3 Minute Read
January 5, 2023
Great teams are built on great teammates. That’s as true in construction as it is anywhere else—and maybe even more important. From the construction worker to the project manager and on to the executives in charge, everyone has a role to play. This installment of The Connected Construction Professional Series deep dives into a linchpin role of the construction process: the construction field manager.
But why field managers, in particular? Because the modern world of construction is a unique alloy of raw materials, machinery, paper processes, and software. Mud-caked boots and technology suites live together in the same room, and while most professionals choose one side or the other, the field manager balances within that tension. Hence the importance of knowing the role of a construction field manager, what they most need, and how to improve their day-to-day work.
In short, the construction field manager brings the plans of the project manager to life. Without field managers such as foreman and general foreman, projects would never leave their spreadsheets and drawings. It’s the field managers that have their feet on the ground, but are attached at the hip to the office, ensuring the entire workflow moves smoothly from planning to building.
Construction field managers are tasked with organizing and overseeing a variety of activities in construction projects. As the leader on site, they plan, direct and coordinate all activities, manage schedules and supervise crew members. Unlike more remote construction managers, the field manager has a direct relationship with the crew members in the field, and is responsible for providing them with tools, information, and materials. Safety of the crew is also a top priority for field managers. For example, they ensure high quality construction standards and safe work environments by setting staffing requirements, using materials properly and ensuring all laws are being followed.
Quality control and compliance are two additional areas field managers often handle, ensuring that all regulations are abided by, materials are properly inspected, and the quality of work completed meets specifications. Building inspections may fall within their scope of work as well, and field managers collaborate with supervisors to ensure projects stay on time and within budget.
Obviously, the field management professional is responsible for a wide swath of tasks in the field, but what about those tasks that require a more in depth knowledge of reporting, communication, and the tools used? For example, how should field managers handle documentation such as time cards, material reports, and scheduling? What about field ticketing for time and material billing or productivity reporting? In addition to the daily task of managing crews, materials, and tasks, field managers must have a thorough understanding of construction documentation and the tools used in the process.
Inevitably, this unique combination of responsibilities can make the life of a field manager extremely difficult. For example, consider a foreman who is currently dealing with an altercation between crew members. This conflict on the jobsite falls within the responsibility of the foreman, who may need to move at least one of the crew members involved to another crew. However, during the middle of this conflict, the foreman is notified that building plans have changed, and the current plans are no longer up to date. An RFI is necessary before construction can continue. Now our foreman is dealing with complications on two fronts, in the field and in the office, and both threaten to put the project behind schedule.
Field management can be a challenging role due to the wide range of problems that can arise between the field and the office. As a result, efficient and accurate communication is all the more important. A mistake in communication, a loss of data, or even an inefficient reporting system can quickly multiply problems, slow the project, and cut into profit. It’s therefore no surprise that it’s essential to ask what field managers want and need to make their job easier and more profitable.
Construction field managers wear many hats, and it’s no surprise that they need access to a tool bag that enables them to increase efficiency and accuracy in order to stay on schedule. Specifically when it comes to communicating between the field and the office, field managers are looking for ways to reduce errors. Such tools can reduce the time spent trying to track down data or delays resulting from cumbersome layers of communication. This leaves field managers to spend their time and resources completing their projects within deadlines and budgets.
Field managers are looking for ways to improve processes such as filling out time cards, hiring skilled labor for their crews, and managing reports and important documents. Physical documentation and siloed data banks that require field managers to travel from the field to the office to find important information immediately lower efficiency, and field managers are looking for ways to access data from the field. Mobile access to data and the connectivity of different data sources are essential for efficient workflows. Without such connectivity, field managers often find themselves with outdated and disconnected data, or just a lack of data all together.
In order to free up more time on the jobsite, field managers are looking for ways to capture information such as punch lists, site and safety inspections, and labor time quickly while in the field. In addition, field managers are looking for efficient ways to manage equipment and material needs. With tools that make such efficiency possible, every field manager has the power to elevate their productivity and benefit the company as a whole.
Great teams are built on great teammates, and the best teammates use the best tools to increase productivity and overall success. So what tools are you using?
Trimble Construction One can help you improve efficiency and achieve project goals with less stress and fewer errors. It offers an integrated platform with core features like project tracking and data analytics, so you have all the information you need to deliver on time and within budget while boosting work efficiency and accuracy. Instead of spending time searching through siloed data, you can now access your most important data whether you are in the office or the field.
The Trimble Construction One suite offers a wide range of tools that allow you streamline your processes and reduce errors. From RFI’s and daily logs to labor time entry and material receipts, Trimble Construction One makes every aspect of your workflow easier. T&M ticketing capabilities allow you to automate the consolidation and production of field tickets and avoid handling data more than once. Training and certification tracking is also made easier within the Trimble constructed suite, enabling you to access records of each crew member's training and certification.
When integrated with Viewpoint Field Management, Trimble Construction One can assist field managers with labor time capture, equipment management, material tracking, and production in a variety of ways:
A connected construction suite like Trimble Construction One reduces errors and time spent going back and forth between the office and the field, giving you more time to be great at what you do.
Want to learn more? Connect with Trimble Viewpoint today for your own personal tour of how Trimble Construction One could reshape your construction organization.
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