construction team on site

Start Every Project Right


Studies show that construction project superintendents and foremen only spend a few minutes per day planning their work. And to make matters worse, most crews waste over two hours every day looking for materials, waiting for directions, or just standing around not being productive. A little planning will improve your field productivity, eliminate mistakes, and get your projects built faster and with better quality.

Hold a Pre-job Start-up Meeting

Walk through the mud, kick the dirt, smell the air, and get excited. Start every project right by holding a pre-job start-up meeting on the jobsite, with every team member in attendance. Get everyone focused, outline the goals and objectives, make commitments, avoid potential conflicts, and present your winning plan to make your project a success.

Invite every member of the project team as they all have an important part to play. General Contractors should invite the project owner, architect, engineers, all subcontractors, major suppliers, and, in some cases, the lender or real estate broker. Subcontractors should meet with their field supervisor, foreman, and project manager onsite with their customer or general contractor’s project manager and field superintendent as well. When everyone meets together before your job starts, you are guaranteed that your construction projects will have a much better chance of succeeding, avoiding potential conflicts, finishing ahead of schedule, and staying under budget.

Plan First, Build Second

Hold your pre-job start-up meeting PRIOR to starting work. Many subcontractors and suppliers will fight you on this. They don’t want to take the time to attend your job meeting. The rough carpentry or drywall contractor might say, “I don’t need to be onsite for months!” Sorry, this is a mandatory meeting required to get everyone on the same page. Hold the meeting on the jobsite and don’t even consider meeting in your office conference room. It may be inconvenient to go out to the site, but once everyone stands on site, the project becomes a priority. It engages the senses as your team sees the players, problems, and issues— it becomes real and urgent. At the meeting, discuss the importance of teamwork, project milestones, and how everyone counts on each other and will have to work together to hit the project targets and goals.

Have the project manager and field superintendent run the meeting. If the company owner runs the meeting instead, then these two will not become responsible or accountable. They must get together before the meeting and get ready to explain the project plan to the team. Don’t let them “wing it.”

The Pre-Job Start-Up Meeting Agenda:

  1. Review project goals and objectives. Often, subcontractors think price is the most important factor on every job. But schedule, quality, value engineering, or customer relationships may be more important factors. When everyone understands what targets to aim for, project goals can be met.
  2. Issue all subcontracts for execution before starting the job. All the subcontractors can then discuss issues, problems, and conflicts immediately and get them resolved early. This forces the project manager to commit to all of the trades early on, freeing up time later to just concentrate on building the project.
  3. Issue approved plans and specifications. Review them together and make sure every subcontractor understands what’s required.
  4. Issue the project schedule. The superintendent can then discuss the work flow, anticipated problems, coordination, and long-lead items. Follow with an open discussion of the schedule among all subcontractors and suppliers.
  5. Review job and safety rules. These include jobsite hours, safety, noise restrictions, clean-up requirements, equipment, adjacent property concerns, etc.
  6. Review permit, license, and special inspection requirements. Identify who will be responsible for each of these and when they will be required.
  7. Issue a required shop drawing and submittal list. List out when everything is needed, who approves them, and timing. This step can reduce delays by prompting everyone to identify long-lead items and order them early on.
  8. Review payment procedures. Include procedures for invoices, releases, joint checks, authorization, and timing.
  9. Review project insurance requirements.
  10. Review the change order system. Explain the approval process from pricing to review and payment. Include estimated timeframes, allowable markups and who is authorized to sign.
  11. Conclude with an open discussion. Allow everyone to share their concerns, issues, and comments. Addressing them early, with all parties present, saves time, money, and headaches later.

This simple pre-construction meeting will make a dramatic and positive difference in your construction business. The quality of work will improve, you will finish jobs faster, and field problems will virtually be eliminated. Customers, architects, subcontractors, and suppliers will also be happier. The client gets what they want and everyone makes more money.

Start every project right with a pre-job start-up meeting. An investment of one or two hours before starting your projects will lead to incredible results.

Business - Commercial Construction Industry

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This article contains general information only. Sunflower Bank is not, by means of this article, rendering accounting, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, before making any decisions related to these matters, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.