Superintendent: Reviewing & Prioritizing

As discussed in “Defending Your Time”, it is important to have a routine to walk the site and plan the work.  Here are some efficient ways to conduct your walk.

THE GOAL

The purpose of the walk is to gather information about the project so you can plan the appropriate action steps for the day, week, and month.

THE PROBLEM

I can’t keep track of all of the things I need to do on the job and forget things that end up causing bigger problems later.

THE SOLUTION

  • Carry a pad or planner, safety checklist, and look-ahead schedule on your walk.
  • When you find something, investigate, write it down and keep moving
  • Back in the office determine the priorities and plan the action steps from your walk list with the mind set of “how is the work in line with the look ahead schedule”.

ACTION STEPS

Ask yourself…What are the critical items that must be completed every day to keep the project on schedule or moving forward?  You should specifically review and document the following:

Safety

First and foremost look at each activity being performed as well as the conditions of the site during your walk.  You should note two things.  1)  Any safety issue occurring. 2) Any good safety practices being implemented.  Issue verbal warnings or atta-boys during you walk and write them down for a follow up email when you get back to the office

Manpower onsite

Take a count for each trade as you walk.  Not only is this important for your daily report but it should also trigger thoughts about production and meeting the planned schedule.

Material onsite

Look at the stock of material being used by each trade.  Ask yourself if there is enough material for the trades to get through the next few days or weeks depending on the activity

Progress vs. the planned look ahead schedule

Review the look-ahead schedule as you walk.  Do a quick analysis of the progress of that trade.  Then do a projection of how much they have to get done to meet the planned schedule.  Putting both of those together will show if they will make the projected schedule.  Note any concerns you have on beating the schedule or any delays that are occurring.  Both will affect the trades that follow.

Questions, Changes and Material Approvals

Ask the foreman of each trade if there are any questions, costs or submittals that are impacting the work.  Note the items that have an effect on the project.  When you return to the office, do your own review of the RFI, Cost, and Submittal logs to confirm approvals are in place for work coming up.

Categorize and Prioritize

When you complete your walk it is time to categorize and prioritize the items you gathered.  There should be two categories:

  • Job stoppers are those items that, whether based on safety hazard, material lead time, architect direction or manpower production, will, at some point, derail your project. Verbal communication and written follow up must be done for these items.
  • Follow Up – These are items that have some time to resolve but still require action so they do not become job stoppers. Keeping a running list for meetings or phone calls will maximize your efficiency.

The one truth in construction is that all things will eventually come to light.  Construction, by its very nature, will progress to a point that everything will need to be addressed if the project is to be completed.

CHOICES

You have to choose: Will you wait for them to come to light on their own severely limiting the available solutions?… or… Will you be proactive and address problems early?  Ask yourself which takes more energy:  Walking across the room and extinguishing a match or suppressing a full blown blaze?

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