|11. Day in the life of a Construction Manager (in
this case You!)
Things you need for the job: Beeper, cell phone, daily work log, measuring tape and camera. The cell phone is important because you will be running to lumber yard etc. and you want to always be available so that the subs can reach you with any questions. This way the job will not be slowed down if you are not at the site and the subs will see that you are professional in the way to work.
5:30 AM Out of bed, coffee, quite time, getting ready. Make sure your beeper and cell phone are charged up and ready to go.
6:30AM Review schedule for today.
What subs need to be called? You generally want to give them minimum 5 days advance notice that their portion of job is coming up. You can always call at least 2 to 3 days ahead to adjust the schedule if you find out later that you are not quite ready for them.
The worst thing you can do is have them show up when you are not ready for them. If you cry FOX too often then subs are reluctant to show up and waste their time. Time is money. Of course if you find out at 6:00AM on the day the sub is to arrive that you are not ready for him, it is better to call him right then to reschedule his men. He wont be happy but at least he did not have to show up at a site that was not ready.
Also review what materials need to be at the site and what hat inspections need to be called in for tomorrow.
7:00 AM Call all subs that you feel may not show up and the ones that you will be needing a week from now. This is the best time to get them as they are generally at the site by 8:00AM and we want them at our site not another job.
A good way to start the conversation is to say "Anything you need from me at the site this morning? Any questions you need answered?" You dont want them to think that you are pestering them or that you dont trust them to show up. You want to let them know in a friendly way that you are ready for them and are there to help them in any way (outside of doing their work for them).
8:00AM Swing by the job site to see if there are any immediate questions that need to be answered. Log in your daily record which subs are at the job site and how many men they have working there. Does any one need anything? Were you supposed to provide any items for the subs (fixtures for example) that are not there?
Make a list of any missing items to be picked up at the builder supply. If the builder supply is on the way to the job site them you might stop by there first before going to the site. Be efficient in you job planning and trips to the store.
10:00AM You have made the trip to the builders supply, gone back to the site to deliver the goods and things seem to be moving along. Now is the time to take a few minutes walking around the job site to verify each phase of construction.
Get out your CPM or Bar Chart and see if you are on schedule. Start visualizing the next step in construction. At the site you can walk up to the electrician and ask if he is on schedule and will he be through by Wednesday. If not, you need to adjust when the inspections will be made and when the drywall sub should come in. YOUR JOB IS PRIMARILY SCHEDULING, QUALITY CONTROL AND KEEPING THE JOB MOVING!!!
If the drywall sub was scheduled to come in on Thursday , 4 days from now, and the electrician is running behind, get on the phone now and reschedule the drywall sub (make sure all other "critical path trades" have done their work). Do this with all the trades on a regular basis. The project schedule or CPM is in a constant state of change and you have to review it every day to keep ahead of the curve and maximize each day at the site. If you dont , a 4 month job can stretch into 6 months and more!
12:00NOON TIME FOR LUNCH. TAKE A BREAK BUT HAVE YOUR PHONE HANDY!
1:00PM Back to the job site. Looks like the plumbing sub finally got here. They were running a half day late on the previous job. You need to adjust your CPM on the plumber because he will not be done till Thursday (at the end of the day). We need to make another adjustment in the drywall subs schedule. Of course before you call the drywall sub to reschedule you want to make sure the mechanical sub has all his ductwork done as well as all other "critical path trades". Your CPM is the key to successful job flow. Spend some time up front planning the sequence of the job. (See sample CPM in Appendix "D")
I have seen some builders run jobs without a CPM and in some cases where the job is simple it seems to work. In some cases the builder is so familiar with the type of job he does it from memory. In more complicated jobs CPMs are a must. In your case of home building for the first time a good CPM or job schedule is a MUST!
2:00PM The electrical sub has informed you that someone on the site had destroyed two of his electrical outlet installations and before he replaces them he wants to be assured that he can make a "Change Order" and add in the additional cost of $80.00 to replace them. Who broke them ? You ask. "Well I think it was the plumber when he was installing his stack-out in the bathroom".
Now you have to go and see what was broken and try to figure out who broke it. It looks like the plumber might have done it because there is a pipe nearby. You ask the plumber if he or his men broke the electrical outlet. If he say yes then you will have to "Back charge" the plumber for the additional cost that the electrician will charge you to replace it. If the plumber says no and you can not prove that he did it then you have to absorb the cost yourself. This is why we have contingency money as a line item in the job to take care of this type of situation.
You could go back to the electrician and say, " the plumber said he did not do it and I am relying on you to replace it as part of your job cost". Sometimes this will work. Dont push the issue too far for $80.00. As the amount goes up , more energy goes into finding the proper place for the blame and the cost.
So now you make out a "Change Order" for the additional $80.00 sign it, have the electrician sign it and then give one copy to the electrician and keep one for yourself.
Roof sheathing has arrived at the site. Time to check the invoice and make sure that all materials have been delivered in good condition. If there is a back order then file it for future reference. This will come in handy when doing your accounting.
3:00PM Take some time now for accounting. Post all the bills and receipts you have received today to you accounting system. If you dont have a computer system then you need to get a paper system from an office supply. Accounting is critical. You need to double check all materials received to make sure that what is billed is what you got.
Look at all subcontractor payment requests to make sure they are not billing you ahead of schedule and that the amounts are right. Any additions cost? This should be supported by a "Change Order". Many days accounting will have to wait till the evening.
3:45PM Back to the job site. Is the job clean? Make sure all debris is picked up. It should be in the subs contract to pick up his debris daily. Who is at the site ? Enter into you daily log who is at the site at the end of the day. Is there anything you can get for the subs for tomorrow morning? Who is coming back tomorrow? Any changes in CPM?
4:00PM Most subs are heading home by this time. Go home and get ready for tomorrow.
Push to Get Through
As the job progresses there begins to be more and more items or mini-projects (like the plumbing stack-out for example) that are running simultaneously. All the items need to be scheduled, promoted or watched over during the process for quality control, given a final inspection and approved as being completed to your satisfaction.
With more and more items running in parallel your time is becoming more in demand. In other words your work load will increase as the job approaches completion. This is the time when you are going to have to give that extra push to get the job done.
With so many items on the list to complete we need to give greater attention to coodination of the trades and the building inspections.
In some construction companies there is a special team (on large projects) that comes in toward the end of the project to give it that extra energy and attention to get the JOB DONE! If we dont prepare for this, the job can drag out longer than necessary and end up costing more than you anticipated.
To reduce this work load at the project end we can do several things. First, we can stay on top of the current items and get them to final inspection as soon as possible. Second, we can make an early "Punch List" that lists all the items that you feel need to be done for each trade to get you final approval.
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