Words: Jameel Ervin, President at W.B.F. Construction Inc.
In masonry construction there are distinct departments: Estimating, Project Management/Field Crew, Accounting, Executives, etc. While each have their own distinct responsibilities, none of them can stand on their own. The relationships among the departments are interdependent which is why effective communication is critical.
Estimating Dept./Estimator’s Responsibilities
An estimator estimates projects as accurately and precisely as possible.
Those estimates have all required material quantity, material cost, install costs for all these materials, crew size, total crew days, cost of equipment required, and all other misc. costs that will be required to finish the masonry scope of work for projects.
Productivity rates are compiled by estimator, based on records of completed jobs.
Masonry estimation includes brickwork, CMU blocks, stone masonry quantity, etc. It is a complicated and time-consuming process that involves a thorough understanding of building walls, reinforcement, labor costs, material costs, transportation, and much more. Even the slightest misstep during the preparation of your masonry estimate can cause you to lose a potential job or run over budget.
The masonry construction industry is highly competitive, and profit margins are slim. You can’t afford to overquote or underquote on mega masonry projects. If you overquote on the project, you risk losing the contract, and if you underquote on your masonry takeoffs, you could be out of pocket when it comes time to pay for the unaccounted work.
The Estimating Department/Team or Estimator’s job and ultimate goal is to bid and win profitable projects for the company. It’s important that each awarded job is profitable.
Project Management Team/Foreman/Superintendent/Field Crew
Efficient & Effective Field Crew must have:
- An ample number of qualified craftsmen
- Qualified and sufficient supervision
- The right equipment for the job
The Field Crew’s responsibility is to do work efficiently and effectively to protect the company’s profit, ensure that projects are completed within timely and budgetary constraints, and achieve much better productivity than estimated, using the most efficient methods, equipment, and crew. Always keep the total cost below the anticipated total cost for the project. Keep tracking expenses/cost regularly in order to control cost.
The best masonry projects are built by the best teams as a whole, not by one or two participants.
Concerted effort is necessary to facilitate effective communication, which begins with the retention of each and every member of the team. A successful masonry project demands that all professionals involved are experienced, appropriate and are team players with complementary skill sets. Once on board, they need to be coordinated and managed to bring out their best work to meet the vision and goals of the project.
Mistakes are unavoidable in construction, but they can be mitigated with proper communication and the effective use of construction management processes. Relying on a professional project manager/superintendent/foreman to provide careful, proactive attention to detail, many problems can be anticipated early and mitigated. When the project finally commences construction, the contractors are much more likely to be able to accomplish the project smoothly, on time and within budget.
With the right resources, tools, knowledge, team, and attitude, the future of your masonry business has no limits.