Management Education

NECA Seminars Available through CECA and Provincial ECA Offices

Pre-Construction Planning NEW

A recent study by Dr. Awad Hanna at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for ELECTRI International showed increased profit margins and projects success by following a comprehensive formal pre-construction planning process. This seminar will assist participants in developing a formal pre-construction planning process that extends through the three project stages: bidding, pre-construction and project execution.

The seminar will also include major principles for successful implementation of pre-construction planning. Electrical contractors will be presented with a comprehensive set of pre-construction activities (over 90 activities) that can be tailored to fit all project sizes and all project risks. Best pre-construction planning practices that are currently utilized by the nation's top electrical contractors will also be presented.

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Emerging PV Market Guide – Successfully Entering the Emerging PV Market NEW

Photovoltaic (PV) technology is advancing rapidly as PV materials become more efficient in the conversion of sunlight into electric energy and PV manufacturing technology lowers the cost of producing PV modules making grid-tied PV systems for commercial and residential buildings more economical.  At the same time, people are becoming more increasingly aware and concerned about the environment, natural resource usage, energy security, and rising energy costs.  All of these factors make PV a potential growth market for the electrical contracting firm of the 21st century.  This seminar will provide an introduction to the emerging PV market for  the electrical contracting firm and strategies for entering this market.  This seminar is based on the results of two ELECTRI International (EI) research projects entitled Emerging PV Market Guide and Energy Roadmap.

This course will discuss the emerging PV market; PV technologies, PV equipment characteristics and system operation, PV system installation requirements including; codes, standards, recommended practices and installer certifications; PV economics including incentives, rebates, and alternative financing methods; predicting PV system performance and payback and other topics.  Recommended for electrical contracting firms that are considering entering the emerging PV market and is intended for owners, firm managers, project manager, estimators and others that will be part of building this new market for the firm.

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Project Management Process Manual NEW

Many electrical contractors are searching for new ways to increase their productivity and decrease their costs in order to gain or maintain market share in an increasingly competitive industry.  The Electrical Project Management Process Implementation Manual is a step-by-step manual that an electrical construction firm can use to implement a formal project management process.  This course will show you how to use the manual for in-depth project-specific information about both the management effort and project outcome for electrical construction projects.  The manual includes a significant number of checklists and examples so that users can refer to the checklists frequently to ensure all tasks are being completed.  As a reminder of the other influences that can be a benefit or barrier to successful project performances, the new manual also includes a comprehensive list of factors that impacted the success or relative lack of success on several projects that were examined and analyzed.

Proven Strategies to Utilize Power of Internet to Drive New Business OpportunityNEW

This course will provide a clear and concise overview of the key concepts involved in search engine marketing.  What are the different types of search engine marketing?  Who are the major search engines and how can you best optimize them to gain “natural” or “organic” traffic?  Learn how to achieve top ranking or placement by using search engine advertising opportunities.  This is a must attend for anyone new to Search Engine marketing.

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Short Interval Scheduling NEW

Labour management is the highest risk in electrical contracting.  Most of the issues that labour faces in their daily work are hidden from management.  With 3-day scheduling, all these issues become visible and project management and management of the company can improve on them to improve job productivity.

Students will learn hands-on, simple methods and tools that can be used to schedule their jobs, and how to identify the obstacles and reduce labour waste which an improve job productivity by better than 30%.
Each of the following items will be introduced, explained and applied to allow the students to tie their in-course progress to the learning objectives:

  • Impact of scheduling on their job productivity
  • Tracing forms for 3-day schedule and hands on creation of tracking forms
  • Charting of the data
  • Analysis and interpretation of the charts

The creation of the data analysis tools will be judged against correct usage of the statistical tool and the students will be tested on what they will do with the analysis once they have correctly designed the data analysis tools.

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Design for Value Engineering NEW


To improve job profits, a very detailed Value Engineering is necessary.  Only contractors that can improve productivity through better management of time, cost and quality will increase backlog profits.  Reduction of risk early on in the project will help to improve profits.

