Tower crane base install.
Do it right the first time: As we all know re-work is costly. Something was built, poured or placed wrong and has to be fixed. All the momentum up to this point has been shot. Having checks in place to ensure everything is correct before it's covered up will make you successful. To double check takes minutes, to fix a problem could take weeks or even months.
One way to help you get it right the first time is with pre pour checklist (pour cards).
Pour cards are only as good as the effort you put into them. You have to treat them like any contract document: Use before you think about making the pour and go through them thoroughly.
Click here for free checklist for your use
Here are three steps to help you be successful with your next task.
Start with Planning:
Last but not least is to review.
This is how we become successful.
I want to give a big thanks to this weeks Guest Blogger Nate McMillin, who gives us his perception of the importance of mentoring. A great read you don't want to miss!!!
When you think of a mentor, what comes to your mind? You might think of someone who is a teacher, leader, someone wise, or a parent perhaps? The definition of a mentor is: “An experienced or trusted advisor.” Mentoring can be empowering to a person. A mentor helps you hone your talent, abilities, and skills. They bring out the best within you. They inspire you to do better then you know how. Whether you’re a mentor, or a student you’ll get out what efforts you put in. Having a mentor can be a shortcut to success. As a mentor, you can rise by lifting others. Mentors don’t have all the answers but shares knowledge, and lights a path. A mentor can make or break you. It’s crucial to find the right mentors. Finding the right mentor can be easily acquired with some effort. If you surround yourself with people who are successful, then you’re on the right path.
Some of the mentors throughout my life have been my father, co-workers, supervisors, and friends. My father mentored, and molded me into who I am today. At work, co-workers mentored, and taught me how to hone my production, skill, resources, accuracy, quality, knowledge and strengths. Surrounding yourself with passionate and successful mentors who are willing to share knowledge, will help sharpen your skills. We’ve all found ourselves at work with the people who are at work to make a paycheck. Then there are those that are passionate. More then likely those individuals there to make a paycheck are in the same position, or are no longer employed. But the passionate individuals have moved up the ranks. Surrounding yourself with the passionate individuals, and having the right mentor is a great way to succeed.
One of the rules of heroes is they usually have a mentor to help shape and mold them. Instilling them with a strong moral code. For example, Spidermans “With great power comes great responsibility.” Mentors teach heroes how to become the hero they are destined to be. It’s the same principle in any trade. A mentor teaches you to become who you are destined to be. Mentors are used in many areas of life including goal setting, physical fitness, weight loss, stress relief, financial planning, marriage, and education to name a few. Mentoring is a great tool to be used in any industry whether its construction, a sport, and can be used in many aspects of life. Sharing knowledge and expertise as a tool is beneficial for individuals and corporations alike. That’s why the “Importance of mentoring” should be embraced and practiced, not just in life, but also in construction trades, to broaden our skills, and knowledge.
Learn More about Nate by Clicking the Link Below
How important is organization on your job site? Have you ever thought about what it costs to be unorganized? Most all of us could use some improvement in this area. More jobs than not are in some serious need of organization. However, it doesn't stop there. Not only should a job be clean and organized, but efficient as well. I mean, what good is it to hurry and strip footings and place them in nice neat stacks where a crane or forklift can't get to them until after the backfill is complete. Sometimes it's a simple as stacking the material on one side or the other of a footing that can make all the difference.
Take a look at the pictures below, If this was your job what would you change? Are there any you feel you wouldn't change?
Just some things to look for:
Do work areas look ready
Are there too many or not enough people working in the work areas
This is a broad subject, it could be anything from logistics of the job to paperwork on your desk. Each area of organization could be costing your job money, if it takes you an extra 5 minutes to find the drawings you need then another 5 extra minutes to find paperwork for one of your crew members. That time can add up and is completely preventable! It might sound like much to worry about, but think about the whole jobs wasted time. If your logistics aren't planned out and organized we start talking about real money wasted. The construction industry as a whole wastes millions in double handling materials.
How well organized are your crews with tools and materials? It might be time to re-think the job logistics.
I have a lot of carpenter's asking me how much time and men do they have to complete a certain task. So in this week's blog post we want to look at starting simple to figure how many men and how many hours for a certain task. Take an activity like spot footings, in the picture below there are twelve spot footings highlighted that we are going to use as an example today.
