Saturday, 29 October 2016

Site Workers Can Become Site Hackers If You Keep Your Eyes Off --Engr. Osaz' Enobakhare

Managing construction activities comes with some burden. There is the burden of trust. First, the project owner relies on qualification, experience and trust to engage a contractor. Next, the contractor wants to work with a team and/or a group of workers that can be trusted to deliver to instructions and specifications. 

There is often likelihood that trust can be breached at some point; either between the Project Owner and the Contractor or between the Contractor and his team and that’s why there must be a frantic effort at ensuring that trust and positive co-operation is strengthened throughout the duration of the project and there are only a few ways to do that. 
In practice it has been observed that while a breach of trust, usually financial or technical in nature between a project owner and the contractor often lead to a project being abandoned, if the same occurs between the contractor and his work team at any level, the project can suffer severe injuries that may not be obvious until after some time. Hence, the later can be said to be more dangerous.

Let me paint a clearer picture. Consistent site visitation is part of my research activity and over time, I get to see a couple of dirty activities that play out on the field. 

Although it is quite easy to put the bulk of blame on the desk of the contractor, rightly so, it is also good to point out that site workers can be up to a lot as soon as you take your eyes off –they can practically hack a site! 

Truly, it may be sort of impossible for a contractor to be on the site every second, hence he has to rely on his site manager(s) or supervisor(s) to be his eye on the sub-contractors and site workers as the project progresses. However, if the site manager is naive or corrupt, negative collaborations may be engendered and the project bears the brunt. Sometimes they plot to manipulate mix ratios so they can save some materials to sell later to make unscrupulous gains. Surprisingly this left overs can amount to unbelievable metric tons!  Other times they negatively influence the supplier to bring in cheap, sub-standard substitutes that can easily be used up so that they can enrich themselves with the extra change and jointly cover up their hideous deeds.

 


The use of technology has helped reduce such activities as contractors as well as project owners can follow the progress of work on their site from virtually anywhere. For large sites, installing self-powered IP CCTVs that is connected to your mobile device via the internet at various strategic points on the site can be helpful. However for small sites, some contractors or project owners rely on what is commonly referred to as ‘snap and send’ – the use of instant messengers to convey site pictures and vital info to the receiver at any time. 


However the latter is still subject to manipulations. Notwithstanding, the use of technology cannot be over-emphasized as the ‘trust’ element itself is subjective -it can fail at some point but technology rarely does.

Understanding the psychology of members of a work team is one key aspect that should be taken into consideration. 

 

Typically, site workers are journeymen from various backgrounds; hence they cannot all behave in the same way at every given time. 

Most people met for the first time on a construction site and do not necessarily feel oblige or accountable to each other. It therefore important for site managers and foremen to always engage the right people –people that are not only good on the job but that they can have a sufficient control over. You don’t expect to change anyone over-night. It’s a site not a Correction Centre! Some people just don’t fit in. 

Disengage any worker(s) trying to be a bad influence on others but that is only after you must have paid them off. Do not starve workers of their pay as at when due, hence you give room for all manner of after-thoughts and most importantly don’t allow moth to stick to your own eye too.