Many contractors say that you must be organized to run smoothly. Organizing is the ability to systematically arrange all necessary pieces in the work process so that desired results can be achieved in a timely, efficient manner.
Organizing for the job requires dividing up work among crew members; assigning work and providing clear instructions for implementing the assigned activities; linking up the field with a support system; define the project manager’s role in supporting the jobsite foreman; and planning and anticipating ongoing needs for jobsite productivity.
To effectively execute the skill of organizing the foreman, superintendent and project manager, one must clearly understand what organizing entails. There needs to be a unity of purpose, which means all players in the construction process must understand the following key components:
• The skill requirements for labor.
• Expected results of each person on the job.
• Level of authority and clearly defined reporting relationships.
• Feedback system.
• Support from office to the field and how this support will occur.
• Access to other necessary information, which includes scope of work, budgets, blueprints and specs, schedule, procedures/paperwork requirements, jobsite meetings, access to office support staff, proper materials and correct amount, job site working conditions and training of people if skill deficiencies exist.
To complete the organizing process, it is essential that the following job controls be put in place to ensure that the job site work process flows smoothly from beginning to end.
Pre-job planning meeting/pre-job review. This is usually the responsibility of the project managers, and the size of the project usually dictates the amount of planning required. When considering such a meeting, you should consider the following items: issuing a policy statement; who will attend; using a pre-job planning checklist with key items for job success; and preparing written minutes of items discussed and distributing them to appropriate personnel.
Post-job review. The purpose of the post-job review is to review how the job came out and to provide feedback to all key parties. This information will be used to avoid problems on similar jobs in the future.
Tool and equipment inventory/maintenance. Many times, tools and equipment are sent to jobs without a process for inventory control. It is important to maintain an inventory control of tools and equipment and have a maintenance and repair program in place to repair defective tools and equipment. To accomplish this end, you should consider implementing these three controls: a tools and equipment inventory checklist, a job site tagging procedures for defective tools and equipment, and a procedure for moving materials from the warehouse to the field and from the field to the warehouse and from job to job.
Job site safety program. Implementing and maintaining an effective job site safety program is a must. To ensure that safety becomes a way of life on the job site, the following controls need to be put in place: a safety rules checklist; a job site inspection checklist; weekly tool box safety talk; a hazard communication program; and a job site safety program that includes a job site safety inspection report, the company’s safety policy and safety rules, a format for tool box safety meetings, and accident reporting procedures.
Job site paperwork. The reason for requiring the foreman to complete paperwork on the job site has a lot to do with tracking productivity for the overall project. The office needs information from the field to determine the profitability of the job as it progresses. If the foreman fails to maintain and report job site data to his project manager, then the company is really in the dark when it comes to determining how they did on a specific project.
An effective job site reporting system should include a daily log, a weekly job progress report, a daily job site report, an expense report for job site material purchases and a field work order for handling extra work requests.
Labor tracking process with key labor codes broken out by specific areas on job site. Start using these key job controls to improve overall productivity on the job site. Getting organized isn’t easy, but it’s a necessary skill for achieving desired results.
The Seven-Step Planning Process
1. Weekly Planning. Prepare a task list. What tasks do you have to do next week?
2. What are your material requirements? Know the quantity and type of materials needed and when they are needed (delivery date and time). Also, think about storage, location, protection and security.
3. What are your equipment requirements? What type do you need and how many of each type? When is the equipment needed? How long do you need it? Make sure your crew knows how to safely operate this equipment.
4. Labor budget: man-hours for each task; coding, tracking, feedback.
5. Crew size and needs. What skills do you want people to have (be specific)? How many people do you need, and when do you need them? Set production goals and collaborate with your crew.
6. Assigning work. Identify strengths. Assign work that people can do. Tell them to ask for help if they don’t know how to do something. Provide feedback as to how they’re doing.
7. Crew commitment. Get them to buy into the game plan for the job. Have your crew keep track of actual production and have them report it to you. Listen to the crew members. They may have ideas on how to be more effective and efficient. Provide feedback on their progress.
Norb Slowikowski is president of Slowikowski & Associates, Inc., Darien, Ill.