Author Topic: Job Description for Residential Construction  (Read 1054 times)

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Offline Naildrivingman

  • Posts: 494
Job Description for Residential Construction
« on: July 11, 2019, 10:30 PM »
 Within the last year or so I read an article in a trade magazine. I can’t recall if it was journal of light construction or fine homebuilding or what it was. This article contained a very specific breakdown of duties for construction workers starting at labor and going through project manager. I seem to recall that it was broken down into at least five categories:  General labor, apprentice carpenter, production carpenter, lead carpenter and project manager.

Currently I am employed by a company that does not adhere to conventional job descriptions as I have come to experience over 27 years of field experience. For example, we have a production manager who possesses one year of furniture building school and less than one year of rough demolition and basic framing. This individual has been responsible for $1 million plus renovations over the last two years.  Fortunately for him, he has been given some of the best talent that this company has to offer and subsequently his projects have gone very well, but in my opinion not by much of his doing.  And if you think I’m being too critical, ask me if he can decipher a typical print and read a scale....

This particular article illustrated nearly exactly the model that I have come to rely upon.  I recall that it gave suggested periods of time within each category and experience necessary to advance. It would be helpful if any of you possibly read this article and can refer me back to it.   I am planning to have a sit down meeting with the administration and explain to them the necessity of having qualified people filling these roles.

Thanks.
Dance with who brung ya...

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 2280
Re: Job Description for Residential Construction
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2019, 04:03 PM »
Go carefully, and lightly with THAT discussion my unknown friend here on FOG.... People often get 'quite' mad when told how they're doing things wrong ,WHEN, they're making money doing it.  Even if that process through them cost everyone else involved more time and money than it could if done a different way..... Been there, tried that, more than once.... [embarassed]
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Job Description for Residential Construction
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2019, 04:42 PM »
I read your post earlier today.  I looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself if I would have the balls ball(sorry testicular cancer surgery) gumption to have that conversation.

I came to the same conclusion as @leakyroof :  Risky.  Probably should be had when you are fed up and ready to leave but want to give it once last try and take the high road in trying to help.

I have had similar situations in the past and had the guts.  Never worked out well, although I did become self-employed.  My company continues - the others don't.

Peter

Offline Naildrivingman

  • Posts: 494
Re: Job Description for Residential Construction
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2019, 09:41 PM »
Thanks @leakyroof and @PeterH for your replies.

Indeed, this is a difficult subject to broach with anyone who is making money even if the way in which they do so is through curious methods.

I am however still interested in the article or at least confirmation that I didn’t read the article incorrectly.

I recall the article referenced laborers through production carpenters with experience ranging from 0-5 years, production carpenters were 5-10 years, lead carpenters with more than 10 years and project managers as former lead carpenters.

The dilemma I face is that I spend more time training people than I do with actual productive building.  The sadness of this is that our clients generally sign cost plus contracts; so in essence, the client is paying me to train our employees. How backwards is that?

We have 28 on staff.  Four are straight admin who do no building, eight are project managers (of those eight, only two are qualified as able to come from below grade to finish).  There are at best three lead carpenters with the remaining 13 possessing an average experience of 5 years.

If I have this conversation, I will have a safety net in place.  I may be dumb, but I ain’t stupid!  I can’t recount the number of times a PM has asked me a question that would be common knowledge for a production carpenter.  Furthermore our PMs don’t routinely get involved in quality control, rather they leave it until someone else notices it (especially fun is when the client or architect is that someone) before action is taken.

Just the other day I installed a bypass door. To make it fit, I had to taper scribe both leaves where they abut the walls.  The walls were easily 3/8” out of plumb in 6’8”.  If I were able to do my job as lead, I would have likely caught this at framing, but I was too busy training to check the work of others who should know.

I rant therefore I am!
Dance with who brung ya...

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 2280
Re: Job Description for Residential Construction
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2019, 10:00 PM »
Thanks @leakyroof and @PeterH for your replies.

Indeed, this is a difficult subject to broach with anyone who is making money even if the way in which they do so is through curious methods.

I am however still interested in the article or at least confirmation that I didn’t read the article incorrectly.

I recall the article referenced laborers through production carpenters with experience ranging from 0-5 years, production carpenters were 5-10 years, lead carpenters with more than 10 years and project managers as former lead carpenters.

The dilemma I face is that I spend more time training people than I do with actual productive building.  The sadness of this is that our clients generally sign cost plus contracts; so in essence, the client is paying me to train our employees. How backwards is that?

We have 28 on staff.  Four are straight admin who do no building, eight are project managers (of those eight, only two are qualified as able to come from below grade to finish).  There are at best three lead carpenters with the remaining 13 possessing an average experience of 5 years.

If I have this conversation, I will have a safety net in place.  I may be dumb, but I ain’t stupid!  I can’t recount the number of times a PM has asked me a question that would be common knowledge for a production carpenter.  Furthermore our PMs don’t routinely get involved in quality control, rather they leave it until someone else notices it (especially fun is when the client or architect is that someone) before action is taken.

