading assignments and other homework. All quizzes are administered using the www.ClassMarker.com online testing system. Students must pass all training modules before they can sit for the certification exam.

Q. How tough is the certification Test?
A. It’s a challenging but achievable program. Major tests are open-book (but timed) and cover exactly the same material covered in the training. If your employees are “living what they learned” day-to-day they will have no problem.

Q. For how long is the certification valid?
A. Initially one year from their date of completion and passing the certification test, after which they will need to earn a minimum of 12 hours (one hour per month) of CEUs (continuing education units) each year. There is a small fee for re- certification.

Q. What will qualify as a CEU?
A. SMA produces a wide variety of programs that will all qualify for CEU credit. Our monthly webinars alone would typically provide close to enough CEU credits. But they are certainly not limited to what we provide. Most programs by recognized trade organizations (NAHB, NARI, AIBD, AIA, ICC, etc.) as well as online or in-person training by our family of certified providers are acceptable for CEU credit.

Q. Does the CRCM Training “key-in” with other SMA workshops and training programs?
A. Absolutely. We teach exactly the same best practices across the board. Our philosophy is one of setting standards and measuring performance against those standards, with a goal of continuous improvement. We believe in transparency of information because we know your entire company will run more smoothly when all departments are on the same page and “speaking with one voice.” Knowledge is power.

Q. Who in our company would benefit from CRCM training?
A. Your entire production team for certain, but also your production support and warranty teams. We are training purchasing/estimating agents, warranty techs and managers, construction coordinators/schedulers, and even executive assistants and Sr. level executives. This training is a good end-to-end overview of industry best-practices.

Q. Do we get a refund if our employees drop out, quit, or are terminated?
A. If you have paid in-full up-front we have a generous pro-rated refund policy until the beginning of the second module, after that we apply your full tuition to the next trainee from your company (essentially four modules for the price of three). If you are paying monthly, we simply stop invoicing you for that employee when we receive the termination notice. SMA has always given our clients the benefit of the doubt and will work out any other situation on a case-by-case basis. We hope to train your next CM hire, and your next, and your next after that.

Q. Is the CRCM Program Expensive?
A. Absolutely not. In fact, training your staff is one of the best investments you can make in your company. Tuition falls well within SMA budget guidelines for annual training, and the return on investment is immediate. For example, a decrease in jobsite variances of just .0025% (2/100th of 1%!) for every $1M in direct job costs will pay for one person’s tuition. Having trained and Certified Residential Construction Managers (CRCMs) is a tremendous marketing advantage. As a new homebuyer, which builder would you trust with the largest investment of your life… the company that trains and certifies its Construction Managers to deliver a durable, high-quality home, or the builder that does not?

Q. Is your certification program endorsed by any third-party groups or other organizations?
A. Not yet, but that is the direction we’re heading. We hope to gain widespread third-party recognition for this program as it grows. But even if we can’t – we feel this program is the most targeted and complete available for the training of residential construction managers and production support personnel.

Q. What does everyone receive?
A. Every graduate receives a serial-number referenced certificate in a portfolio cover, as well as CRCM embroidered patches and other items that will identify them to trades and buyers as graduates of the program. Affiliate builders receive a framed certificate and graduate roster they can display prominently in their offices and/or sales centers.

Contact Info

107 Viaroma Drive
Anderson, SC 29621

(407) 447-5209

info@smaops.com

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