This course addresses:  Identification of job risk; labour risk prediction; procurement planning to reduce labour cost; safety plan; technical risk reduction; business risk reduction; and integration risk reduction.  This full day course will teach the project managers, estimators and field foremen to identify and reduce all the applicable risk early on in the project start up.  Participants will learn the implementation steps for an effective and consistent Value Engineering process, which will improve productivity and profits of the projects.

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Comprehensive Practices for Effective Project Management NEW


This two day course is intended to provide a comprehensive effective management tool for project managers, field supervisors, and office personnel.  For new project managers who need to ramp up quickly to deliver successful construction projects, this course introduces the essential tools of project planning and execution in different contracting environments.  Participants practice project management techniques on a simple turnkey construction project that is developed through the complete project lifecycle, from initial project proposal and definition, through project implementation, and finally to the often neglected project completion phase.  Participants will leave this course with the ability to implement a structured process to successfully deliver small to medium-sized construction projects for their organizations and for their customers.

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Project Management for Electrical Contractors

The project manager is the center point of every construction project. To the project team, he's the boss, the man with the power and answers. To company officers, he's the eyes, ears, and brain of the project, responsible for completing the work on time, according to specifications, and at a profit. To the project owner, general contractor and other trades on the job, this person is the electrical contractor's ambassador, with authority to act on behalf of the company he represents. It's a job with many facets, a job that requires leadership, technical knowledge, sound judgment, common sense, sensitivity to people, excellent communication skills and a knack of diplomacy.

The four-day program meets the needs of both new and experienced project managers. In addition to formal classroom presentation of management essentials, participants will obtain practical experience by working in small groups on various tasks and case studies throughout the week. Topics covered during the course include defining project management, planning reliability, contract administration, scheduling fundamentals, and benchmarking & quality control.

This year, for the first time, chapters have a choice of selecting specific modules from the course and thereby customizing and shortening the course. This can be accomplished by contacting MEI staff who will work to customize the seminar in conjunction with the chapter and the instructor.

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Building a Profitable Service Business

Providing first-rate service to your customers can be very profitable for your electrical contracting firm. Customers continue to downsize and outsource services to specialists who can perform these services more efficiently than their own employees. Your customers need your expertise and ongoing service because their business depends on the reliable operation of their power, communication, and control systems. Today, customers value service on demand and will pay a premium for it as well as become a loyal supporter of the electrical contracting firm that provides it to them. In addition, service work can provide a steady income stream for your firm as well as ongoing customer contact that can result in a competitive advantage in getting the customer's new construction, expansion, and renovation projects. To take advantage of the service market, the electrical contracting firm must be able to deliver quality services that meet customer needs and expectations. This seminar will address building a profitable service business through the following topics: transitioning from a contracting firm to a service firm; elements of a successful service organization; developing a service strategy and infrastructure; costing and pricing service work; marketing services and selling service contracts.

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Principles and Practices of Project Scheduling

A comprehensive overview of basic scheduling concepts and their applications to electrical contracting, including the use of arrow and precedence diagrams, and bar charts and computational techniques used in precedence networks. Resource loading, the use of schedule as a project management tool, and the communication of scheduling information will also be discussed. Topics covered include basic scheduling concepts, project and work breakdown structure, scheduling concepts, bar charts and the two-week look-ahead, and activity duration and scheduling.

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Managing Construction Delay Claims

Construction delay claims can impact any electrical construction project. Delay claims can ruin schedule and budget and add enormous burden to electrical contractors. The nature of the electrical contracting industry is conducive to schedule delay situations because delays caused by the general contractor and other specialty contractors are commonly passed to the electrical contractors.

This one-day seminar will cover the basics of construction delay claims including types of claims and delay claim management. The seminar will show you how to minimize delay claims, how to prepare and present your side in a clear and persuasive manner. Topics covered in this seminar include: causes of delay claims; preparing, analyzing and presenting delay claims; "pacing" delays; and how to avoid and minimize delay claims.

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Managing Field Productivity

The electrical construction industry is a high-risk and labor-intensive industry. The most volatile cost element facing specialty contractors, even the smallest firms, is field labor productivity. This new course will address many of the issues and new concepts necessary to successfully increase the productivity of on-site craft labor. Productivity involves not only labor but also materials, equipment, and management. All are necessary, but of these, improving craft labor performance is the most advantageous.

