MANAGING PHYSICAL RESOURCES

INTRODUCTION

In his management of a construction project, the supervisor is responsible for the management of the resources that will be utilized to construct the project. While there are certainly a number of others involved who will provide their input and assistance, the supervisor should understand that the day-by-day management of the set of resources that will be applied to the completion of the construction project, is his responsibility. Included in these resources are the following: manpower; materials, tools, and equipment; the construction site itself; dollars; and time. This chapter will begin to develop an understanding of some tools and techniques for managing these resources. Information will follow in successive chapters that will deepen this understanding.

MANAGING MANPOWER

The talented and skilled people who build construction projects are the most valuable, and the most variable, and the most complex resource whom the supervisor manages. These people compose the labor force on a construction project, and the wages they earn constitute the labor costs for the project.

As has been noted previously, labor costs are a significant fraction of the total cost of performing every construction project. On building construction projects, labor costs typically are 50 percent or more of the total cost of the project.

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186 TECHNICAL SKILLS

The effectiveness with which a supervisor manages the craft labor workers who perform the skilled work to construct the projects will have an enormous impact upon the success of those projects and, therefore, will in large measure define the effectiveness and the success of the supervisor. Managing people in the workforce entails the application of conceptual or human relations skills. These skills are decidedly different from the skills that most supervisors learned when they worked as craftsmen. Supervisors do well to understand that the longer they remain in a supervisory capacity, and the further they advance in management, the less they will rely upon their technical or craft skills and the more important their human relations and conceptual skills will become.

Chapter 2 listed and described a number of attributes and characteristics that people in the construction workforce have said they most admire in those who manage the work. Supervisors would do well to emulate those qualities, if they wish to be viewed in the same manner by those whom they supervise. Chapter 7 examined some other important aspects of the human and conceptual skills that are major components of success in managing manpower. Also discussed were some of the elements of motivation, and leadership, as well as some other important aspects of understanding human behavior. In this chapter, some additional important elements of manpower management will be presented.

As is the case with all other resources that are needed for the project, all of the skilled construction craft labor that will perform the work on the project will need to be procured. Depending upon the contractor’s business structure, and also on the prevailing collective bargaining agreements that may be in effect in the company, the supervisor may or may not be directly involved in hiring decisions relative to the craft workers who will perform the work on his project. However, whether the hiring of craft labor is performed at the job site or at the company home office, all of the craft labor workers must be recruited, hired, oriented to company policies and procedures, provided safety training, and provided orientation to the job site and to the other workers on the site.

Manpower needs, in terms of both number of workers and the skills that the workers need to possess in order to perform the work at hand, will vary during the course of the construction of the project. The supervisor should plan to be a part of determining how many workers are needed on the project at any point in time, in order to assure that the correct numbers of craft workers and also the correct skill sets for performing the work are present on the construction site as the work is planned and performed.

During the course of construction on the project, it is the supervisor who will convey work assignments to all of the individual workers and crews of workers for each day of work throughout the duration of the project. This means, by definition, that the supervisor must be planning the conduct of the work, in both the short term and for the longer term, at all times. Chapter 2 defined and discussed the management function of planning. In Chapter 14, discussion will be provided with regard to the primary planning tool utilized by the supervisor, which is the construction schedule.

Planning the work, and assigning responsibility for the accomplishment of tasks and activities, means that the supervisor should be well acquainted with the craft

MANAGING PHYSICAL RESOURCES 187

workers who compose his crew(s), their personalities, and their capabilities. Knowing the skill levels of the various craft workers, and knowing which workers are most proficient and most productive at which tasks, factor into the supervisor’s decisions regarding work assignments. In addition, matters of workers’ personalities and disposition, and who gets along well with whom, as well as which crew members make up the best teams, in accord the information provided in Chapter 5, are also important elements of the supervisor’s consideration.

Manpower management also means that the supervisor is responsible for upholding all company policies among all of the members of the workforce. Matters such as punctuality, and behavioral considerations, as well as discipline and reprimand as may be necessary, are matters among many others that the supervisor is responsible for. The supervisor must be well acquainted with the provisions of his company’s policies and procedures, and must be willing to consistently apply those policies among all of the workers in the craft labor force.

The supervisor is also charged with keeping job site records relative to the members of the workforce. Throughout this book the importance of proper documentation has been repeatedly emphasized—it is a fundamental and absolutely vital supervisory responsibility.

