Looping back to my project, our team couldn't figure out why the General Contractor was so resistant to the obvious benefits of 4 x 10's. If your crew finishes their 40 hours of work by Thursday evening, they are ahead of everyone else and it decongests the work space. There is less crawling around on top of each other which helps everyone's production.
Our GC stubbornly believed that every trade needed to be on site every day. That was pretty much total hogwash. The only trades who were significantly intertwined were the mason, the plumbers and the electricians. That situation would be easily solved by having a couple of electricians and a couple of plumbers assigned to hang with the mason crews. The rest of the 30 plumbers and 50 electricians were not going to be holding anyone up if they stayed home on Friday.
Most likely, you will need to pull your GC's project manager and superintendent aside and explain why you'd like to run 4 x 10's on their job, how it's going to benefit them, and why the entire project should be run 4 x 10.
You'll win a few and lose a few. Every time you sell the GC on the idea, your odds of bringing the job in under budget increase greatly.
To start with, the 4 x 10 idea doesn't apply to trades who consistently work their crews 60 and 70 hours a week. A great example of this would be pavement maintenance contractors who work like mad men during the warm months and shut down their work during cold winters.
We would be remiss if we didn't mention the biggest reason not to go 4 x 10's. Doing heavy manual labor in extremely hot temperatures for 10 hours day after day will wear anyone out. When field workers wear out, they slow down, make mistakes, and are more prone to injury. So, there are times when shifting to 5 x 8's in July and August is the right thing to do.
One final advantage of working a project 4 x 10 is that you gain flexibility in moving staff around to help out when your work load exceeds your staff size. This was the problem my client and I were brainstorming about. How do we meet the work load, keep all the jobs on schedule, and avoid hiring a couple of short term field guys to handle the horrible schedule overlap? We knew the guys were most likely going to be working 48 to 50 hours a week, regardless. It just wasn't going to be on any one project as that pace would have messed up the sequencing with the other trades.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, at least consider going 4 x 10's on each project. It's a solution that often gets overlooked. It's a win - win whether you are swamped with work or not.
Should you have questions regarding 4 x 10s, or simply need help improving your field production, give us a call.
Ron Roberts teams with Guy Gruenberg as The Contractor's Business Coach. They show contractors how to grow their businesses profitably. To sign up for their FREE Newsletter or join their Private Club, visit www.FilthyRichContractor.com.