First, find the estimated/budgeted Man Hours for spot footings. (460man-hours)
Next, schedule duration for this activity, in this example there is 7 working days to complete the spot footing activity.
Now, take man-hours and divide by days - 460/7= 65
So you have 65 man-hours a day for a seven day duration to complete the footings.
Then you want to determine your crew size based of your daily man-hours
First take the daily hours 65 and divide by the crew size you would like to have, let's try 10 men. 65/10=6.5 if you have ten guys to stay in budget you could only work on spot footings for 6.5 hours a day, if you have 10 men for 8 hours a day for 7 days.- your total man-hours would be 560 (100 hours over budget)
Let's try a crew size of 8.
65/8.1= 8 so you could have a crew of 8 for eight hours a day for seven days- your total man-hours would be 448 (12 hours under budget).
There are many factors that come into play when determining crew size and it's easy to get over-whelmed. You have to break apart each task, understand the job flow, sequencing and schedule. But if you start with one task and work all the way through it then move to the next task and so forth, you start to create the data needed for an average crew. Maybe you only need 8 on spot footings but 10 on walls and four on columns, after you know your crew size you can double back to the schedule and see if the sequencing works out where you can get away with a crew size of 14 because of all the trade work or down time in-between activities or on pour days. The more you practice the easier it becomes.
The important part is that you learn and understand hours/cost on every activity you are part of, and it's never to late to start. In the case that you are not shown the budget or hours by your Foreman or Supervisor click here for a MH/Unit form that you can start tracking yourself. You want to become great at what you do, so empower yourself to learn, grow and excel above those who don't want to share the information.
After all the effort you put into the planning and sequencing, you put the plan into action and somehow the execution falls apart because something was out of sequence. Time, money and manpower was wasted because of a break in the link. If you’re a new foreman don’t overlook or dismiss it calling it, saying “that’s construction”, if you want to learn and grow get to the root of a problem by asking “WHY”.
For example, let's say you had a concrete pour that went ok, ask yourself:
Why was it just ok?
It took longer to pour out, then expected.
Why did it take longer than expected?
Because the finishers got behind; it took them a while to get the concrete placed.
Why were the finishers getting behind?
They concrete was stiff on the last half.
Because the trucks were starting to back up and the concrete was getting old.
Because we were still working on the slab prep (rebar placement, recess areas etc..) in the morning, while the pour was going on, which caused the finishers to wait on us at times.
Why were you still working on slab prep?
Because the area was not turned over until 3:00pm the night before.
Why was the area turned over late?
Because the dirt contractor was behind schedule.
Why were they behind schedule?
because he did not show up on Tuesday.
Why did they not show up, did someone forget to call them?
No, they were scheduled but decided another job was more important.
So after they were a no show what decisions were made as far as schedule and the pour date?
We had to make the pour, so we waited for them to show up the next day and went back to normal, just trying to get it done.
By asking “WHY” you can see that the pour production was subpar.
Because the finishers were not able to get the slab placed quickly with fresh concrete they had to work twice as hard to lay it down, because the carpenter crews were still placing rebar and fine grading the gravel, because the area was not turned over to them as scheduled because the dirt contractor did not finish on time because they were not on-site on the day they were supposed to begin the prep. So you can see one missed step cause a chain reaction of events to which caused the un-productive slab pour. If we focus on the problem at the first or second why we will never get to the route cause and will learn only half of our mistake. The problem is decisions not being made right then, whether it's changing sequence of flow (maybe focusing on one area, a certain section so that one half was completely ready for the finishers when they show up, instead of nothing being ready and work needing to be done in all areas).
Once a schedule disruption happens, an action item needs to be implemented.
It's like concrete trucks stacking during a big slab pour, you're trying to hurry and pump old, dry concrete before time expires. However, this will cause a chain reaction with stacked trucks behind the one currently being placed, whereas if you remove one of the old trucks from the lineup the next truck will be fresher with more time to place out and so forth down the line.
Flow is what we are trying to achieve to be productive. Every time there's a delay, well this disrupts the flow. So asking why allows us to find and get to the root of the problem. Why is a powerful word if asked continually it will only help you learn and grow.
In the last blog post we talked about how to hit the ground running in a new supervisory role. I thought in this post we would dive a little deeper into a couple of the points we made.
