When Senior Superintendent Steve Hamrick began his career in construction, cordless tools hadn’t even been invented yet. Forty years later, not only are tools cordless, but he and his fellow Meyer Najem Superintendents now have an iPad in their safety vests for 24-7 access to ProCore, they can send owners drone footage of their projects and they have access to BIM scans to know what’s behind walls and ceilings.
“What I love about construction is that it evolves constantly. There are advances in technology, materials are always improving, and I’m meeting new people all the time,” said Steve.
One of his favorite advances, other than cordless tools, is the adoption of a Lean construction technique called Pull Planning. This form of scheduling starts from the end and works backwards, hence the word “pull”. At the beginning of a project, all the contractors get in a room and put color-coded post-it notes on the wall. If a door framer needs to be on-site for three days with 4 workers, then he posts that on the schedule on the wall. The drywall contractor needs to do his job before the doors can go in, so his post-it notes then go on the wall noting how many days and how many workers it will take to get it done, and so on. This continues until the duration of the project has been filled. All the tasks associated with building the project must fit within the allotted schedule so post-it notes are moved around during the Pull Planning session until this is accomplished.
Once the Pull Planning session is complete, the post-it notes are transferred to large boards in the job-site trailer, and this becomes the daily master schedule for everyone on-site to follow. Steve notes that it can also be useful for smaller portions of project, “I once had a project coming to an end, but we still had three months of work to do in a two-month time frame. I got the team together and did pull planning until we figured out how to get it done. Every contractor knew what they had to do to get it done on time and we did it.”
Superintendents work very closely with Project Managers throughout the duration of a project, which can sometimes take years and it’s not uncommon for them to work on several projects in a row. Steve said that you get to the point where you know what each other is thinking.
Because Superintendents are on-site full time, they really become the face of the project. We’re fortunate at Meyer Najem to have a seasoned team of Superintendents who really excel at this part – they really build relationships with Owners and future tenants of the building. Sometimes we’re working in occupied spaces and our Superintendents make sure keep everyone safe and happy. Steve recently completed a large addition and expansion at a Hamilton Southeastern Elementary school, and, at the end of the project, all the kids gave Steve hand-made cards thanking him for making their school look so good and for giving them tours of the progress along the way.
Our Superintendents go the extra mile to ensure the process is enjoyable. Let the know-how and experience of our team of Superintendents work for you.
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