What does a typical day for a construction manager look like? The short answer is: there is no typical day. Construction managers are, most of all, problem solvers.
We always know what we are building. We also know that there will be challenges. We just do not know what those issues will be. So, when problems come up, we have to figure things out and find solutions.
How do we know what to do?
First and foremost, we do not work in a vacuum. Here at Jaco we have assembled an awesome group of experienced professionals. We have all worked in this field most of our lives; there is a ton of experience and we make use of it. Our open office atmosphere is perfect for tackling difficult situations as a team, we have a great mix of seasoned and newer superintendents in the field, and mentoring is a big deal for us. I know I've learned a lot from great people over the years and I learned from my mistakes. And there have been plenty!
One time I was trying to put fill sand into a basement with a loader. Sand is heavy, and equipment will tip, if overloaded. Well, while at the edge of the basement, I tipped the machine forward. Luckily, the loader bucket caught the edge of the foundation wall and stopped me from going over. I got way too close to falling into the basement with me strapped in for the ride. I learned to keep the load low and to not slow down abruptly. Since that incident, I've always made sure my seat belt was fastened as well.
Today, part of my job is to ensure we work safely in a safe environment. We want everyone to be able to go home every night without being hurt. A two-minute discussion with someone about the proper way to move loads would have been very helpful to avoid the above-mentioned incident.
We provide training, and the entire Jaco team - including owners - demand safety first from all. In our weekly site meetings, safety is on top of the agenda. Our goal is to engage every person on the job.
While we can identify and eliminate most dangers, every once in a while, there will be something on a job that you cannot prepare for.
Early one morning, a still half asleep worker walked into a room on one of my job sites. He woke up a fully-grown deer that had spent the night there. The startled animal went crazy. Instinctively, it reared back, went at the frightened man and demolished the room in the process. Somehow the deer injured itself and proceeded to smear blood everywhere before finally running off.
When I got word and looked at the damage, it looked like a crime scene. The biggest surprise however, was the video clip I saw of the incident. To this day, I do not know how this guy could pull his phone out, turn the camera on and hit record all while the deer was charging at him.
Over the years, for me, I've realized that the people are more important than the actual technical aspect of construction. In a sense, most buildings are the same. They all have foundations, a shell, and interior finishes. That work to me is relatively straight forward. Getting a bunch of different sub-contractors, vendors, owners, architects, engineers, inspectors to work together to achieve our common goal, now that is a challenge!
We try to create an environment where everyone involved with the project can be successful. We aim to create positive momentum and traction. I find it very satisfying to be part of a project team that works together towards a common goal.
With a positive “can-do attitude”, problem solving skills, and the many years of construction experience, all the professionals here at Jaco will get any job done.