7 Secrets to Site Work Success
In many construction scenarios, site work partners are the first team on site. This means the site work phase sets the tone and pace for the project in several ways. Since they are responsible for preparing the site for future construction activities, ensuring your site work team builds the foundations for your best project is crucial. A site work phase that’s riddled with issues and falls behind schedule can plague the rest of the job, while a smooth and knowledge-enhanced process can tee up the project for success.
How do you make sure your site work phase is laying a solid foundation for the rest of your project? We asked our team of excavating experts to share their secrets to success. In this blog, you’ll find their insights into an effective excavating and site work phase.
- Kickoff Meetings
- Detailed Estimates
- Getting Involved in the Design & Preconstruction
- Detailed Project Schedule
- Weekly Site Meetings
- Monthly Job Cost Reviews
- Great Communication
Dale Carnegie once said, “An hour of planning can save you ten hours of doing.” And in a world where time equals money, that means planning offers a lot of value.
At Horst Excavating, we use this principle to start our projects off. Taking the time to assemble key project players and ironing out the details in the very beginning pays off down the road. In our kickoff meetings, the field managers, project managers, and field operations managers will review the project’s key documents, goals, and targets. These include the contract, scope of work, budget, productions, materials, subcontractors, and more.
We’ll follow the startup agenda and maintain minutes as needed. From there, we’ll assign action items and follow-up items, so there are no questions surrounding who is responsible for what.
Estimates need to contain a lot of detailed information essential to a project’s progress. This information should be accurate and specific. At Horst Excavating, we will lay out labor, equipment, material, and subcontractor costs. Estimates should also depict the production, unit costs, equipment costs, and more.
To keep everyone on the same page, phase codes will be clearly labeled so the project management team and the field managers can easily recognize them. This little bit of extra effort, in the beginning, delivers countless efficiencies out in the field.
At Horst Excavating, we strive to be active teammates at every step of the process. By fostering an environment of teamwork, everyone can bring their expertise to the table, contributing valuable insight into every stage of the project.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the design and preconstruction phases of the project. An excavator brings unique site work expertise to the planning table. Everything from foundation digging to soil compaction to erosion control needs to be analyzed and discussed early on. This helps ensure that the project can move ahead without disruption.
Horst Excavating’s Vice President of Business Acquisition, Brian Kane, recognizes the important role each person can play in the design phase of a project.
“A successful project comes from a great team that collaborates freely and is involved in the project during the design phase. I personally believe team members take more of an ownership role if they feel they have had a hand in moving the project in each individual phase.”
Excavators should be eager to contribute to project planning and preconstruction. In addition to all the benefits outlined above, this also suggests that they recognize the impact their work will have on the bigger picture. They’ll measure their success by their impact on the project, not just their portion of the work.
Without a detailed project schedule, work can veer off track. This will make meeting deadlines more difficult and can even hamper coordination with other contractors. The first step in ensuring things continue as planned is to create a detailed scope of work. The project manager and site superintendent will collaborate to create a document that outlines all the work their team is responsible for completing.
They’ll then use this document to create a detailed schedule that outlines all the milestones from the scope in a way that fits into the overall project schedule. As the project progresses, these two documents are the track that keeps the project moving toward its goal.
To quote another wise man, Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” In other words, planning is an active process that requires continued effort.
To ensure our team stays on the same page, we will hold routine weekly site meetings with the field managers, project manager, and field operations manager. The team will analyze the schedule against the actual work completed and will adjust as needed to keep the project on track. They’ll also discuss labor, equipment, subcontractors, and other site essentials. These meetings will be tracked with meeting minutes, which detail action items and follow-ups.
The weekly site meetings will also focus on the work that’s coming down the road. Field managers review their two-week look-ahead schedules with field operations management to ensure the necessary equipment and manpower resources are available.
Staying on budget is an essential component of a project’s success. And like other project goals, this requires routine collaboration between key parties. To ensure our projects’ projection reports are accurate, Horst project managers and superintendents will meet monthly to review and make necessary updates.
Keeping a close eye on costs allows them to adjust accordingly, ensuring goals are met. The regular cadence of these meetings increases the likelihood that issues will be recognized and addressed promptly.
Throughout every stage of the project, good communication between the client and contractors is essential, and it needs to extend beyond the job site trailer.
“Routine meetings with Contractors and GC/CM are a great way to achieve this, but field managers and project managers should be communicating via phone and email throughout the days and weeks, advising on schedule and deliveries,” shares Horst Excavating’s Director of Project Management, Jason Hess.
This can help work progress more smoothly, preventing issues before they arise, and making it easier to solve problems should the issue be unavoidable.
Tee Your Project Up for Success
Don’t underestimate the impact a proactive and dependable site work contractor can have on your construction project. At Horst Excavating, we draw on over 60 years of experience and have worked on projects in a wide range of industries. Set your project up for success by choosing a contractor committed to effective planning and great communication.
Posted November 28, 2023