Like any other business, the construction industry is not without its frustrations. The labor-intensive and often investment-heavy nature of the work can make these frustrations all the more painful.
Rather than simply letting these problems wash over you day after day, you should become proactive and seek out ways to eliminate them. What follows is a list of four of the most common construction issues, like lack of communication, and how contractors can alleviate the pain using novel solutions:
Lack of Communication on Construction Sites
“I said to cut around the joist, not cut into it!”
Intense moments like these can be the bane of a project manager or supervisor’s existence. What they thought was crystal clear was somehow misunderstood, and now material and labor costs will increase as someone patches up the mistake.
Solving communication problems involves not relying on word-of-mouth instructions. Have duties, tasks and daily expectations written out. Since most workers these days carry smartphones, you can use text or a collaborative document editor like Google Docs to send out daily missives or mid-day instructions.
Another proactive method is to ensure that workers are on the same page before project work begins. Brief them when a project starts so they can share a vision of the completed work. Also train them on methods you see them regularly getting wrong, such as showing them the proper way to pour concrete without splattering. Above all else, keep calm, give someone the benefit of the doubt after mistakes and double down on the written resources they have to consult so nothing is left to assumptions.
Subs are often a prime culprit for quality issues. Finding reliable subcontractors can be tough, but it is possible through networking. The best place to start is with your vendors and material suppliers. See if they know subs with a good reputation.
Another key is, again, getting everything in writing. Ensure your sub contract has explicit quality and methodology guidelines along with contingencies to reduce the cost of work if it isn’t up to snuff.
Your company name must also be in writing on their general liability insurance. Without it, you could face the costs for any problems they cause.
Strapped for Cash
Contracting business owners must often go out on a limb with their finances as they wait for compensation after the project is completed. To ensure that your workers, subs and vendors are paid on time, open a business line of credit to maintain your resources until the job is completed. Many vendors and material sellers offer generous lines of credit to their clients. Just make sure you pay off your balance regularly since interest costs add up quickly.
The “blame game” is a common activity on job sites when things go wrong. Rather than getting sucked into the he-said/she-said’s and employee interrogations, have the problem solved as soon as it starts with the right type of insurance coverage.
Builder’s risk policies are specialized property insurance that go beyond general liability. Materials, property damage, costs of demolition and other expenses can be claimed in the event of a catastrophe, vandalism or even a critical mistake. The policies can be temporary, too, lasting only as long as the project schedule. With such a policy in hand, figuring out who owes whom for what can end so work can resume.
Proper insurance coverage on your subs, your work and the site in general can prevent small problems from becoming huge ones.