A Builder's View

The Scenes Behind An Active Construction Project

Posted by Tim McDonald

Feb 21, 2014 8:00:00 AM

Have you ever wondered what happens on an active construction site? All projects vary in size and scope. However, they tend to have many activities in common. This post provides a glimpse into the typical events that occur on an active site.

By definition, construction is the process of assembling infrastructure.  Construction is not a single activity; it consists of a series of activities performed by many people.  As you’ve already learned, successful construction of a project requires sound planning.  Professionals involved in the design and construction of projects will engage in (1) site assessment and logistics, (2) public impact planning and communication, (3) demolition, (4) management, and (5) site safety.

Scenes from an active construction site.

Site Assessment and Logistics: Before construction work commences on the job site, an assessment of your site needs to take place. You will find that the location of the project site will provide some advantages and disadvantages. This investigation will also include an assessment of the project’s environmental impact, identify suitable locations for building and prospective challenges that may hinder construction.  

Once an evaluation of the site occurs, the team maps out the logistics.  This process diagrams how site personnel will move in and out of the work site to perform required services. In addition, the logistics plan will consider the management of physical resources including materials and equipment.  For example, teams need to identify where to locate the materials needed to build the structure/s.  Materials are typically transported across the site from their point of origin. Construction vehicles, such as forklifts, may be used for material transport and a plan for site vehicle traffic needs to be in place. Site logistics involves the integration of information flow, material handling, construction, transportation, and security. 

Public Impact Planning and Communication:  Another area involved in construction, is mitigating the impact to the surrounding public.  Often times, construction can be intrusive to local schools, adjacent businesses and homes. Work activities can be noisy and kick up a lot of dust.  An active construction site needs to be sensitive to these issues by developing a plan to reduce public disturbance, and providing courteous communication offering advanced notification of activities.

Demolition: If there is an undesired existing structure or interior space, there will be an effort to remove these unwanted elements to create something new.  Demolition teams will come in to clear out the site in a controlled and safe manner.  During the demolition phase, you may see wrecking balls or cranes.  Depending on the size of the structure, explosives may be used. Ultimately, demolition methods will vary depending on the type of structure involved and desired intent. 

Management: There are members of the on-site construction team who are ensuring daily activities are running smoothly.  Project managers, superintendents, and engineers organize the project workforce based upon the scheduled tasks that need be completed.  They make sure the work is performed correctly, within budget and meets the project deadline. In order for work to be performed in the desired manner, timely communication needs to occur.  Tracking the project’s budget, schedule, and other related documentation helps to keep all team members apprised of the latest developments.

Site Safety: Your project construction managers, superintendents, and engineers make sure the project site is upholding health and safety regulations. There is a tremendous amount of energy involved in providing a safe work environment for everyone on the jobsite and surrounding areas. For example, when it comes to workers lifting and carrying materials, safety procedures must be applied to ensure this effort is performed safely. Whatever the case or situation, safety on an active project site needs to be taken very seriously.

Now that you have a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes of an active construction project, do you have any questions?  Please respond in our comments section!

Topics: Sequencing, Active Construction, Construction Management, Site Logistics