11 Ways to Be a More Effective Construction Superintendent

September 18th, 2013 - By
  1. Construction SuperintendentPlan. Then think about it some more. Sleep on it. Then do some more planning. Repeat if necessary. This is the best way to avoid any crisis.
  2. Engage others and ask for input when coordinating and sequencing activities. Perhaps the biggest challenge Superintendents face is the enormous task of not just keeping up with which subcontractor is doing what and when, but actually knowing enough about each trade to oversee the work and ensure the quality of the craftsmanship and materials. Gaining your subcontractors’ trust and buy-in early on makes your job a whole lot easier and ensures better quality right from the start.
  3. Be stern, compassionate, decisive and open-minded—all at the same time. Take time to explain things and to listen. Base your decisions on understanding a situation and doing the right thing.
  4. Keep your eyes and ears open on your jobsite. If something doesn’t seem right, look into it. Do your research, ask questions, make phone calls—whatever it takes to get to the bottom of it. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire; and if it’s on your jobsite you need to know about it so you can take care of it as soon as possible.
  5. Keep track of EVERYTHING. Take notes in a daily diary and use them to create your weekly meeting agenda. Review your notes often to make sure that each item is answered, resolved, deleted, etc. If you don’t do this consistently, you will miss so many opportunities to catch things that might otherwise come back to haunt you. Don’t let those things slip through the cracks.
  6. Learn to play the hand you’re dealt. Not every subcontractor and supplier on every job will be great, and you will probably have to spend most of your time working with your weakest performers. Just don’t forget to take some time to show your appreciation for ones who do good work.
  7. Keep your word. Be consistent in meeting your commitments to other people. If you don’t, they won’t trust you—it’s that simple.
  8. Be meticulous and start early in the job to avoid a long, nasty punch list. It’s a lot harder to deal with problems at the end of a project than it is to prevent them at the beginning.
  9. Visualize. Subcontractors perform specialized work and, for that reason, tend to focus on just their own scope of work while on your jobsite. As a Superintendent, you have to be able see the “big picture” and communicate that to your subcontractors so that you can help them and your project be successful.
  10. Learn from your mistakes. Everyone makes them, but what really matters is how hard you work to reduce them. I always say, “I never screwed anything up on purpose.”
  11. Take care of yourself. You can’t be a Superintendent 24/7. When you go to work each day, give 100% and do your best to take care of anything and everything that comes up. When you get in your truck to go home, leave it all there!

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