HANDOFF TO PROJECT TEAM
No reason to do things twice, right? Since estimators think through the job while pulling together their estimates, it makes sense to capture those decisions and share them with the project team. Hold a meeting right after the job is awarded.
Productivity: Being the Low Cost Provider
It is very difficult to make money in the construction industry if your costs aren't competitive. As mentioned above, your costs are tightly tied to labor hours. Labor hours are directly connected to work speed.
Productivity is the term used to express the speed at which your crews work. The following systems impact your crews' productivity.*
*Note: Monitoring and tracking crew performance is vitally important but we consider it to be part of one of the other six systems: Tracking & Monitoring.
Different types of projects require different types of schedules. Short projects can be run successfully via bar charts (Gant Charts). Longer projects should use Critical Path Management schedules and ideally would be man-hour loaded. Fast and furious projects should have schedules that are broken down by the day or hour.
Much valuable construction time is lost waiting on paperwork. Contract completion gets bogged down over legal details. Shop drawings are difficult to pull from suppliers. Requests-For-Information are held hostage at the Architect's office. The faster this paper work is processed, the less rushed your crews will be during the job. Rushed crews lead to mistakes and rework. Keep a detailed log and a calendar to remind you when to force the paper process.
CREW ACTIVITY PLANS
If your projects run more than a couple of weeks, your acting foreman or superintendent should create a detailed two week plan that lists all manpower, material, equipment and information needed to perform the job efficiently.
DAILY GOAL SETTING
Goal setting will be your most effective tool for increasing productivity. Tell your crews EXACTLY how much work you expect them to get done. Give them specific targets such as putting down 100 yards of concrete or framing out the second floor.
MATERIAL & EQUIPMENT LOGISTICS
You need someone to be coordinating the use and transportation of your equipment and the timely delivery of materials. You probably do not, and probably should not, have enough of the expensive equipment to stock each of your crews. Timely coordination of the equipment you own, and rental fill-ins, is necessary to keep your crews on schedule.
Quality Control: Doing It Right the First Time
You probably are quite proud of the work your crews perform, right?
My guess is that you're also frustrated from time to time about the boneheaded decisions your foremen and lead workers make. Once you leave the crew, quality control becomes a challenge. You need systems for setting and reinforcing the quality standards you and your clients demand.
Your crews must be given clear guidance as to preferred, acceptable, and unacceptable work quality. Pictures are the best technique for clarifying the company's standards.
Daily logs have been around construction sites for decades - and for good reason. They perform a valuable service as a written history of a project. They capture valuable information that is otherwise quickly forgotten such as: weather interruptions, delays caused by other contractors, and work performed. Daily logs are a great place to document the quality problems left behind by the previous contractor.
When you subcontract, you remain responsible for their quality of work. Your foremen must know how to evaluate the quality of the work being performed. They must have the means, backing, and processes to enforce quality and safety standards.
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES
SOPs almost define the concept of systems. That's exactly what SOPs are meant to do: establish crystal clear methods for performing important tasks. When followed, SOPs almost always result in superior quality and minimal re-work. SOPs should be documented for every task that proves difficult for your crews to perform reliably.