Establishing Work Hours
Setting work hours is a responsibility usually associated with construction operations and job site management that the superintendent must attend to. The standard eight-to-four routine is not always the norm in the construction industry. Adjusting work hours to accommodate the task at hand or special conditions happens all the time. For example, working in the middle of the night is a common occurrence in highway construction or commercial remodeling that requires working after-hours. Most of us have encountered the late-night crew constructing a new section of a busy highway.
The superintendent must consider the demands of the project as well as the demands on their workforce in establishing the working hours. There are times when different trades may need to be scheduled to work on different shifts to keep them from getting in each other’s way, and then there are other times when all of them must work weekends to get the project back on schedule.
Contractors generally like to start their work very early, especially during the summer when the temperatures can rise to triple digits in some parts of the country. It is not uncommon for some crews to start the day as early as 5 or 6 am. But sometimes the superintendent must adjust hours to better serve the overall project goals. For example; when noise is an issue, the superintendent may be required to restrict the work hours. In these instances, the crews may not be allowed to start work until as late as 8 am.
Late Starts Are Not a Simple Matter.
Sometimes late starts can actually interfere with certain construction operations, and the consequences can be costly. Concrete, for example, is a fickle material and reacts differently to different temperature and atmospheric conditions throughout the day. Under cooler conditions, the later in the day the concrete is placed, the more likely that it will require a longer period of time to set up before it is ready for finishing. And unfortunately, the crew cannot just walk away and now something else while they wait. They must stay with that concrete and continually watch it and test it the whole time it is setting.
During certain months of the year, it is not uncommon to find the concrete crews still working under lights at 11 pm. trying to finish concrete that was poured at 9 am. If you have ever been involved in finishing one of these delayed pours, you know how exhausting and frustrating it can be, especially when you know you could have gone home hours ago.
Portions of this content was sourced and/or published in:
- Barbara J. Jackson, Construction Management Jumpstart