The construction industry keeps our society functioning. It is the reason we have roads, hospitals, homes—the list could go on forever. As integral this field is in everyday life, there is a lot of room for improvement.
A major issue that has plagued the construction industry for years is the lack of growth in productivity. The McKinsey & Company report on the topic informs that over the last twenty years, labor productivity has grown, on average, 1% each year. The need for more effective processing is obvious, but the “how” is much harder to figure out.
In an industry that is dangerous by nature, it can be risky to focus on productivity alone. Implementing new practices to improve efficiency must be considered hand in hand with a careful revision of safety measures.
The construction industry is one of demand and deadline. Crews are known to work long, odd hours, and overtime isn’t uncommon. If not kept in check, such a strenuous schedule can lead to sleep deprivation; when sleep deprived, the brain is often affected by memory lapses, poor judgement, and slowed reflexes.
The mental toll that overtime takes on workers in what is often a precarious environment can be physically dangerous. A tired employee who makes one careless mistake can have terrible repercussions on themselves or their coworkers.
Such confusion is not only physically dangerous for a crew, but it can lead to lapses in judgement and miscalculations that call for fixing mistakes or redoing work, thus compromising their timeline.
In order to preserve the physical and mental health of a crew and keep a project on track, overtime should be managed. Employees shouldn’t spend more than a predetermined number of hours working on a construction site per week, and someone should be charged with holding the crew accountable.
In any field of work, new employees can cost a company time and money if not trained correctly. In construction, the stakes are higher once physical safety is factored into the equation. To improve a new employee’s efficiency and to keep him or her safe, the buddy system should be adopted.
Pairing a new employee with an experienced crew member is beneficial in more ways than one; as the new worker learns best practices from a seasoned counterpart, the latter can ensure that time isn’t wasted redoing work and that safety measures are enforced.
In any line of work, industry standards are constantly changing and employees can benefit from continual training—regardless of how long they’ve been working in the field. A lot of skills can be learned on the job, but bad habits are easily passed down, too. Crew training is a good way of keeping the whole crew on the same page as far as safety protocols and methods for maximum productivity.
Clear and comprehensive instruction from leadership in the form of meetings, presentations, Q&As, or a variety of interactive training can enhance a workforce’s productivity in a safe manner.
For example, Stronghold Engineering conducts training on a weekly basis. At all job sites, employees, subcontractors and project management are involved in “ToolBox Talks” that discuss components of projects that are relevant and applicable to their current jobsite. These ToolBox Talks discuss ways to be safe and conscious of a worker’s surroundings and helps the staff understand the potential hazards they face when working on a jobsite.
While it’s easiest to look at what a crew already does well and find ways to improve on it to compensate for existing poor work strategies, the more effective angle is to find the weak points in the process and find ways of improving those. They may consequently alter a few of the processes that had worked well already, but examine the outcomes of both options and gauge which would yield the most improvement in the long-run.
Keep the long-term effects in mind without sacrificing the safety of your processing, and you’ll find your efficacy improves. The number of ineffective procedures can be intimidating, but if addressed one at a time, over time the little changes add up to a more efficient construction site.
A great way to find weak spots in a crew’s productivity or safety is to get input from the crew itself. Crew members might be able to detect issues that are not readily apparent to supervisors, and their insight into solutions can prove valuable. Additionally, allowing employees to use their own ingenuity gives them awareness of inefficient strategies and enables them to solve even more potentially overlooked productivity or safety issues.
It’s critical to analyze your processing strategies to grasp what makes your crews both productive and safe. Profits will increase, and the number of workplace injuries will drop as you find better, more innovative methods of construction.