How Superintendents and Project Managers Can Work Together for Success

Read 6 min

How can superintendents and project managers work together effectively? This is a power pairing in construction that needs to be done well. If you’ve ever faced trouble or drama between a PM and a superintendent, you know how challenging it can be. It’s like raising kids when Mom and Dad aren’t getting along—virtually impossible. Here are 10 key steps to eliminate awkwardness and ensure smooth collaboration. 

  1. Intentional Check-Ins: Intentional check-ins are crucial. This can be its own meeting, staying after a team meeting, or prepping before the OAC. It’s not just about formal meetings; sometimes, it involves casual interactions like lunch together without discussing business. This helps in understanding each other without egos getting in the way.
  2. Define Roles and Responsibilities Clearly: Clear expectations for roles and responsibilities can prevent misunderstandings. When everyone knows what’s expected of them, it’s easier to hold each other accountable and ensure the superintendent and PM perform their jobs effectively.
  3. Mutual Respect and Trust: Building mutual respect and trust is essential. Superintendents and PMs should ask themselves how they can support each other and give without expecting anything in return. True teamwork develops when both parties give freely.
  4. Collaborative Planning: Collaborative planning ensures that both the PM and superintendent are involved in the decision-making process. Working together on plans in a visual format can foster camaraderie and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
  5. Effective Problem Solving: Effective problem-solving requires both parties to have the tools to handle conflict healthily. Understanding each other’s communication preferences and conflict resolution styles can help in managing disputes constructively.
  6. Documentation and Reporting: Proper documentation and reporting prevents misunderstandings and ensure alignment. Clear meeting minutes and documented decisions help the team follow a standard and avoid confusion.
  7. Resource Management: Resource management is crucial for smooth operations. Superintendents should ensure PMs have what they need for contracts and payoffs, while PMs should provide the necessary materials, information, RFIs, and submittals to the superintendents.
  8. Joint Decision Making: Making decisions together fosters accountability and commitment. When both parties weigh in and buy in, they are more invested in the outcomes.
  9. Proactive Problem Identification: Both the PM and superintendent should anticipate and address potential problems together. Proactively managing issues strengthens their relationship and the overall project.
  10. Continuous Improvement: Always strive for continuous improvement in your relationship. Regularly ask, “How can I do better? How can we do better?” This commitment to improvement ensures the relationship between the PM and superintendent remains strong.

Just like the synergy we have on this blog, which keeps you engaged and coming back for more, the relationship between superintendents and PMs directly influences the success of a project. If you ever need help facilitating this relationship or require assistant services, we’re here to help. I hope you found these tips valuable.

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

How To Manage Subcontractors In Construction

Read 6 min

Knowing the right strategies and tricks for managing subcontractors can change everything about how you interact with your subs on your job. Here are 14 crucial steps for working with your trades and understanding the difference between calling them subs and trade partners. Let’s dive in. 

Disadvantages of Using the Term “Subcontractors”

You often hear people say “subcontractor.” While accurate, there’s a significant difference when you refer to them as “trade partners.” This terminology, learned from the Lean community, shifts the mindset from sub-optimizing their contract to recognizing their expertise and partnership.

Subcontractors vs. Trade Partners

Subcontractors:

  • Blame everything on design and don’t learn from job to job.
  • Schedule only their work with little regard for the overall project.
  • Rarely understand the schedule and do whatever they want.
  • Complain about everything and expect the GC to solve their problems.
  • Work independently without respect to customer service.
  • Always look to break rules and find loopholes.

Trade Partners:

  • Understand design difficulties and make provisions to work past them.
  • Schedule together to understand the flow and rhythm of the project.
  • Take ownership of the whole schedule, not just their piece.
  • Bring up solutions and work towards them as a team.
  • Coordinate directly with other trade partners to solve problems.
  • Strive to learn and adopt Lean practices.
  • Maintain clean, organized, and safe work environments.
  • Treat team members with good customer service.
  • Follow project rules and requirements, forming great relationships with the GC.

How to Support Trade Partners On-Site

  1. Become a Partner:
    • Be hands-on and supportive. Help trade partners integrate and provide a remarkable experience.
  1. Reward Good Trade Partners:
    • Stop rewarding the cheapest bids. Low bids often lead to higher costs due to incomplete scopes and change orders.
  1. Transparent Buyouts:
    • Ensure trade partners understand the schedule and expectations for proper bidding.
  1. Quality Preparation:
    • Hold pre-mobilization and pre-construction meetings and be present for initial inspections to ensure success.
  1. Get a Schedule with Flow:
    • Use takt planning and the Last Planner System for scheduling, ensuring a smooth workflow.
  1. Involve Trades in Planning:
    • Make sure trade partners are part of pull planning, look-aheads, weekly work plans, and daily planning.
  1. Provide a Safe, Clean, and Organized Project:
    • Maintain an environment where every trade can thrive.
  1. Create Proximity:
    • House all trade partners in one trailer to foster collaboration, connection, and effective communication.
  1. Take Care of Their People:
    • Ensure the safety, care, and respect of trade partners’ personnel on-site.
  1. Partner on Procurement:
    • Manage the procurement log together and assist with supply chain management weekly.
  1. Hold Them Accountable:
    • Enforce rules and standards to maintain respect among all trades.
  1. Resolve Problems at the Right Level:
    • Address major issues through higher management levels to ensure effective resolution.
  1. Pay on Time:
    • Prompt payment is crucial as trade partners are not banks. Ensure timely compensation for their work.
  1. Fair Change Order Negotiations:
    • Negotiate rates or prices beforehand and manage change orders kindly without undue pressure.

