Jan 8, 2019
What is considered ‘just part of the job’ and what is considered the work of specialists?
This is an issue we hear our clients wrestling with over and over again, including how to operate powerfully in this arena. There are many areas that fit this problem and we are going to look at a one which shows up consistently in Construction – housekeeping.
One school of thought:
Housekeeping messes don’t get created by magic – when crews work in an area, surplus materials, scrap and waste are generated, equipment, tools and cords are moved and re-moved, and if this isn’t well managed then housekeeping will be needed sometime later. The ideal in this situation is that the crews would plan for, and then manage, the disposal of everything they created while doing the work and return the work area back to a useable state. Passageways and stairways free from obstruction, containers with scrap material in them disposed of, hoses, cords and leads rolled up, raised off the ground and out of harm’s way. If all crews operated this way then the construction site would consistently be in a workable shape, allowing for increased productivity.
A second school of thought:
Housekeeping messes are inevitable – it’s just a by-product of getting the work done. In a world of highly-demanding project schedules, cost pressure, labor shortages, the skilled workers’ time should be maximized. People are paid for what they produce, and projects should be getting the highest level of production from each crew and each trade. The ironworkers should be building the structures that only they can, the electricians should be providing ready-to-use electrical units, the superintendents should have their attention on production, etc., etc. Anything beyond these skill sets should be handled by specifically-created teams – clean-up crews and the like. Teams that are dedicated to this type of work, can bring learnings from different areas of the site and bring some ‘economies of scale’ that an individual team doesn’t have.
What’s your point of view?
Where do you sit on this issue?
What have you learned from your experience?
What have you seen that was successful?
What have you seen that was a failure?
What would you recommend to others?