Once the project begins, you should set a daily routine for your crew leaders to maintain updates. Schedule morning and afternoon huddles of 10 minutes each. This routine is not a waste of time. If you are thinking that taking 20 minutes out of the busy day is crazy, imagine how much time you will likely save.
Create two project whiteboards that the crew leader fills out. One has a daily list of four or five tasks to finish. You will find your team is competitive. The tasks are usually crossed off the whiteboard by 3:00 p.m. that day. The second whiteboard has questions that need answers. Have your team leader take a photo of the whiteboards at the end of each day and email them to the office.
Ask your team lead to fill out the standard weekly reports on project updates on budget, safety, deadlines, and quality results. During the weekly meeting, have them list three or four highlights on the project and three or four “lowlights” of issues that can be improved upon. Make sure you follow up on these suggestions and issues. The quickest way to have your field staff ignore you is for you to ignore them.
Schedule VIP tours of the project every few weeks, depending, of course, on the length of the project you may only need one. This keeps the crew on their toes and ready to impress.
Be sure you are meeting the project deadlines or milestones you and your client agreed on, failure to do so may result in damages, which could translate into thousands of dollars per day. Of course, there are legitimate causes for deadline delays. And not being able to meet the schedule is often no fault of your own—it’s common to lose time from delays due to other contractors, design clashes, scope changes or bad weather.
If any of these are the case, document the situation and inform the client. Avoid being hit with charges for liquidated damages. Use software to assist with these management tasks. Software elevates your ability to inform your client in a much more timely and efficient manner. Be the contractor who doesn’t holler wolf several times. Instead, be known as the contractor who presents clear evidence of issues and solutions to solve them.
Project tracking software makes this easy. There are automatic time and date stamps to validate production and change orders. Software can report if your production is over budget and behind schedule, in seconds. You can make corrections that same day. Take pictures of issues such as design clashes with your smartphone and link them to your report. Software is designed to place photos at the exact spot in drawings.
Train your team to represent your company. Have them shake hands with the owner’s representative and the superintendent every time they meet. Have them ask questions throughout the project so the client and your team stay aligned. Reach out to the teams on a daily basis. Track the pre-construction goals you set.
Start the pre-punch list before the completion deadline so you prevent a lot of loose ends at the end of the project.
Call in your closers before the project deadline. Make sure you have the materials and contractors scheduled to complete the final touches on time. This last step carries the project over the finish line. It is what makes the difference between a good contractor and a great one. Your team will shine and may be placed on the preferred list for the next bid.
Next time, we will finish the series with post-project strategies.