Keeping projects on a tight schedule is no easy feat if you’re a construction management firm. When vetting subcontractors for a project—a consequential first step for any project manager—time is always of the essence.
That’s according to Michael Cackowski Jr., Safety Director at Berkowsky and Associates, Inc., a family-owned design and construction management firm.
“[Prequalification] is one of the first steps in a long process,” Cackowski Jr. tells Highwire. “So the faster I can get through this step, the faster I can dive into the even lengthier processes that follow.”
Cackowski Jr., who oversees the subcontractor assessment program for the Cranbury, New Jersey-based company, emphasizes that the process of “interviewing” contractors and vendors needs to be quick and painless—adjectives often associated with the Highwire platform that helps to drive business at Berkowsky and Associates.
A Highwire ‘superuser’
Having used Highwire for over two years, Cackowski Jr. says: “I absolutely love it. It’s by far my favorite system, personally.”
Cackowski Jr. is now a self-described Highwire “superuser.” He’s so familiar with the platform that he even goes above and beyond to engage with other contractors to ensure they make the most of it. The easy-to-use assessment platform is backed by a live team of customer service agents, who Cackowski Jr. says are quick to assist when he needs it.
“It’s very fluid and easy to use,” he says. “I can type in a contractor’s name, and it populates as soon as I start typing. I can see their score immediately; if their safety profile is complete or not; if their insurance documents are in; if their safety review is still outstanding. There are so many different things I can see that are right there.”
How Highwire compares to other tools
A full-service family-owned firm that provides in-house design and construction services, Berkowsky and Associates holds a Platinum Safety Award for its across-the-board safety performance. Under Highwire, Platinum Status is granted to companies with a safety score greater than 95%—making them elite among safety performers.
Naturally, with such a stellar record, safety is a core value at Berkowsky and Associates. Cackowski Jr. says the company does most of its business for Fortune 500 clientele within the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and biotech settings—where safety is paramount.
Cackowski Jr. says most of the construction management work the firm does is carried out by subcontractors—though they have a team of 25 to 30 direct hire superintendents, carpenters, and laborers. Cackowski Jr. says the company takes full advantage of its near-perfect safety score (97/100) to market itself to prospective clients as a construction manager.
Of course, bringing home their workers safely every day is most important. “When we have a Platinum Safety Award … it’s a direct reflection on me, my team, and all of the workers in the field,” Cackowski Jr. says.
Asked how he thinks Highwire’s assessment tool compares to competitors, Cackowski Jr. suggested that other tools are “too generic,” ask the wrong questions or require additional supporting documentation in cumbersome and unnecessary ways.
“It’s the platform, really,” Cackowski Jr. says. “There are platforms out there that need to be managed by people who manage these systems all the time. [Highwire’s] program can be managed by a novice—somebody who can learn it on their own, through trial and error, without wanting to pull their hair out.”
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