Time cards will be completed daily by the supervisor for each craft worker who performs work on the project on that day. In addition to recording the actual number of hours worked by each craft worker, the supervisor will enter the appropriate labor cost codes for each element of each worker’s labor on that day. Further consideration of this topic is provided in Chapter 13.

Additionally, the supervisor will maintain a job log, where he will make entries on a consistent daily basis, which relate to all of the workers on the project. The name of everyone who was present on the job site on each day is recorded in the job log. These entries are accompanied by notes regarding matters such as training conducted, injuries that a worker may have suffered, the occurrence of near misses, warnings, disciplinary actions taken, and a myriad of others. Any and all occurrences on the job site that affect any member of the craft labor workforce are recorded by the supervisor on a daily basis in the job log.

While the supervisor’s responsibilities relative to the job log are discussed more fully in Chapter 18, as well as in other portions of this book, the summary guidance that is provided here is: any matter which the supervisor thinks may be important relative to anyone who worked on the job site on a particular day should be recorded in the job log. Some supervisors have been heard to say, “How do I know whether a certain matter is important enough that I should write it down?” The best guidance is: if the supervisor asks that question with regard to any matter, then likely the matter is of sufficient importance to merit being recorded, accurately and completely, in the job log. The job log is considered to be the primary record of everything that takes place on a construction project.


Safety planning, safety training, and the use of personal protective equipment (often referred to as PPE), as well as ensuring safety in the workplace in accordance

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with company policy and in keeping with the requirements of the law, are also the domain of the supervisor. Supervisors should be thoroughly familiar with all company safety policies. Additionally, they should certainly understand and know how to apply the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), as well as the provisions of “29 CFR 1926, OSHA Construction Industry Regulations,” which pertain to the kind of work that supervisors and their crews are doing.

Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and their acquisition and filing, are additional important elements of consideration for the supervisor. Workers must be informed regarding MSDS sheets, must be aware of their right to see them, and must know where the MSDS sheets are available for their examination and reference. Training of the workers will be necessary in this regard, and documentation of the training and careful record keeping are required. The importance of documentation, record keeping, and filing on the part of the supervisor cannot be overemphasized.

Additionally, hazardous materials management (HAZMAT) must also be considered by the supervisor. Training is required relative to any materials that may pose a hazard in the workplace, both in the work of the supervisor’s company and his labor force, and on the part of other workers and subcontractors on the job site. Again, careful documentation and record keeping are important in this consideration. Additional elements of safety and the supervisor’s additional responsibilities in safety management and HAZMAT are further discussed in Chapter 9.

Training

Training is a very important management and supervisory responsibility. Yet, unfortunately, it is a matter that is all too often neglected amid the bustle of meeting project completion requirements. Supervisors and other managers as well, are frequently heard to lament, “While I agree that training is necessary and good, we simply do not have the time to spend. We have a project to build, and a budget and a schedule to keep.”

As a matter of fact, it has been found that training often yields efficiencies more than sufficient to compensate for the time and other resources that are expended in conducting the training. Training the craft labor workforce should be considered to be an investment in the skilled people who perform construction work. Like other good investments of all kinds, this investment will continue to yield benefits, and in many different ways, over time.

Training craft workers can include considerations such as the proper handling and installation of new materials and systems, the application of new work methods, proper use and care and maintenance of tools and equipment, safety matters of all kinds, and many other matters. There is simply no end to the list of matters on which training can be conducted in order to develop and improve the workforce.

Training yields tangible benefits in a number of ways. First, the training certainly advances the skills of the craft workers, resulting in greater productivity, and enhanced safety. Additionally, many workers are eager to learn and to advance their skills; they feel valued, and, as has been demonstrated in other sections of this book, they become better motivated by the fact that the company is willing to invest in their further learning.

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It is a fundamental and unchanging principle for the supervisor: having the proper materials—the right materials, in the right condition, in the right quantity, in the right place, at the right time—in order for the craft workers to be able to conduct their assigned work, is a basic responsibility of the supervisor. While others in management may provide assistance and input to the process, the supervisor should never lose sight of the fact that this is fundamentally his responsibility.

It is the expectation of the craft workers that when they are assigned a task by the supervisor, the correct materials will be on hand for the completion of that activity. If not, time is wasted, and, in addition, the workers become frustrated and demotivated. Their morale declines, and productivity suffers, and the supervisor’s stature diminishes.

