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Ruminations from a Construction Site

Sanat Sankrityayan 2016-01-15

Can one person handle execution monitoring and inspection of 21 tasks at 21 different floors and done by 21 different contractors with different material and team strength and assure all Quality Work with no reworks? We possibly can, but if we are from Planet Krypton. It takes a Superman of a Site Engineer to do it daily. Modern technology has made it easier to build a high-rise. It has increased the scope of the work happening at the site. But the daily turmoil in the life of a Site Engineer refuses to decrease. As a young graduate, I thought of these Civil Engineers as highly efficient, and a powerful position. I am sharing some experiences gathered from the Site.

Start from getting the right incoming material checked at the gate, weighed accurately and counted, the organization also has to check if the Safety rules are in place. When the Material is unloaded, there are chances of breakage, damage, loss etc. Moreover, if the unloading is not done at the right place, it may cause further delays and losses. Now the real tussle begins, who shall supervise the Material Unloading in the best possible Lean manner. A Site Engineer is supposed to be running from pillar to post for meeting the demands made on his time. One common question faced is about the material wastage. What if the Contractor is paying for the losses?  

Every site has multiple agencies at work, and not all of them are aware of the occupational precautions. The labour crews are instructed to follow their guidelines and not interfere in anything else going on. For example, the SS Railing is to be installed at all balconies. At the end of the day, the Site Supervisor finds that the wasted covers, torn wraps from the railings are strewn all over the homes. However, all of the Contractor Team are gone. The responsibility of keeping the site clean is with the Site People, but who will do it?

Did the Engineer check Quality of all the Work happening onsite? Supervision can solve many of the Site problems. Say, Gypsum or POP plastering contractor is finished for a day. However, during the evening round, the walls were found to be marked with hand prints, marks of depression and peeling off in the corners. This was discovered in the floors where no work happened that day. Most opinionated view would be critical of the labour crew members wandering here and there, just desecrating all. However, it is the result of a badly supervised site. Only when the right people enter the premises and all are monitored, we can rest assured that such deviations do not happen.

With the growing awareness on Digital Media, even the Site Engineer has to adapt WhatsApp, Skype, Gmail and other such data platforms for Daily Reports. The reports are becoming easier with the use of graphic tools. One such example is using a synchronised Tab for making entries for the DPR at the end of the day. We will have better digital supervision and monitoring tools soon but today the majority of the sites have a manual entry registers maintained for the stocks on site, labour attendance, contractor days, assets onsite, admin expenses etc. It takes daily effort for data. Changes are long pending for Construction Sector. The work should be fun at the site, isn’t it!

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