Part Two – By Ron Pestone
Your field visits can and do affect many companies, individuals and the installation itself. Let’s take a look at some of them.
If you have a decent job costing system in place you will know the total hours estimated for the project and the hours the project consumed the day of your visit. The total amount requisitioned, the amount collected and the number and dollar value of your change orders. You need to have all this in your head before you walk the job. With this information you can now walk your installation intelligently. Nothing is more important.
First thing you want to look at; is Project Manager sufficiently requisitioning the project. In your walk through if you feel you have a lot more work installed than your Project Manager requisitioned ask him right then and there. If he mumbles a lot of nothings and hasn’t a good reason you ought to think about showing him the door. If he explains he has an unreasonable guy he has to deal with get the guys name and if he is on the site have your Project Manager get him on the phone and have him meet with all of you now. If he proves unreasonable and will not listen call his boss and explain the situation. If nothing happens slow the installation down until the money catches up.
Some guys just love wielding the power and nothing makes them happier than choking a contractor’s cash flow. To them it’s all just a big game and they are the 1,500 hundred pound gorilla in the room. This guy is not your friend and never will be because in his heart he thinks if you have a million dollar contract you are making $999,999. You need to go over his head if you do not want to shrivel up and die. Everyone has a boss and in the end the most important thing for an owner is to complete the building and occupy it. If you can show that this guy is a deterrent to that happening the owner is either going to insist the guy have an attitude adjustment or he needs to find another place to work.
My experience has taught me the last thing you want to do is to bring out the sledge hammer and clock somebody with it. Unfortunately in some cases that is the only thing some guys understand and if all else fails and you have to use it don’t do it half heartily.
As you are walking the job ask questions about the installation of why and why not your foreman did something. If by the hours consumed more work should have been installed than you have to ask why. Is he getting all the material when he needs it and is he getting answers to his technical questions from his project manager in a timely manner? Is vertical transportation a problem? The list goes on and on and if you know your trade you will know what to ask, so ask and press for answers.
One thing I learned for sure many years ago is that if a project manager has been negligent in his duties the foreman will give him up in a heartbeat when pressed.
If it’s not a project manager problem, a site problem or an owner problem it can only mean one thing, bad production. In my world the one individual who is responsible for production is the foreman. It’s his job and they’re his men to run and he is the guy who deserves the lion’s share of the credit when things turn out well and his feet have to be kept to the fire when things do not turn out well.
Every foreman is entitled to one heart to heart talk and you need to have it right then and there if production is bad. He needs to know what you expect and that excuses are not an option. If by your next walk thru there is no improvement, send the foreman down the road. If he had everything he needed and couldn’t get his men to produce he wasn’t much of a foreman. Either put him back with the tools on another job or let him go.
If on the other hand the production and quality are really good let your foreman and project manager know you really appreciate the effort. Do it from your heart. Take them out to lunch and maybe slip them a couple of tickets to one of the pro teams.
End of Part Two
Don’t forget: We Build America