In addition to all of these unpleasant and costly results, if the proper materials are not available for the performance of an assigned task, it follows by definition that craft workers will need to be reassigned to other work. This occurrence is itself costly, and additional time and energy are wasted and productivity suffers further.

Materials Procurement

Every material and product that is to be installed on a construction project must be procured and purchased. As obvious as this statement appears to be, it is important for the supervisor to understand this basic axiom, as well as the fact that there may be considerable variability in the processes by which different materials are procured. Procedures for procurement will vary by company policy, as well as by the product being purchased. Some companies have a purchasing agent or another person in the company office, who may purchase some of the materials and products to be installed on a project. Some companies utilize a warehousing system, and furnish materials to job sites from the warehouse, usually on a requisition basis. Other materials and products may be purchased by the project manager, while still others may be purchased by the supervisor. It is vitally important for the supervisor to understand company policies, as well as the procedures to be employed with regard to the procurement of all of the materials to be utilized on the project. Additionally, the supervisor must remain in constant communication with others who may be involved with this process, so that everyone understands who is responsible for acquiring each material and who is responsible for each aspect of materials purchasing.

The supervisor must be sure that one person within the company does not think another is handling procurement of a material, while the other believes someone else is handling the purchase—with the result that no one has made the purchase by the time the material is needed. This can lead to catastrophic consequences on the project.

In the same way, the supervisor must assure that two (or perhaps more) people are not independently purchasing the same material, each believing it is his or her responsibility to do so. Careful planning, constant update and follow-through, as well as effective communication, are required in order to avoid such an occurrence.

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Additionally, the quantities of each material to be purchased must be verified against the actual project requirements. While the estimator will have determined materials quantities during the formulation of the estimate for the project, the supervisor must be sure that the correct quantities of materials are purchased in order to actually meet the requirements of performing the work.

Submittals

Some of the materials needed for each project will require the preparation of submit-tals as part of their procurement. Whether submittals take the form of shop drawings, data sheets from the manufacturer, or samples, or mockups, this process requires special care and attention on the part of the supervisor.

All of the materials submittals required for the project are defined in the project drawings and specifications. All of the submittals that are required should be identified in the drawings and specifications, and should be listed in a submittal log, which can be utilized throughout the duration of the project. The purpose of this log is to ensure that all required submittals have been identified and are furnished as necessary, and that their approval is tracked throughout the entirety of the submission and approval process.

Submittals take time for their preparation and approval. This time must be planned for and allocated as part of the procurement process. Additionally, the supervisor should know that submittal approval process is often iterative, with a submittal sometimes sent forward, and then modified or disapproved, and then re-submitted on a number of occasions during the approval process. It is all too easy to lose track of the status of a submittal, and then to discover, at the time when the material or product is needed for installation, that there will be a delay because submittals have not yet been approved. This is a very expensive occurrence!

Additionally, all communications that take place, both verbal and written, with respect to submittals must be fully documented by the supervisor. Requests for preparation of submittals, all requests for information (RFIs) with regard to any submittal, requests for approval, or for expediting of approval, or for verification of approval, are commonplace elements of the submittal tracking and management process, which must be fully documented.

It is highly recommended that the supervisor and the project manager prepare a submittal tracking log for their use and reliance throughout the life of the project. While various formats may be employed for this log, one of the most basic forms is often the most effective. This entails use of a spreadsheet. An example of such a submittal tracking log is included in Figure 11.1.

As indicated in the example in Figure 11.1, all of the submittals that will be required for the project are listed in the log in the left column. This information is extracted from the drawings and specifications. The page number, detail number, or article number where the submittal is called out in the drawings and specifications can be referenced in a column just to the right of the first. Descriptive notes should be added, to ensure complete understanding and communication with regard to each submittal. The columns to the right of the submittal name and description, and the

JRRS CONSTRUCTION
SUBMITTAL TRACKING LOG

PROJECT: SHINING STAR OFFICE BUILDING

JOB NUMBER: 1654

SUBMITTAL REQUIRED

FABRICATOR, VENDOR,

SUPPLIER, DISTRIBUTOR,

MANUFACTURER

DRAWING

AND/OR

SPECIFICATIONS

REFERENCE

NOTIFIED

TO

PREPARE

SUBMITTAL

DATE

SUBMITTAL

RECEIVED

THIS OFFICE

DATE

APPROVED OR

DISAPPROVED

DATE

FORWARD

TO

ARCHITECT

DATE

NOTES

APPROVED OR

DISAPPROVED

DATE

BACK TO

ORIGINATOR

DATE

PROMISED

FABRICATION

DATE

PROMISED

DELIVERY

DATE

Column Base Plates, Structural Steel Columns Cl 2 – Cl 6 Mosher Steel, Houston, Texas. Danny Gilman. A22, A24, SI 2, S13,S14,S15

8-20

9-14

9-15. Disapproved:

Wrong Bolt Diameters.

