This morning, prayer time focused on final inspections to go well for the project my husband’s team is delivering. Not only does this time in the building process often require longer working hours, it requires patience, collaboration, and communication to pass the important process ensuring the quality and safety of the construction process and the asset itself has been met. The project team and the stakeholders all have vested interest in getting the news—we passed.
Challenges Faced in Construction Design, Materials, Manpower, and Budget
Those not directly working on site in the trades or field supervision or those of you readers not in the industry itself may take for granted what has to be done in construction to get to the point of a safe, completed construction project. How many challenges did the team face along the way with design, materials, manpower, budget, and possibly even failed inspections and redoes along the way to finals.
Final inspection time and closing out a project bring a lot of emotions to the workplace. They represent an end to the project itself and often daily relationships that embraced or simply faced each other to do the job at hand.
Lead Executives’ Actions during the Final Few Weeks of a Project
Two things often happen during the final few weeks of a project when it comes to the personnel involved in delivering the job.
- Lead executives representing the general contractor (aka employer) move team members off the project either through layoffs or assignments to other projects within the company.
- Construction management team members (aka employees) underperform or resign.
All too often, over the years, we hear from employers during the hiring process—particularly when it comes to lead superintendents and project managers—the question of their track record and experience when it comes to closing out a project. They ask not only for experience but commitment.
Career Advancement in Construction Management
Career advancement from assistant or area superintendent to lead project superintendent or from assistant project manager to lead project manager requires the expertise to take a project from start to finish in your prospective role. If you have not done so when given the opportunity, you will either succeed or fail. Without someone who has been through it before guiding you, you might get through, but most likely not without a cost to the project and the stakeholders involved. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know, even if you are willing to do it.
Improving Management Talent Pool in the Construction Industry
What are some things employers/hiring managers and employees can do to help improve our management talent pool in the industry, both in technical skill set and in good character and benefit their own reputation as a leader and organization, when it comes to attracting and keeping the top construction management professionals?
- Communicate early enough with your team as to your expectations for finals and close-out of the project—don’t assume they are qualified, experienced, or knowledgeable about the process. Titles, geographic project experience, past projects, or company structure all play a role in what a person titled superintendent or project manager has learned. Make sure they know who to ask and will ask for help.
- Budget dollars often dictate the manpower present at the end of a project. Budgeting or managing the project budget along the way to afford the development of inexperienced team members create better-experienced construction professionals for your future projects and our industry.
- If you are concerned about early resignations, offer incentives with specific completion dates for team members to stay and finish their projects. This can be done on the backside of the project once you have some history of the project’s trajectory and the commitment and performance of people assigned to the project itself.
- Plan a project completion celebration, even if it’s just an evening meet-up at a restaurant. Invite everyone from the project team, including office staff and those who have left the company, even if they rubbed someone the wrong way during the project or in their departure. Each person played a role, and regardless of how well they did, often social environments do two things: get rid of grudges associated with the project and enable someone to discover perspective and what they could do better next time.
- Finish strong. If you don’t want to stay at your current employer for the last few weeks, do it for your team members. If it is because of one or all of your team members, do it for your employer. You are ultimately doing it for yourself, establishing you are emotionally intelligent enough to keep your commitment to the project and the industry. Ultimately it will pay off.
- Recognize that any new employer who says they can’t wait for your two-week notice to your current employer is showing they do not care about you, your career, and reputation out of the gate. If you choose not to give a two-week courtesy notice prior to the completion of the project, you are demonstrating the same to your current team and our industry.
- Learn the close-out process and your role in its success. This is more than going along for the ride; it is asking and offering to learn and own a bigger part and how to bring professional closure.
- Recognize the most successful people in the construction industry are always willing to learn and help, and you never see them, unless incapacitated, resign from the job unfinished, regardless of how they feel.
Professional Closure in the Close-Out Process of a Construction Project.
Musician and Philanthropist James Durst said, “Help one another; there’s no time like the present and no present like time.”
Your time at the final stages of a project is the best gift you can give to your team, the stakeholders, and your career. After all, rarely does someone remember your arrival on the project, but they do remember your departure, especially if they were left to do your job and theirs too!
If you needed to pass final inspections for yourself to confirm the next employer receives a safe and valuable asset in you, would you pass?
To Celebrating You, to the End,