On home improvement shows and in other media displays, the steps necessary before a construction job can begin are rarely shown. In some cases, it can take years to obtain the proper permits and other paperwork that is necessary to start a job. In other cases, authorities must approve specific details or send out an inspector to ensure that plans match regulations.
Surveys and Regulations
In reality, the process of site setup for construction is much more involved than you might think. Depending on what you are constructing and where it is located, you will have to obey specific laws and regulations. Because setup can be extremely involved, your project manager may choose to use a professional construction setup company. If you are part of a larger firm, you are likely to have this person in house.
Before equipment can be brought in and work initiated, a survey of the job site must be taken. Residential surveys have different requirements than commercial surveys, and requirements vary overall from state to state. A professional surveyor will be able to speak to specific requirements for your job and your area as well as determine the boundaries of the area with which you have to work.
Once a full survey has been completed, you will need to install boundaries around the construction site for safety. When fences or other barriers are erected, it is a good idea to explain what you are doing by way of a semi-permanent sign. This also serves as a working advertisement. Blueprints tend to be finalized in this stage as well. Changes may need to be made to the site borders to accommodate things like water or gas lines.
Construction Site Setup Risk Assessment
You’ll need to carry out a variety of tests and site prep before beginning your construction work. This includes soil tests to verify that you can proceed with certain types of work. An environmental engineer can assist with this task.
In addition, use ground-scanning technology to verify that the area where you’ll be working is free of underground obstacles like wells or gas lines. You’ll also need to check for above-ground hazards like derelict buildings.
Setting Up a Construction Office
A construction office is specifically the area where employees check in and out, where mailings are handled and where all important documents are held. The construction office also doubles as a war room of sorts for your project. Because you are working in the elements and out of temporary shelters, an office’s functionality may be limited.
However, technological advances have made setting up an office far easier than it was in the past. Thirty years ago, you would have had to set up a land-line phone and fax machine. With the advances in wireless technology, you can have all the files you need on a tablet, send all the documents you need with your phone and manage your team schedule with a Google sheet in the cloud.
What your office needs is entirely dependent on your job. In this construction site setup example, for instance, you may not need a full on-site office at all, provided you have foremen on the site whom you trust to manage the crews. Everything from payroll to contract signing can be done remotely, and the way that you configure your managers is up to your tastes.
Managing a Small Construction Company
Small companies, particularly new startups, tend to necessitate that their people wear many different hats at the same time. Your CFO may also be your design lead, and the owner may also be the human resources department and manager. If this is the case for your company, it may help to schedule certain types of work only for certain days.
Managing any company requires you to know all of the rules and regulations that your jobs entail. You’ll also need to understand those who are working for you and their strengths and weaknesses. On top of that, you’ll be tasked with making the best financial choices for your company.
- construction site image by .shock from Fotolia.com