REVISE AND

RESUBMIT

X

9-22

RESUBMITTAL

RECEIVED

9-23 DANNY

NOTIFIED

APPROVED BY THIS

OFFICE, EMAIL

9-23

10-2

ARCHITECT AND

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER

APPROVAL RECEIVED.

10-2

11-2

11-6
Precast Weldments, Front Facade Haco Precast.

New Braunfels, Texas.

Mark Thurmond.

Al 1, A21, D-l 6. SPECIFICATIONS P. 42, 61.

8-20

9-18

9-22.

MARK NOTIFIED

APPROVED BY THIS

OFFICE, EMAIL

9-22

9-28

ARCHITECT AND

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER

APPROVAL RECEIVED.

9-28 ATTN MARK.

12-3

12-7
Atrium Skylight Building Specialties, Inc. San Antonio, Texas. Sharon Archer. Al 9, A33, D3-9. SPECIFICATIONS P. 241; SPECS, P312.

8-21

8-28

SHARON NOTIFIED

APPROVED BY THIS

OFFICE, EMAIL

8-31

9-18. REQUEST EXPEDITED APPROVAL

FROM

ARCHITECT

EMAIL.

9-30 DISAPPROVED.

ARCHITECT NOTE:

STAINLESS FLASHING

SPECIFIED. REVISE AND RESUBMIT

10-1

NOTE TO

SHARON:

REVISE AND

RESUBMIT.

9-22

RESUBMITTAL

RECEIVED

9-25

SHARON NOTIFIED

APPROVED BY THIS

OFFICE, EMAIL

9-25

10-2

ARCHITECT APPROVAL

RECEIVED

10-5 ATTENTION SHARON

1-16-2010

1-25-2010
Hollow Metal Door Frames Shumard Supply. Austin, Texas. Stanley Morris. A4,A19,A23. SPECIFICATIONS Pill

8-21

8-28

8-28

STANLEY NOTIFIED

APPROVED BY THIS

OFFICE, EMAIL

8-28

10-2

ARCHITECT APPROVAL

RECEIVED

10-2

1-6-2010

1-16
Figure 11.1 Submittal Tracking Log
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relevant drawings and specifications reference, will be given names corresponding to the typical steps in the preparation and approval of the submittal. Typical entries for a general contractor’s submittals would include: notification to fabricator to begin submittal preparation; submittal received from fabricator; forwarded to architect/engineer; anticipated approval date; received from architect/engineer, and status, approved or disapproved; sent to fabricator; acknowledgment from fabricator; promised fabrication date; promised delivery date. If a submittal is disapproved and requires modification and resubmittal at any point in the process, additional cells or columns should be added in order to reflect and to monitor these additional steps in the process.

The submittal log can be used both as a checklist and also as a reminder of pending materials purchases for which submittals need to be initiated. This will assure that no submittal is overlooked.

In the cell at the intersection of columns and rows on the log form, the supervisor can insert dates, as well as notes as appropriate, in order to keep the log current and up to date at all times. The principal management objective for the supervisor to remember is: the supervisor must know at all times, the status of every submittal on the project for every material for which submittals are required.

Preparing a submittal tracking log and keeping it constantly updated is the best means of ensuring the outcome noted above. Even if the supervisor is not directly responsible for materials purchases or for submittals management, his awareness of the process will be a valuable assist to the project manager, or whoever it is who has this direct responsibility in the company.

Managing Materials Deliveries

When materials have been purchased and are delivered to the job site, properly managing the delivery, unloading, handling, and storage of these materials will pay dividends for the supervisor. Conversely, neglecting or improperly managing this process results in difficulties and added expenses of all kinds. This is an aspect of materials management that most certainly merits time and attention on the part of the supervisor; yet it is often overlooked. As with most other management matters, attention to detail is an important aspect of the supervisor’s proper management of this process.

