Professional ABAA Installers often have in mind to be as productive as possible, while also providing quality installation for their customers. Sometimes these goals can get compromised by a variety of outside events and self-inflicted actions, and the end result can be unnecessary frustration.
When it comes to completing a project productively, here are a number of tips to make your next project even more successful.
It is critical that your team communicates early with the General Contractor's project manager or superintendent about scheduling. Often a General Contractor's superintendent or PM does not fully appreciate how much production a 2, 3 or 4 person air barrier crew can achieve if they are given full access to a particular work area. If only small, unprepared work areas are provided to the air barrier contractor who quickly finishes this work in a few days, then has to demobilize only to remobilize again at a later date. Another common misunderstanding is when the General Contractor's team does not fully understand which components of the wall assembly need to be in place before the Air Barrier crew starts their work. This often results in premature start dates, where the site is not ready for the air barrier installation- resulting in delays in starting your work. It is wise to discuss these matters in detail with the GC's on site staff, to ensure the project is ready for your crews to start and there is plenty of work area for them to be as productive as possible.
Many projects now require the construction of a wall assembly mock-up, as part of the project plans and specifications. Sometimes, the Air Barrier Contractor is neglected and not invited to participate in construction of the required mock-up. This is an important and early opportunity to clarify the air barrier installer's scope of work with the general contractor's on site staff, and to begin coordination with all of the other building enclosure trades. Participating in this early construction phase activity can prevent many frustrations down the road.
Build a mockup and test it to work out scope, sequencing, and quality assurance issues
Encourage a pre-installation meeting with the General Contractor. Besides discussing scope and finalize the project's administrative requirements such as submittals, use this opportunity to clarify the sequencing of your work as it related to other trades such as roofing, masonry, electrical and mechanical penetrations, and window and door installation. Educate your customer's team about the benefits they will realize from the ABAA Quality Assurance Program. Attend the General Contractor's trade coordination meetings- often held weekly, and anticipate the work that will take place over the next several weeks. Obtain commitments from the other trade's work that need to be completed with certain work tasks before you can start, and make similar commitments to those trades whose work you will affect. It is wise to assume that the other trades know little about what is involved in the Air Barrier scope of work. Pay particular attention to the work activities that will take place after your efforts are complete, and clarify what repairs are required as a result of damage that will occur to your finished work and who will be responsible for those repairs.
Anticipate the work of other trades to avoid rework due to improper sequencing, such as what occurred here
Plan the work activities for your team well in advance. This might include double checking to make sure you have all the materials, tools, equipment, and manpower that is required. Things such as having your team can precut and stage many of the transition materials such as transition membranes for doors and windows, can be a great benefit. Often, precutting can be accomplished during down times when the weather does not allow work to proceed as anticipated. Visualize what the work areas will look like when they are turned over to you, and plan your work area and equipment placement in advance. Use lessons learned from the construction of the mock-up to assist in working out the most efficient coordination sequence between the various enclosure trades on the project.
Always be thinking about ways in which you can increase productivity while lowering your costs, but ensure you also maintaining quality. This will give you an edge over your competition. Be creative- often two installers working together can produce a lot more than two installers working separately can doing similar tasks. Know the strengths of your individual team members, and put them to work doing the jobs they are best at.
Use these tips to improve your productivity while maintaining a quality installation for your customer.
Timothy Mills is President of TAM Consultants and an ABAA instructor