Organizing the Project
How one builder creates order at the job site.
Synopsis: This business-oriented article offers ideas on managing your projects. Included are a flow chart designed to keep a job moving efficiently and details on organizing tools, materials, and people. A sidebar has ideas for protecting a client’s house from damage during a job.
Workers are often blamed for poorly constructed buildings. But I think the builders in charge have to shoulder at least half of the blame because of their bad management practices. Construction sites sometimes tell the story at a glance. I’ve seen some that resemble public dumps, and others where crews stand idle for lack of materials.
I must admit that once my crew and I have a project underway, we are sometimes tempted to neglect the supportive tasks not directly connected to building. We might want to postpone daily cleanups, stacking materials in rational piles, storing tools and taking measures to protect the client’s property. These chores seem to be a distraction from the making of floors, walls and roofs. But though they may appear costly and irksome at the moment performed, in the long run they are well worth doing.
It is hard to pin down the amount of time workers lose stumbling over debris or digging through sloppily stored materials on a messy site. But I suspect the loss exceeds the cost of keeping the site in order, considering that good site maintenance is necessary for good workmanship, that good workmanship prevents callbacks, and that callbacks can take a substantial bite out of a small company’s profits.
To control the array of equipment and supplies used in residential construction, builders need a coherent storage system. When my crew and I first set up a new site, we organize a mini-warehouse. On a remodel, the “warehouse” will likely be…