The supervisor’s advance planning should include consideration of all aspects of the materials delivery. Before materials are delivered, delivery arrangements should be confirmed with suppliers, so that surprise deliveries are avoided. Considerations that should be incorporated into the supervisor’s delivery planning include: where the delivery truck will enter the site, where it will park for unloading, which person or persons in the crew will unload, what equipment will be used for unloading and handling, what ancillary items will be necessary (slings, pallets, cribbing, etc.). Additionally, arrangements may need to be made for scheduling equipment that will be used for materials unloading and handling. This may include arranging for the use of forklifts, skylifts, or mobile cranes, or it may include scheduling arrangements with the general contractor for the use of the job site crane to make the lifts for unloading.

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In addition, advance consideration should be given not only to which workers will perform the unloading, but also to which of the workers will count the items that have been delivered in order to verify correct quantities in the delivery as compared to the order, and to verify that what was delivered is what was ordered in terms of description and specification. Additionally, inspection of the material being delivered is necessary, in order to ensure that no visible damage has occurred. Further, those who are taking part in the unloading and handling should be on the alert for potential concealed damage (e.g., boxes that rattle when they should not be expected to). One of the workers should be assigned the responsibility for signing the delivery invoice when all elements of the delivery have been verified, and for filing the delivery invoice in the onsite filing system for documentation. The supervisor’s planning should include delegating each of these important tasks to an individual worker.

This matter of delegation—assigning a task specifically to a person and leaving that person with the responsibility for accomplishment of the task—is itself an extremely valuable supervisory skill. It is a skill that, when practiced by the supervisor, will accrue significant savings of the supervisor’s time, and that will also pay dividends in a number of other ways. Delegation is discussed further in other sections of this book.

Managing materials delivery also includes advance planning for what will be done with the material after it has been delivered. Will it be handled by hand or by machine? Have the people who will accomplish this been informed? Is the equipment that will do the handling, available? Will the material be placed in the lay-down area? If so, where should it be located, so that it is not likely to be damaged and so that it can be accessed when it is needed? Does the material require cribbing underneath or protection from the elements? Should a sketch map of the lay-down area be prepared, on which the location of materials can be noted for future reference? Does the material need to be placed in lockable storage or otherwise secured? How should it be arranged or stacked? How high can it safely be stacked? These and numerous other considerations of a similar nature should become part of the supervisor’s detailed planning with regard to what to do with materials after they have been delivered and unloaded.

Job Site Materials Handling

The supervisor’s materials management plan should also include consideration for getting the material from the lay-down area or other onsite storage, to the workface for installation. Again, careful thought and planning should be provided by the supervisor with regard to matters such as which workers will handle the material, what equipment may be needed, and so forth. It is imperative that the move to the workface be accomplished safely, without damage to the material, and in the most economical manner. The advance planning that the supervisor provides to all aspects of materials delivery and handling will pay dividends and will make the planning effort worthwhile.

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Billable Materials

An additional important element of materials management that should become a part of the supervisor’s job site materials management plan is making note of those materials whose cost can be included in the project periodic payment requests after the materials have been delivered. Many construction contracts contain a provision that states that materials that have been delivered and properly stored at the job site can be included in the project periodic progress payment billings. Because of the importance of cash flow, the supervisor must be absolutely sure that no opportunity is overlooked to include delivered materials in monthly periodic payment requests. This also reinforces yet again the principle that the supervisor’s having available, and having read, the contract for the project will provide benefits for the supervisor and for the project.

In an additional note, sometimes the architect or owner will permit payment for materials delivered to a suitable approved warehouse, in addition to allowing for payment for materials delivered to the job site. If the materials management plan for the project includes warehousing materials in advance of delivering them to the job site, it is certainly worthwhile for the supervisor to check the contract provisions in this regard, and/or to make inquiry of the designer as to whether these materials can be included in monthly payment requests, and to document the response.

MANAGING TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT

The supervisor has a fundamental responsibility to ensure that the tools and equipment that are necessary for the performance of the work on the project are on the job site, are in a safe condition, and are in good working order. Whether it is machinery, or power tools, or any of the numerous hand tools that the craft workers employ, the supervisor must ensure that exactly what is needed is available in terms of tools and equipment, at the time when it is needed on the job site. While others, such as the project manager, may provide their input and assistance in this regard, the basic responsibility rests with the supervisor.

The construction company makes a considerable financial investment in providing the tools and equipment that are necessary for the performance of the work. The company will entrust this investment to the supervisor for his proper management on the job site.