As a result of taking this course, participants will know how to plan, measure, and take corrective action to increase field productivity, understand "real life" tools and techniques that will lead to increased productivity and more profit from projects, and be ready in the firm to implement and measure the results of what has been learned.

Topics include productivity measurements and principles of improvement, identifying, quantifying and allocating risk factors affecting productivity, pre-job and pre-task planning, and tricks of the trade to cost-effectively measure field productivity.

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Managing Schedule Acceleration

Schedule acceleration is a common problem for electrical subcontractors. The acceleration is often the result of events that occurred early in the project sometimes before construction begins. The economic consequences of acceleration are quite significant, and for the contractor to avoid or minimize the consequences, a holistic approach must be taken. Unfortunately, most published literature and resource material concentrates on legal theories and methodologies to quantify labor inefficiencies. Little information is available to help a contractor understand, recognize, manage, or avoid acceleration.
This seminar presents a holistic or systems view of the schedule acceleration problem. Topics include assessing the contractual risk associated with acceleration, evaluating the completeness of contract documents, recognizing impending acceleration in time to take action, effective steps in managing acceleration, elements of cost, quantification of labor inefficiencies, and negotiating losses of labor efficiency. The presentation format makes liberal use of tables, figures, photographs, case studies, and workshop exercises.

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Change Order Management in Electrical Construction

Most electrical contractors agree that one of the industries most vexing problems is the change order. Changes, which significantly alter the nature of the work or the materials to be installed, are highly disruptive; so are substantial numbers of alleged "insignificant" changes. In many cases, changes alter the sequence of schedule activities. Often they require rework of installations, which already have been completed in order to accommodate the new design. Change orders usually divert some manpower and equipment needed for original contract work. In addition to these expensive impacts on unchanged work, each change order is generally much more expensive to perform than an equivalent amount of work in the basic contract.

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Integrated Building Systems (IBS) Project Supervision - Level 1

Similar to our Electrical Project Supervision (EPS) course, this course is customized for integrated building systems contractors.  The objectives are to provide fundamental information vital to success for supervisors, with the theme throughout that knowledge and continued learning are the key to success, and to emphasize the extremely important role supervisors perform in the success of projects, and in the success of their companies.
The IBS Project Supervision consists of a number of modules:


  • To introduce the IBS supervisor program
  • To teach the history and development of the program
  • To define IBS, and to develop awareness of the other names by which it may be known
  • To define some key attributes and characteristics of IBS construction
  • To define and emphasize the key role the IBS supervisor performs in the success of IBS projects, and in success of the company performing IBS work.

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Pre-Construction Planning Process

A recent study led by Dr. Awad Hanna at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the Electrical Contracting Foundation showed increased profit margins and projects success by following a comprehensive formal pre-construction planning process.  The goal of this seminar is to assist participants in developing a formal pre-construction planning process that extends through the three project stages: bidding, pre-construction and project execution.  The seminar will also include major principles for successful implementation of pre-construction planning.  Electrical contractors will be presented with a comprehensive set of pre-construction activities (over 90 activities) that can be tailored to fit all project sizes and all project risks.  Best pre-construction planning practices that are currently utilized by the nation’s top electrical contractors will also be presented. 

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Earned Value Analysis

To successfully manage a project, electrical contractors need to know when and where the job man-hours are deviating.  Earned Value Analysis (EVA) is one of the most powerful tools in the electrical contractors toolkit.  This seminar presents the fundamentals of EVA and how it can be used to develop manpower loading charts, how to track and measure percent complete, how to predict the job outcomes when the job is just 20% complete and how to compare your performance to industry benchmarks.  The seminar will also present a comprehensive job tracking system based on tracking project man-hours.  A simplified and yet accurate job tracking system for small and medium size electrical contractors will be also shown in this seminar.  This seminar will show real-life examples of good jobs and bad jobs and will show how you can analyze and detect “Early Warning Signs”, and what is the appropriate course of action when the project is in trouble.

