Remodeler Steve Klitsch keeps his jobs organized by sticking to a schedule from the get-go. “One way to ensure high productivity and order is to first have an accurate job schedule — regardless of job size,” says Klitsch, owner of Creative Concepts Remodeling, Inc. in Germantown, Md., and member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
But planning ahead is only part of keeping an orderly job site for your employees and subcontractors. Use this project timeline as an organizational tool for remodeling success:
From Contract Signing to Job Start
Whether the job calls for installing tiles and countertops or sinks and dishwashers, give your subcontractors enough time to complete the tasks at hand. It’s important to consider the different trades involved and plan accordingly. Although electricians and plumbers may only need two weeks for shorter installations, a skilled carpenter building the frame for an addition will need a couple months to plan, Klitsch says.
“Many of these subcontractors have three- and four-man crews of their own, which requires a lot of schedule coordination,” he adds. In addition, they are likely working several other jobs — making efficient scheduling and follow-ups more critical.
Mason Hearn, president of HomeMasons Inc., near Richmond, Va., follows up with his trade partners two weeks before a scheduled job to make sure they are still on board for the work, and if so, to hold their spot in the schedule. He checks in again the day before trade partners are expected on the job site.
The First Day
Klitsch suggests having a written project timeline to ensure accountability. He recommends posting it in a visible area to keep the job on pace and to show your clients you are organized and have the confidence and skills to run the project.
Once the schedule is set, Hearn recommends introducing the client to the project point person, who will be responsible for all job site communications between the client and the lead project team. The point person should also designate an area for material storage and deliveries.
During the Job
Klitsch recommends staging deliveries in logical shifts, as not every piece will be used at one time. In addition, hold contractors responsible for bringing their own tools and equipment. “If the subcontractor is assigned a job and needs a tool that he or she has forgotten, then the subcontractor should have to retrieve that tool on his or her own time to complete the assigned work,” he says.
Such problems can be averted by establishing a reliable network of trade partners you use regularly. This way, you’ll always know what to expect in terms of timeliness, loyalty and, most importantly, cleanliness, Hearn says.
“We always insist on job site order and cleanliness throughout a job,” he says, noting his crews have their own mini-vacs and zip wall systems to keep dust and debris to a minimum. “We do it not only to keep the homeowner happy, but also because it shows that we have a respect for their homes.”
Hearn adds that an orderly jobsite is safer, more productive and allows the homeowner to feel better about the quality and progress of the work, giving everyone — workers and homeowners — a better attitude about the process.
Crews can show clients additional respect by using only company-provided tools, which also provides contractors some legal protection in the case of any mishaps. “If you are not using your own equipment and something fails, you may not be able to file a claim,” Klitsch says.
After Job Completion
Once the job is successfully completed, follow up on your practices of job site cleanliness and make sure you leave the home in the same shape you found it, Hearn suggests.
When packing up the company-owned tools and equipment, make sure all usage is properly documented in the tool maintenance log, if your company has one. To keep order on future job sites, Klitsch recommends taking a monthly tool inventory and checking it against any corresponding logs in case repairs are needed.
“Even if you only have a handful of employees, take a few hours one afternoon, spread all the tools out and see what’s what,” he says. “It will make keeping order on your next job site easier.”
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