Have you ever been called or sent to take over a job that feels like you just jumped on board of a sinking ship? One that is either losing money, behind schedule or has quality issues? Then you need to try these three easy steps to help get it back on track quickly!
Clean The Job
More often than not an un-organized, messy job is usually behind schedule or poor on quality. If you want an efficient job, it needs to be clean and organized. By cleaning up the job, it not only makes it easier for the crews to work in and around so they can be more efficient, but it also shows progress and change. When you’re trying to change a job this will help with immediate results by changing the environment they work in from a messy, unsafe area to an area clear and free of materials and debris.
Supply Crews with the necessary: Materials, Tools, Equipment and Long Lead Items.
There is nothing more frustrating for a crew than to be waiting on information, tools, equipment or materials. The whole objective of a supervisor is to ensure all of this is taken care of before they even start work, clear a path for your crew to be successful. So don’t just look at the immediate needs, start looking ahead. Create a schedule with materials, tools and equipment needs for the activities. This will help ensure there will not be any hold ups.
Give them a reasonable objective to hit. If your behind and try giving them un-reachable goals, it will only add to the hate and discontent they have now. Start off with a couple of goals you know they can hit. Build up their confidence, then, start pushing once confidence is achieved. After that they will welcome a challenge and looking forward to what they can achieve now.
There could be many reasons a job starts going south, in order to fix the problem you need to first identify and remove the problem: this could be the wrong supervisor or foreman on the job or it could be a problem with the sequencing and logistics. Whatever it is, once you identify the problem and remove the cause, it is your responsibility to find a solution to get it back on track. The three listed above are just some general items to help you get the job organized.
Talk to the crews, contractors and sub contractors and get their opinion of why the job has not been performing like it should. Remember any feedback you receive can only help you identify the real problem so you can correct it.
With so many new and exciting technologies for the construction industry It’s easy to get overwhelmed and seems like every time you turn around there is someone saying- hey have you heard about (___) or what we need is (___). So, how do you know which ones are right for you? It starts with questioning every process trying to finding the ones that are time consuming, costly or use excessive manpower. For me it has always been as-built’s, they should always be done, but typically never get done. Why? It’s time consuming or difficult due to jobsite conditions (material, height of floor to floor, lack of manpower) there could be numerous reasons as-builds don’t get done. Yet, what is the cost for repairs if they don’t get done. As-built’s tell the story of what happens before and after loading of the deck; did the camber come out as expected or not. If as-built’s are not done and don’t get noticed until the finish stages of the project where its almost impossible to go back and shoot the top and bottom to see who’s at fault, not to mention floor patching or grinding around finishes, it get’s costly. This is where new technologies come into play, so what if you could create as-built’s as well as FF/FL testing, with apps like Rithm, Scene, (https://rithm.io/ ) and a Farro scanner you can. Yes, it’s an investment with cost. So, if you only pour decks on a couple of jobs a year then it wouldn’t make sense to buy a scanner and the software, however if pouring slabs is your bread and butter than it would definitely be worth while. With so many new technologies out you don’t have to go crazy and buy every new at the same time don’t let the game changers slip past you.
We're expected to accomplish task with the crews you have onsite, there’s not much you can do about the industry shortage on skilled workers. However, what we can control is our efficiency’s. By assessing every activity asking ourselves do we have the right equipment, tools, materials and plan. Let’s use wall forming as an example; handset Vs. modular panels. Both handset and modular forms have a place in construction, but if you have 12’ foundation walls and a five man crew, the efficient choice would be modular forms. The manpower needed for handset walls could be between 10 & 12 and with a modular clamp forming system your manpower would be between 5 & 6 and you would be done weeks quicker than a crew hand setting the walls.
Handset Forms (manpower needed)
(1) Forklift operator
(2) Drill and prep panels
(1-2) Install panel ties
(2) Set panel & install Johnny’s/Cams & whalers
(1) Feed 2x4’s
(1-2) Install bracing and scaffold brackets
(2) Feed sheets for the 8’-12’ lift
Modular Forms (manpower needed)
(1) Crane operator
(2) Set panel
(1-2) Brace panel
With every task we should be evaluating the process and using a step count comparison:
How many steps are needed to complete one-siding a handset wall section
1. Drill panels
2. Install plate
3. Set panel
4. Install ties
5. Install cams
6. Install whalers
7. Install bracing
How many steps are needed to complete one-siding a Modular wall section
1. Oil panel
2. Set Panel
3. Install bottom plate anchor
4. Brace Wall
The handset Vs. Modular forms comparison is just one example, you can take every task and break it down yourself to decide what's going to be the most efficient way to complete the task with your current manpower.
Do you know how much it costs you to to build a wall, pour a slab, or install embeds? Unfortunately, not many field hands do. In construction, it’s normal to hear supervisors say "we'll get it when we get it" and when asked how we're doing, the answer seems to be "if we're losing money, I'll let you know". Don't you want to see how you're doing to avoid budget over run? Many times, you may hear from people who track budgets closely, "Show me some numbers and i will beat them." This gives those individuals a goal; something that makes them grow. If you want to grow, than learn what it costs to construct. Start understanding budgets and the numbers. Are you a $3.46 unit cost on handset walls? Do you pour slabs for 0.60 SF, or is it 1.05 a SF?
How to get started:
How this process can help:
Let’s start simple! Try tracking yourself for a week. Ask yourself, " how much did I produce today?", now times that by your pay. What was your unit cost? How about your crews? Take the high average and times that by how many hours you worked today, then divide by how many pieces. Look at the numbers!
Let's see how good you are! Fill out the form above everyday for a week, add some progress photos and see if you're selected as the Constructorator "Budget Beater" winner will recive a Constructorator shirt and package of stickers.
To learn more click the link below for a digital book about budgets!
Have you ever been on a crew that ran out of material or didn't have enough supplies or proper tools? I know I've been there more than once. I remember thinking "how could this happen? Didn't the foreman know what we needed and how much?"
What do you think these mistakes cost your company? The most obvious one is if a crew runs out of material, production stops. One of the most common mistakes that seem to slip through the crack is from the tool ordering.
As an industry, we need to get away from the mentality of not wanting to spend money on tools. Think about the real cost of saving money on tools; If you have a crew of eight and only two Skilsaws, you save $180 on a saw, but it will cost far more than that in lost production with guys waiting to make their cuts. The focus when selecting tools and quantities needs to be on productivity. That old adage "don't step over a dollar to pick up a dime" is as true when supplying your crew as anywhere.
Here are some things you should be thinking about when ordering tools:
Basically all of the same principles apply to ordering materials as with tools. It's all about timing. I can't stress enough how important it is to have no lag in production from not having enough material. You need to thoroughly plan your work. If you have material for this weeks work, will you have enough for next week, or the next? Same thing with material as tools. Most of the time it's worth spending a little more money to make sure you're not waiting to strip a wall you poured that day to start the next sequence.
Thoroughly plan your work, sequence, schedule, and crew size when ordering materials. Think about these things when ordering:
Thanks to Dan Lebeda for this weeks blog post! To learn more about Dan check out
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