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July 07 Businessexcellence 53 most of the rest come to the company because of its reputation, says Millard Choate. That derives from telling clients up front what a project will cost, how long it will take, and then sticking to its estimates. “We pride ourselves on there being no surprises in terms of cost and in terms of completion dates,” says Choate. That consistency is made possible through a system of safeguards and overviews that have been developed over a lengthy career in construction. Before work begins, projects are run through a series of rigorous reviews, with cost analysis evaluated based on current market conditions and potential changes and the project planned to a detailed level to ensure that a schedule can be followed throughout. Once under way, projects are constantly being audited to ensure costs are under control and projects on track, giving the company the ability to spot problems before they get too serious. “You can’t overview every detail, but we have a system that focuses on results, schedules, and dollars to keep tight controls on what’s being done. The idea is if there is going to be an issue, we want to discover it early so we have time to rectify it before it mushrooms into something costly and time-consuming.” Technology is a key part of the control system. Choate Construction