Many believe that if supervisors are able make the craft workers aware of the cost of the tools and equipment that they utilize, this awareness will lead to better care of the tools on the part of the workmen. In everyday communications, as well as in “toolbox talk,” or “tailgate talk” communications with the workers, this awareness can be conveyed by the supervisor.

In addition, security measures to help prevent loss and theft of tools must be managed by the supervisor. Construction companies have different policies and procedures in effect with regard to providing security for tools. The supervisor must know what these policies are in his company and must consistently apply them.

MANAGING PHYSICAL RESOURCES 195

Additionally, constant awareness of this matter on the part of the supervisor, and conveying that awareness to the workers, and communicating to workers the importance of their helping ensure tool security, will help achieve success in managing tool security.

Many supervisors have found value in maintaining workers’ awareness of the importance of tool security through regular discussions in “toolbox talks.” In addition, continual watchfulness on the part of the supervisor, and providing reminders or directives to the craft workers as appropriate for occurrences such as leaving a tool unattended or for mishandling a tool, have been found to be very effective.

Additionally, many supervisors utilize a “gang box inventory sheet” to maintain a listing of the power and hand tools, as well as extension cords and other components that are kept in the job site gang box. This inventory list can be checked on a regular basis in order to ensure that nothing is missing. Similarly, a list or spreadsheet can be maintained of other tools, such as stepladders, extension ladders, and the like, which are not kept in the gang box. Checking these lists regularly and verifying that all tools are accounted for is a function that supervisors should perform on a regular basis as part of their responsibilities. Alternately, this is another example of a task that could be delegated to one of the craft workers.

The use of chains and locks and maintaining a systematic method of key control for the keys to the locks are additional basic elements of a tool security management plan. Making it a practice to check at the conclusion of every work day, that all tools and equipment are in the gang box or secured with chains and locks as appropriate and then ensuring that all locks are in place and secure are basic procedures that should be a part of the supervisor’s daily plan of work.

Training and Communication

Additionally, the supervisor should be aware that training of the workers may very well be required in order to ensure productive and safe operation of some tools and equipment. Required maintenance must also be brought to the attention of the craft workers, and a reliable communication system established, so that tools and equipment are properly maintained. Additionally, a communication system must be established and maintained, so that the supervisor can be made aware of, and can make remedy for, any tool that is not working properly and that may be in need of maintenance or repair, or that may be in need of accessory items or attachments.

MANAGING THE CONSTRUCTION SITE

As components of planning and analysis relative to the construction project, the supervisor should include consideration of the construction site itself. Numerous matters that are inherent in the nature of the site, and other elements of consideration as planned and determined by the supervisor, will impact productivity and safety in the work on the site throughout the duration of the project.

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Before the work on the project begins, the supervisor should carefully study the site plan or plot plan for the project and, if possible, should visit the site. Included in this consideration are thoughts relative to the size of the site and the amount of space available for lay-down area and job site storage, topography, drainage, adjacent streets, existing buildings, both on the site and on neighboring sites, utility locations, and the like. These will translate to decisions regarding matters such as where fences and gates will be located, both for vehicles and for construction workers; access and egress points for delivery vehicles and for construction workers’ vehicles; parking areas for construction workers’ vehicles; access and parking for visitors to the site; access, and routing of temporary utility services and the associated electrical panels, disconnects, shutoff valves, and so forth.

The project manual or book of specifications should also be studied by the supervisor for provisions that relate to site management. The General Conditions or the Special Conditions, for example, frequently contain provisions relative to construction boundaries on the site, or to protection of special artifacts or landscape elements on the site.

Additionally, the supervisor should meet with those who prepared the estimate for the project, in order to avail himself of site planning that has already been done, and the determinations that have been made, and the assumptions that were utilized with regard to the site when the estimate for the project was prepared. The importance of “handoff meetings” of this kind, and their value to the supervisor, are discussed in other sections of this book.

Site layout considerations will also include the location and orientation of the contractor’s onsite office or job shack, as well as for the offices of subcontractors on the project, and perhaps facilities for an architect’s representative or owner’s representative. Provision of utilities services for these facilities is also a necessary consideration. Planning should include provision of designated areas and facilities for dressing areas for workers, as well as break areas and lunch areas.

Tower crane location, as well as access routes and setup points for the various mobile cranes that will be utilized during the course of the project, must be carefully planned. Parking areas for mobile equipment that will be used during construction, as well as considerations regarding locations for fueling and for routine daily maintenance of all equipment must be considered.