It obviously starts with getting to know the team, but how much effort do you really put into this task? If you’re anything like me it’s easier said than done. I’m a bit of an introvert, so it takes me more effort than probably most people to really get to know the rest of the team. You should be looking to build relationships right off the bat, the quicker you gain trust in others and visa verse the more effective the team will be. Be sure to get to know the whole team, not just your superiors but also your subordinates. Depending on your role you should also look to build relationships with your vendors and suppliers. It is during this process of building relationships that you should be getting a good sense of strengths and weaknesses.
When thinking about our own strengths and weaknesses we really need to be completely honest with ourselves. We all know it’s almost a prerequisite in the construction industry to have an Alpha personality type, but don’t confuse confidence with a character flaw of being overly prideful. If we can’t admit we need help with anything we are destine for failure. We aren’t building alone, everyone one your team has something to offer. We as supervisors need to find out what that is to make sure we have the right people doing the right jobs, and that we have the support needed to overcome our own weaknesses. I have seen this over and over again, the supervisor who "knows it all", the guy who has the my way or the highway attitude. In this day and age that management style just doesn't work anymore. We also need our team to be open to constructive criticisms and weak spots in their fabric. Maybe you have a good communicator who isn't the best planner, if you pair them up with a good planner who isn't the best communicator you will have a stronger team. Just remember it all starts with honesty.
Moving into a new role as a Supervisor, or switching companies can be overwhelming. There is always that feeling of needing to “prove yourself” when entering unfamiliar territory, which can hamper your productivity by adding unnecessary pressure on yourself. We all know that we are the most effective only after we find our comfort zone and routine. We are going to look at how to hit the ground running and hit full efficiency as quickly as possible. Here is a checklist of the first things to look at when facing a new job as a Supervisor.
• Get to know the team – Who are the key players and contacts? Every leader has a right hand man, it shouldn't take long to find yours. Relationship building is key at any transitional period of your career; don't be afraid to show your human side. First impressions are hard to change, so think about how you want to be thought of during your first interactions with your new team.
• Know strengths and weaknesses for yourself and of your team – Play to everyone’s strengths, if someone on your team is better than you at some particular part of the job let them run with it. Don’t think you can do it all yourself; we all need help with some parts of the job. This will also help build the team, showing trust and delegating only helps show your leadership abilities.
• Scope – You need full comprehension of schedule and budgets. This should be on top of your priority list. The faster you have this understood the faster and more accurate your upfront planning will be. Find the holes in both, are they realistic? How much manpower will you need etc.
• Clear understanding of responsibilities - Make a list of all of the duties associated with the supervision and delegate them appropriately. This should be done in a formal meeting with all of the Supervisors, so there no confusion as to who is responsible for what.
These are a list of steps to take to fit into your new role as painlessly as possible, but every job is obviously different. The faster you hit your stride, the better off your crew and the job will be. Remember there is a reason you are the Supervisor, don't become intimidated with your new situation and focus your efforts on the most important parts of your duties early.
Everyone wants a safe job, they also want to bring value to what they’re doing, in short they want to be productive.
So why wouldn’t all jobs be set up for safe productivity?
The two factors that would play part for having an unsafe and an unproductive job; cost and too much time. We hear it all the time “We don’t have time” “We don’t have money for that”.
So let’s start with money.
What is the cost of an extra ladder, barricades, trench box?
And what’s the cost of an accident, injury or even fatality?
How about time.
How long does it take?
Most of these can be done within a couple minutes, where we lose time is not planning for it so everyone thinks safety takes a lot of time for example, everyone goes up to the third floor after their morning meeting yet none of them take a retractable for a certain task that needs to be done. So once they all reach the third floor and realize they need a retractable they call on the radio and ask someone to bring it up, so now we have a whole crew broke down waiting for a retractable.
Another example let’s say your decking a slab and you get right up to the only access off the deck, if you would have planned ahead, you could have had someone put up a secondary access while you were decking and when you came to the point of needing the ladder moved so you could continue on it would have been done, instead you get right up to the ladder call on the radio and wait for someone to put up a secondary access so you can continue work. This happens all the time, I know, I know, but we are staying busy while they were working on moving the ladders, the problem is you were busy, but you were not productive. If you continued decking without waiting on access you would have been decked out today, instead you will finish tomorrow. But, you helped get the edge form guys caught up while you were waiting, now they are waiting on you to finish decking.
If you have a safe job more than likely you will have a productive job, one with clean work areas, proper access, lighting, tools and equipment.
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