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Building High Performance Work Teams for Electrical Contractors

In order to achieve success in winning and profitably executing projects in today’s competitive environment, a contractor must develop and maintain high performance work teams.  This train-the-trainer workshop will prepare your organization to provide the leadership skills, techniques, strategies and tools to form and support high performance work teams.  These techniques can be applied to all of the following scenarios:


  • Project and customer focused teams
  • Internal interdepartmental process improvement or quality teams
  • Intra-company (design-build or strategic alliance projects) or customer partnering teams


Participants will be provided with strategies to effectively facilitate workshops in each of these situations.  During this interactive seminar, participants will experience and practice facilitating team building workshops focusing on the following practical skills:


  • What is the right time for a team-building workshop?
  • What behaviors are evident in a high performance team and how do we ensure they are being utilized?
  • How do we get everyone pulling in the same direction?
  • How do we effectively deal with conflict within the team?

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Succession Planning - Strategies for "Filling the Empty Chair"

Many NECA member companies are family businesses.  Some were established by a forerunner of the current owner.  Many more are operated by the founder, who hoes to transfer the business to a deserving successor.  Some owners may simply choose to cash out comfortably when retirement beckons.  Often, lack of time and the daily operation of a successful contracting business can interfere with planning for succession.  What happens when the owner fails to develop and implement an effective succession plan?  Even contractors who intend to sell their ownership interest must develop a well-constructed strategy.  Both the targeted return on an owner’s investment and the required retirement income stream depend on a smooth transition to a competent new ownership team.  The sooner an effective strategy is in place, the better.  What if the owner suddenly becomes unable to manage the company, even temporarily?  Would the business survive the empty chair?

This one day seminar will help owners organize the issues and answer questions related to effective succession planning. 

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Financial Principles & Tools for the Electrical Contractor

Learn what every manager should know about analyzing the health of a company and managing assets efficiently.  For those who already know the basics, this course will provide a quick review and additional practical tools for taking and keeping control of your business.  For the new financial manager, fundamental principles of financial management will be introduced with examples demonstrating how to apply the principals covered.  Topics include using financial statements to determine the health of your business, ratio analysis as a tool for taking your pulse, knowing the difference between a cash flow and profitability and how to enhance both will be discussed.

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Estimating Basic Structured Cabling Systems

This program challenges the student to apply acquired knowledge in the completion of structured cabling estimates.  The course begins with the concept and processes necessary for performing the basic task of estimating material and labor costs for structured cabling systems.  The student is introduced to telecommunications cabling system components and step-by-step procedures are discussed for configuring structured cabling in commercial buildings.  The estimating process is then described in detail.  The student reviews and responds to a Request for Proposal (RFP), and produces and estimate for a structured cabling installation in a single-story building.  Additionally, the student completes an estimate for a multi-story building.


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CSI MasterFormat:  Pursue It, Use It, or Lose It

In June 2004, the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) officially published its new 2004 MasterFormat for Construction Specifications, consisting of a series of six –to eight –to 10 digit numbered sections in each of 49 technical divisions and one “Procurement and Contracting Requirements” Division (00).  This four-hour intensive seminar will lead you through the changes being implemented in the construction industry by the adoption of this new format.  It will also address how these changes will be affecting the electrical industry, the construction documents you will soon be bidding on, and the “tools” you use for preparing your bids.  You can learn:

  1. Who is adopting these changes;
  2. What these changes include and add;
  3. When you’ll start encountering these changes;
  4. Where to find everything; and
  5. How to navigate through the new format and use it.

This seminar is aimed especially at those who prepare take-offs and bids, supervise multi-trade construction projects, and/or are responsible for their company’s income and business growth.  The main emphasis of this seminar will be to introduce attendees to the new MasterFormat 2004 and prepare them for a proactive response to the changes.

During this seminar, we will PERUSE (i.e. “to read thoroughly, in detail, and carefully”) the new format and representative documents, paying particular attention to those new and relocated divisions and sections that apply to electrical construction.  With this expanded knowledge, you should be in a better position to USE, to your greatest advantage, the industry wide documents converting to the new MasterFormat, and not LOSE out on the new opportunities being afforded to electrical contractors by this reorganization.


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For availability of seminars and courses please contact your Provincial ECA office or email