Additionally, material lay-down areas, as well as secure and weathertight storage areas, must be planned and provided, for both the general contractor and all of the subcontractors. Planning must also include temporary roads onsite. Unloading areas, turnaround areas, and perhaps washout areas must be considered for the vehicles that will deliver materials to the site. Sanitary facilities, and access for the vehicles that will service them, must be planned for. Planning must also include provisions for refuse containers and access for the vehicles that will deliver them and transport them.

The supervisor’s safety plan and site planning should include consideration of the location and proximity of all emergency services, and the emergency respon-ders’ awareness of the location of the construction site and where they will access

MANAGING PHYSICAL RESOURCES 197

and enter the site if they are needed. Contingency planning should also include consideration of a site evacuation plan.

This analysis and planning should be conducted before the contractor mobilizes and moves onto the site. The project manager may provide assistance to the supervisor and may be a source of additional valuable information with regard to site planning and site management. However, it is the supervisor who will be working on the site every day throughout the duration of the project; he should have a key role in site management considerations and should perform his planning accordingly.

Additionally, it should be recognized that as the work on the project proceeds, numerous additional elements of site management will present themselves. These will, in turn, warrant the supervisor’s proper care and attention. In summary, supervisors can be sure that the time and energy that they invest in analysis of and planning for the many considerations that are inherent in proper site management yield significant dividends, and will continue to pay dividends throughout the duration of the project.

CASH AS A RESOURCE

The supervisor should know that, in financial terms, cash is a resource and one that must be managed with the same degree of care and effectiveness with which other company resources and project resources are managed. One of the contractor’s most important business functions is maintaining positive cash flow, both for the company and for the projects that the company performs. Because cash flow is crucially important to those in company management, its importance to the supervisor should be apparent.

While positive cash flow can be defined in a number of ways, a simple yet effective definition will suffice for purposes of this discussion. Positive cash flow means that current receipts or revenue exceed current expenses.

The concept of a contractor’s cash flow could hardly be more important. It is a matter of fact that most contractors who fail go out of business not because their total liabilities exceed their total assets, but rather because their liquid (available) assets are insufficient to meet current (immediate) demands.

There are quite a number of ways in which the management of the construction projects that the company performs affects cash flow. Depending upon company policies and procedures, the construction supervisor may have a greater or lesser role in cash flow management. In most companies, most aspects of this important matter are managed at the level of the project manager and company office-level management.

However, the importance of the supervisor’s being aware of the significance of cash flow management, and his taking measures to help ensure positive cash follow wherever he can, will serve him very well. Listed in Figure 11.2 are measures that supervisors may take or matters they may assist in that have a bearing on the all-important matter of ensuring positive cash flow.

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1. Being aware of the importance of properly structuring the Schedule of Values of the Project. The Schedule of Values is more fully discussed in Chapter 18, “Ongoing Operations.”

2. Being aware of, and considering in the planning and management of the project, the dates on which periodic progress payments are due to be submitted to the architect (if the supervisor’s company is a prime contractor on the project) or to the general contractor (if the supervisor’s company is a subcontractor).

Assisting the project manager or company-level management in any manner possible with assuring that the payment request submittal is timely, accurate, and as complete as possible.

3. Taking care in the ordering of materials for the project. As has been noted, it is very important for the supervisor to assure that adequate materials are on hand on the project for all of the work to be performed. However, an overabundance of materials leaves a surplus, which must be returned (often at less than full price credit) when the work is completed. Further, these surplus materials are themselves an additional expense in having been purchased and then not used. Additionally, these materials must be handled and stored and protected on the job site. Moreover, there is risk these materials may become damaged or degraded before they can be returned to the supplier.

4. Being aware of suppliers’ return policies and returning extra materials in a timely manner. When extra materials left over from the project must be returned to the suppliers for credit, typically the supplier will accept for return, and will only issue credit for, materials within a specified time following the original purchase. Additionally, suppliers will only issue credit for materials that are returned in “as new” and salable condition.

Therefore, the supervisor must assure that materials that are to be returned are protected from damage and from degradation by the elements.

5. Returning tools and equipment that are not being used on the job site to the company equipment yard or to the equipment rental agency.

6. Taking the appropriate management measures to assure quality control and quality management in all of the work performed on the project.