Just the other day I installed a bypass door. To make it fit, I had to taper scribe both leaves where they abut the walls.  The walls were easily 3/8” out of plumb in 6’8”.  If I were able to do my job as lead, I would have likely caught this at framing, but I was too busy training to check the work of others who should know.

I rant therefore I am!
. Okay, we are behind you then..... Good luck and tell us how it went.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3819
Re: Job Description for Residential Construction
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2019, 10:00 AM »
I recall a situation years ago in which I was the superintendent and PM on a housing development.  The VP of the company hired a bunch of "off-shore" alleged carpenters to do the framing.  I had barked at him that they didn't have a clue on doing the roof framing.  He insisted that they were doing it right per his instructions and wouldn't listen to me.  When it came time for the roofing, he then bitched at the roofer that he'd screwed up the reveal.  I went up and measured the reveal as a perfect 5", then had to inform the VP that it looked off because his jackleg carpenters had built the roof structure such that every rafter was at a slightly different angle, making the roof look somewhat like a pagoda roof.  He told me that I was nuts.  I countered by showing him a chart that I had generated using a very simple clinometer that measured the angle or each of the rafters.  The chart clearly demonstrated my contention in an irrefutable manner.  I told him that if he wanted to call me a liar, then he would have to get his Fa Tass up in the attic and prove it, but in the meantime, he would have to pay the roofer who had done it right.  If he didn't, I would go to court with the roofer if he chose to sue.  This is the same VP that hired an alleged finish carpenter that didn't understand how to set individual windows at the same level in a bank of windows.  He also hired a foundation crew that actually reversed a foundation.  Fortunately, I saw the issue before the concrete arrived and forced them to tear out the forms and re-set them.  What a jackass...   [mad]
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline Holzhacker

  • Posts: 924
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Re: Job Description for Residential Construction
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2019, 01:35 PM »
Oh you are so freaking dreaming and that's putting it mildly.
Corporate loves idiots in middle management. It gives them a good buffer zone between them and the actual field workers who know what they are doing. It sounds crazy but that is often the case. Corp middle managers like that guy who know how to massage messaging, keep their mouth shut and have a college degree are usually the ones who get promoted and make the big bucks eventually. They give Corp plausible deniability. They are also the ones who 'decide to follow other meaningful career paths' when something goes wrong. Either by their own choosing or a mandatory suggestion by the bosses. I've had to deal with so many of those types that aren't even qualified to carry my systainer I can't even count.
If you are going down this I would suggest you think about the end game. What are you trying to accomplish, what will this do to your career at this company, do you want to stay, get promoted, go, protect other workers from harm, etc.
If you want to do this because its 'the right thing to do and people need to know'. Forget it, move on grass hopper.
Having said that, if you are worried then I would suggest you keep a detailed log of events, days, times, specific conversations, photos, etc. consider it a side hobby as part of your work. It can be a very interesting endeavor.
Document everything. Then when the stuff hits the fan you've got documentation to protect yourself and others you may care about. It's one of the best ways to stick it to the man, so to speak. Also if you have a conversation with a Corp hack, send a follow up email outlining the conversation and thanking them for their time to discuss the situation. THEN print out the email. That way later on no one can say 'you didn't inform us'. Printing out the email is vital. You can't imagine how often those servers go bad when it looks like there is a train wreck coming.
I could go on but I should probably shut up.
Look at the long picture, figure out the end game and go from there.
"The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

Offline Jiggy Joiner

  • Posts: 788
Re: Job Description for Residential Construction
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2019, 06:50 PM »
It’s the same over here, back many moons ago when I was learning, a general builder or a site agent was usually a bricklayer or carpenter, that had developed skills in other trades besides his own. Sometimes these chaps evolved through experience, or took further training and college classes to get further qualified.
I am a carpenter joiner by trade, and also a qualified plasterer, and I’m pretty tidy laying bricks, and have a good memory, so store everything I’ve learned and been taught, that’s the key to knowledge, if you have a bad memory, and don’t remember what you’re taught, it’s of no use.

When I go on a site now, a good few agents fortunately are old school and know their stuff without exception.
Then, you have the fresh out of college spotty faced types that do not know their bum from their elbow!

I pulled up at a job a few months ago, a freckly kid started directing me to park on the other side of the drive way. So I parked up, and got out of the van, he was grinning at me and said “hi there” “hi” I said, “is your mum or dad hone?” He carried on grinning and walked off.
I walked around the back where our guys were working. The freckly kid was still grinning looking across at us. “What’s the matter with that kid?” I asked my son.
My son laughed and said “he’s the site agent dad” We all laughed, he looked about 14.
Anyway, he was a very nice friendly chap (hence the grinning) but he knew less than the neighbours dog about building houses!

This has been a common occurrence for many years now, how these types are left in charge of such jobs is very concerning. It must be as @Naildrivingman said, they probably are being carried by the experience of the trades at their disposal?

As others have said though, if these companies are turning over good business, they won’t lose sleep over site agents, who are still wet behind the ears.