On any project, it can’t all be about budget and schedule. While most–if not all–of us get tunnel vision when it comes to time and money, it’s important to pay close attention to how the project is built.
Maintaining a clean, orderly job site is critical for a number of reasons, most notably, safety. Bryan Langston, a Superintendent at Barron Builders highlights his projects at Apple’s campus to illustrate this point. “Apple’s projects are often in such high pedestrian traffic areas that you have to be a conscientious builder, making sure you don’t let a stray nail get away.”
Here are five things your contractors should (or shouldn’t) be doing:
1.) No smoking or chewing tobacco. There is a reason that this will automatically fail your space’s LEED Certificate (by violation of LEED IAQ Credit). Tobacco not only will permeate into filters, ductwork, but it will also infuse itself into all semi-permeable (e.g. drywall, wall coverings, and carpet). What about when the project is only a building shell, that is ok right? WRONG! Cigarette butts can create a massive amount of waste and make a jobsite look terrible. Additionally, once the cigarette butt hits the floor, every subcontractor points fingers at each other and no one wants to pick it up. That creates costs to everyone for additional meeting time and directly impacts the General Contractor costs as additional time cleaning up the site is needed; there is no excuse for something that can easily been avoided.
2.) Cover all rigid duct lines, light fixtures, and registers until final commissioning. Dust and debris can settle in these areas even if the jobsite seems to be completely spotless. Waiting until the last possible moment to remove these coverings not only ensure that the client receives a pollution free product, but that lunch debris, hand tools, and cell phones do not end up in the ductwork (yes, I have seen this happen).
3.) Coordinate 2 hours every week that tradesmen must clean the entire site. I learned this trick from watching my nephew, interestingly enough it works on a jobsite just as well. Set time aside in the weekly routine, make sure to say “pick up time!”, for all trades to do an audit of their onsite generated garbage, tools, and equipment. The day before OSC meetings can work, but I prefer Friday mornings so that I have a nice and tidy site over the weekend. Note: this should be in addition to the general housekeeping of the site that should go on daily.
4.) Clearly identify common debris stockpile areas. Just because there is no way to immediately remove debris from a site is no excuse for it to pile up and become intrusive. Set specific areas and stick to them. This will keep the site organized and allow more of the job area to be used for construction. Location, location, LOCATION
5.) Timing. Certain trades create certain debris. Some of that debris can only be removed in specific ways, other debris types take more volume than others. By properly phasing a project and being aware of their needs, a site can stay amazingly clean by simply being conscious of the timing of when subcontractor debris is created and when it will need to be removed. This not only increases productivity for all, but can eliminate on-site conflicts regarding usage of the site.
Keeping a jobsite clean as work is being done actually increases profitability for all subcontractors in many ways. Constant cleanliness means alleviates having to do a massive labor intensive clean up at the end of a task. Additionally, if the project has less debris, that means less insurance risk due to injury, which means less downtime in productivity, and lower EMR rates which saves you money every year!