It is no secret that a construction site can be an incredibly busy, stressful and dangerous place to be. There are many people onsite carrying out different tasks with a lot of dangerous equipment and machinery being moved around constantly. This can make the logistics of an operation incredibly difficult and this is often why there are so many delays with large construction projects as everything does not conveniently fall into place. It can be incredibly challenging and stressful to manage a construction project, but there are a few simple steps that can be taken to improve the efficiency of the operation which could have a huge impact on the success of the project.
First, it is important to improve the communication between everyone involved in the project. As mentioned, there will be a lot of construction workers onsite carrying out different tasks which can be problematic (and dangerous). Each morning, it is important to have a meeting so that everyone is briefed on what will be happening throughout the site at different times throughout the day. This also provides those working to highlight any issues or concerns (more on this to come). In addition to this, it is also helpful to provide walkie-talkie’s to workers so that they can easily communicate across the site throughout the day.
Work Flow Map
Before the project begins, the project manager needs to take the time to create a map of the workflow from start to finish so that you know who is doing what at any moment. This will provide a clear overview of the entire project and help you to stay on track. This will give order to the project and, although time-consuming, can help you to see the big picture (which can be hard at times!).
Technology has revolutionized many different industries, and this includes construction. Implementing project management software, building information modeling software and onsite productive software can have a huge impact on how the project unfolds and make the manager’s job much easier (allowing them to focus on other key areas).
Having high-quality, modern tools can have a huge impact on the efficiency of a construction project. It can be expensive to upgrade to the latest and best tools, but it will have a huge impact on speed, efficiency and safety by enabling workers to carry out their job with ease and precision.
Following on from this, you must also consider the materials that you are using. It will need to be fit for purpose, but you could also increase efficiency through selecting material that is easy to work with. As an example, square box section steel is lightweight and easy to cut through onsite, while box sections are extremely heavy and difficult to work with. Think about how you can make worker’s jobs easier by selecting material which is easy to work with while still fit for purpose.
The supervisors that you hire for the job will determine how efficient and successful it is. Experienced supervisors will know how to keep the project on track and achieving milestones while seeing the big picture. If you are unable to find experienced supervisors, make sure that the supervisors that you do use undergo thorough productivity training and you clearly communicate your goals to them at the start of the project.
Listen To Staff
It is easy to assess a project from afar, but the staff on the ground carrying out the work are likely to have a better idea of what is working well and what is not. It is for this reason why it is important to carefully listen to staff and stay in touch throughout the completion of the project. It can be beneficial to include the skilled and experienced workers in the planning stage as they can provide clear insight and identify any issues which you may have overlooked.
Following on from this, it is also important to create a positive culture on the construction site by keeping morale high. This can be achieved through regular positive feedback, team-building exercises and encouraging workers to bond (while still being safe and professional). You must also allow regular breaks for workers (these can be staggered between teams so that there is always work being done).
Prefabricated Building Systems
In recent times there has been a sharp rise in the usage of prefabricated building systems (or modular building) where components are built off-site and then transported over and installed. This is an excellent way to improve efficiency while also reducing costs.
Construction projects can be a real headache as there are a lot of moving parts to consider. It can feel a lot like spinning plates which means that it is very easy for something to go wrong, but by improving the efficiency, you will be able to keep the project on track and ensure that everything goes according to plan.
About the Author
Alec Neufeld is a retired builder, now freelance writer and part-time general fix it man. He has strong opinions on the use of alternate energy and is also an avid sports enthusiast.