As will be further discussed in Chapter 18, “Ongoing Operations,” as well as in other sections of this book, performing quality work enhances the company’s as well as the supervisor’s reputation, and helps ensure a satisfied client.

Moreover, it is much easier to bill for work as earned value in periodic payment requests, and to receive timely payment for, work that is of unquestioned quality.

Additionally, if quality control has been the constant watchword throughout the performance of a project, the punchlist process can be completed much more expeditiously. The punchlist is discussed in other sections of this book and further reference to this process is provided below.

7. Managing the project closeout and punchlist process.

As the project nears completion, the supervisor and all of the craft workers should be especially mindful of completing all of the work as defined in the contract, as well as to satisfying the needs of the owner.

Extensive work that needs to be performed at this time of the project, or major corrections that need to be made, are very costly at this time.

If the supervisor has been attentive to the importance of quality management throughout the duration of the project, as discussed elsewhere in this book, this time can be rendered much less stressful and much less costly.

Moreover, when the supervisor manages the punchlist and closeout procedures in a timely way, his company can submit its Final Application for Payment sooner, and can be paid the retainage that has been withheld throughout the duration of the project, and can receive payment of the balance of the contract amount at an earlier time.

Figure 11.2 Measures for the Supervisor to Take in Assuring Positive Cash Flow
MANAGING PHYSICAL RESOURCES 199
MANAGING TIME ON A CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

Time is another resource that must be properly managed. Construction contracts almost invariably contain a provision that states that time is of the essence in the completion of the construction project. The things that the supervisor does, and the decisions he makes, play a major role in completing the project on time.

It is very important for the supervisor to manage in such a way as to complete the project by the completion date stipulated in the contract. Completing the project on time is always one of the project objectives, as was discussed earlier in this book. In addition, managing time and, thus, ensuring timely project completion is one of the hallmarks by which the reputation, as well as the effectiveness and the success of the supervisor, will be measured.

Construction schedules are the supervisor’s primary project-planning tools and are used tomanage timeon a construction project. Schedules can be defined simply as, “A graphic representation of the plan for performing a construction project.”

Different types of schedules are utilized for managing construction projects. Schedules that the supervisor must be familiar with include network schedules, bar charts, and short-interval schedules. Each of these schedules, as well as a number of important aspects of the construction scheduling process, are discussed more fully in Chapter 14.

SUMMARY

The supervisor should clearly understand that he has the responsibility for stewardship and management of the construction company’s investment in the construction project in the form of the resources that the company commits to the project. Manpower, tools, equipment, materials, the construction site, dollars, and time, all are resources whose management is entrusted to the supervisor. Effectively managing these resources is at once an enormous responsibility and an immense challenge, as well as a tremendous opportunity. This chapter has provided a number of tools that will assist the supervisor in being successful. The supervisor who can meet the challenges and who can take advantage of the opportunity while accomplishing the objectives enumerated for every project is one who not only has proven his or her mettle but also is one who can join the ranks of respected and successful supervisors.

Learning Activities
1. Tools inventory

If you and your company are

not already doing so, delegate to

one of the craft

workers the task of making an

inventory sheet for all of the tools and supplies that

are in your company’s gang box on your current project.

(continued)

200 TECHNICAL SKILLS

Have the worker make note of any tools that are damaged and in need of repair or maintenance, and to note any tools that may be missing accessories or attachments.

Periodically make an inventory, or have the designated worker do so, to ensure that all of the tools, equipment, and supplies that should be in the gang box are in fact present.

2. Reinforcing the cost and value of tools and supplies, and the need for their care and protection

After the inventory of the gang box has been made as described above, make a copy of the inventory sheet.

On the list, make a price determination, with the help of your project manager and your contacts at a supply house if necessary, of the cost of each item in the gang box. Generate a total value.

In one of your toolbox talk meetings, use tool cost, tool value, and tool security as a theme for the meeting. State for your crew the total value of all of the tools and supplies in the gang box. Expect looks of surprise, and perhaps expressions of disbelief. Share a copy of the inventory sheet and price determinations with your crew, in order to reinforce the value of tools, and to make the point that tool care and tool security are important.

3. Ensuring positive cash flow

Make a copy of Figure 11.2, “Measures for the Supervisor to Take in Assuring Positive Cash Flow,” or write out the measures on a sheet of paper. Think about other measures you might add to the list of ways to help assure positive cash flow.

Write an “action item list” of measures you can take on your current project, to help assure positive cash flow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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