Time to Clean Up

In large construction projects such as skyscra...

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The construction sector in South East Queensland is pretty flat at the moment for one simple reason: the industry lacks confidence in the immediate future.

Ok I could rant on about Gillard and Bligh (our PM and our state premier) but they will be gone in time hoisted on their own petard as we used to say. Construction companies are not hiring, ex-colleagues of mine are uncertain where the next project is coming from, so there is a shadow over the construction industry.

Everyday in the public notices section of the local rag there are subcontractors and suppliers in liquidation. Should we be depressed about the situation – definitely not. It is exactly what was required to fix an overheated industry, get rid of the rubbish and the wannabes.

I was discussing the current situation with an employment novelist (sorry consultant) today. He rang me asking did I know of anyone who may be interested in a position he was advertising. He went on to tell me about this “family orientated builder”, the “potential career potential”, then those bloody buzz words: team, synergy, blue-chip clients, ASX listed, openness, friendly environment. I had to stop him from gushing on about this company by telling him that I knew lots of people who may be sucked in to this Utopian employer. He detected my slight sarcasm and asked me what I would look for in a company. My response is summarized as follows:

  1. The company needs to be run by a hard-nosed, seen it all before, no-nonsense builder.
  2. The biggest site the financial controller has seen is not his girlfriend’s backside.
  3. Site foreman need to be able to use a level and have top-level skills such as being able to read, write and even set up holding down bolt cages accurately.
  4. Each project is up to date ie variations, RFIs, cost reports, subcontractor payments, registers, subcontracts et al
  5. The contact administrators can write their own scopes of works which get to the site before the subcontractor
  6. Working hours 06:30 until 18:00, but early finish of 13:00 on Saturdays.
  7. Subcontractors/suppliers paid on time
  8. Estimators who can actually estimate
  9. Safety policy that is in force not paid lip service to
  10. What gets discussed at the job interview is the truth no matter how unpalatable.
My friendly employment novelist was very quiet and finally asked me could I send him my response so he could use it as his own checklist.

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