Most homeowners choose to supervise their home building process to have first-hand control over the cost and quality of the works. Unfortunately, most homeowners are unprepared and ill-equipped for the task at hand. Since self-supervision is not bound to change end anytime soon, we believe it is best to equip the soon-to-be a homeowner with the tools, mindset, and information (call it training) they would require to be the exception.
So in this article, we will give you the tools you need to successfully and effortlessly project manage your home construction. Be prepared to be on-site at least once a day on most days. Never assume this role unless you can make it to the site often and stay within an hour’s drive to the site.
Have your approved drawings availed on site for the team to reference and local authorities to access. Consult with an experienced friend or consultant for clarity on matters you may not be familiar about. It is not an easy undertaking.
Be prepared to be tough and stand your ground when it comes to issues of quality and specifications. Be ready to send off none cooperating team members.
- Research and shop around for your preferred design options. Often, you have specific accessories, decorations, and furnishings you wish to place in your house though at times those accessories will not function as intended. It’s of great importance to take your time to find and confirm that all your intended accessories will fit within your budget and perform as intended and in collaboration with the other accessories.
- Interview contractors or builders. Get referrals for honest suppliers, builders, and contractors. Usually, a referred contractor or builder will endeavor to outperform your expectation to get a referral from you. Ask each supplier, contractor, or builder to share photos (or appropriate documents) of their work to access the quality and capacity to undertake the project tasks.
- Get your building permits. It is recommended that you get all your necessary documents and permits in order before commencing the construction of your house. Always have a copy of the approved documents on-site for easy access by the construction team and local authorities.
- Enlist professionals with whom you’ll consult. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even the professionals need assistance and clarification from time to time. Pick out a team with whom you will consult details about the build. Your first choice should be the architect & structural engineer who designed your house and the quantity surveyor who prepared your Bills of Quantities. If any of these are not readily available then pick out local alternatives with professional experience in the fields mentioned above. A friend or family member with construction experience can be a great addition to the team since they know your preferences, choices, and technical know-how.
- Break down your project into manageable phases. Consider your availability of funds, teams, equipment, and the weather. For more information, read this article that breaks down the construction into logical steps & stages.
- Arm Yourself with checklists and the appropriate specifications. Know your quality check and thoroughly watch your timelines. Draft chart and quality checklists. When you don’t know what is to be done, get help from someone who does.
- Prepare for the build. This involves all the preparation that has to be made before your construction commences;
- The team’s transport and accommodation.
- Clearance of the team persons with the local authorities.
- Meals and sanitary services.
- First aid box and first aid training.
- Equipment and tools training.
- Construction site training; Working at heights, material usage and disposal, fire and hazardous environment training, usage of tools and equipment, first aid training, signage and alerts, amongst others.
- Research and familiarise yourself with construction activities before they start. A general rule in the industry is; 1 hour of project management is required for every 8 hours (a full day’s work) spent laboring on the construction site. So if you have a team of 5 masons working for a full day, then you need to dedicate 5 hours beforehand to project manage the process, of which 100 minutes (a third of the time) of this should be spent on site.
- Be prepared to fire someone. As a Project Manager, you must manage the build quality and construction schedule at the best price. This means you have to relieve the project of none performers after it has been established that they cannot meet the project requirements. If you cannot fire someone, then you won’t be able to manage the team and should appoint a Project Manager.
- Keep a construction journal. A construction journal will capture all the events on the construction site. This should include the arrival and departure of all personnel on-site these are the construction team, consultants, local authorities, clients, visitors, etc.
The construction journal should include all the trainings undertaken by the team for example working at heights, safety training, injury training, fire training, first aid, etc.
The construction journal should include all the equipment and tools on-site, their usage, breakdown, repairs and the teams assigned to them.
The construction journal should include the daily achievements and changes to the building, materials delivered and used, details of construction tests and the corresponding results, minutes of project meetings and approval of all changes made by the project stakeholders.
The construction journal should also include payments of the workers and suppliers, stock-taking of equipment, tools, and supplies, cost management, and project analysis reports.
This will work as a point of reference during and after construction.
If you have free time To spare, don’t stand around on-site watching the team or talking, get your back into it, help out as a laborer, clear the site, or get your workers a cold drink. Your participation will encourage them.
Please add your opinions and ideas in the comments section below. Let us know what has been left out or any assistance you may require. Share it will all those you know who are planning to construct their dream home or working in the house construction industry.