Conclusion

A mindset shift from “subcontractors” to “trade partners” fosters a more collaborative and successful working relationship. By following these 14 steps, you can create a supportive environment where trade partners can thrive, ultimately benefiting the entire project. Remember, taking care of your trade partners ensures they take care of you.

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

How To Become A Construction Project Manager Without A Degree

Read 9 min

Would you like to know the good news about your opportunities to become a Project Manager (PM) without a degree? If you’re a little scared that you don’t have the education or the piece of paper but still want to be a project manager, this blog post is for you. Here are the steps you should take to go along this path and nine tips to make sure you have a good chance of making it. 

Important Qualities to Become a Construction Project Manager

The good news is that becoming a PM comes down to being a learner, not necessarily a college graduate. I love college graduates, and if you want to go to college, that’s great. However, the key is being a learner. It doesn’t matter if you have a piece of paper. The second crucial quality is being a hard worker, not necessarily being trained for a specific type of work. So don’t worry about it.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you a learner? Yes or no?
  2. Do you have a growth mindset? Yes or no?
  3. Are you a hard worker? Yes or no?

If your answers are yes, then you’re perfect for starting your path to becoming a project manager.

My Journey Working in Construction

I’ve been working in construction since I was 13 and a half. By 15, I legally obtained my worker’s permit and spent all my free time, summers, and weekends working. At 17 and a half, I tested out of high school early and started working for construction companies. When I was 19, I was hired by a major company and began as a cement mason apprentice. I progressed from apprentice to rod person, then to field engineer.

One significant conversation with a project superintendent on a concrete structure changed my perspective. He told me that while a college degree wasn’t necessary to be a field engineer, it would help me advance in construction. I attempted college but got busy and stopped. However, I gained valuable skills from one year of college and continuous learning and certifications, progressing from field engineer to assistant superintendent, superintendent, field director, project director, and now owning my own business.

This journey proves that you don’t need a degree to succeed in the industry. You just need to be a learner and a hard worker.

Seven Steps to Becoming a Project Manager

Here are seven specific steps that will help you become a project manager:

  1. Find Out If Construction Is for You
    • Visit construction projects, be involved, build houses, or take a laborer position. Determine if this high-stress (but potentially good stress) industry is right for you.
  1. Get Your Foot in the Door
    • Start with any position, whether as a laborer, carpenter, assistant, or office admin. Once you’re in, you can work hard and learn, progressing through positions.
  1. Keep Asking for Opportunities
    • Learn the basic skills and ask for opportunities. Take courses, practice skills, and offer to help with tasks beyond your current role.
  1. Learn Each Position
    • Don’t rush. Learn each role well, from project engineer to assistant project manager to project manager. Master the necessary skills and responsibilities.
  1. Understand the System
    • Outline each position completely and see it as a system. Knowing the ins and outs of each role will help you excel.
  1. Showcase Your Skills
    • Demonstrate your readiness by volunteering for tasks and showcasing your comprehensive skill set. Be prepared to step in when opportunities arise.
  1. Read and Learn Continuously
    • Read all of Patrick Lencioni’s books and other valuable resources. Merge your construction knowledge with these learnings for success.

Nine Tips for Building a Career in Construction

These tips, inspired by Holly Bowers, are essential for advancing your career:

  1. Master Your Current Role
    • Do an excellent job in your current position.
  1. Ask How You Can Grow
    • Seek advice and help from those around you.
  1. Behave Like a Leader
    • Take ownership, act like a leader, and avoid victim mentality.
  1. Embrace Personal Development
    • Develop your skills and take ownership of your growth.
  1. Be Creative
    • Find ways to satisfy organizational needs and Springboard your career.
  1. Build Your Network
    • Develop relationships and connect with people who can help you progress.
  1. Be Patient
    • Understand that career growth takes time. Be methodical and patient.
  1. Do a Good Job Plus One More Thing
    • Always go the extra mile, and people will reward you with more opportunities.
  1. Be a Lifelong Learner
    • Continuously learn and work hard. These traits will help you achieve great things.

Learn More with These Resources

In the description below, you’ll find a link to a graphic with these tips. Use it as a guide to help you along your career path. Follow the pattern, and you will succeed. The simplicity of the pattern should not deter you from implementing it because it will deliver results.

On we go!

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

What Is A General Superintendent In Construction?

Read 4 min

In this Blog Post, we discuss the roles and responsibilities of a General Superintendent (GS) in construction, and how they oversee various projects and teams. 

  1. Roles of a GS:
    • GSs manage multiple small or large projects, often with varying degrees of travel.
    • In larger companies, GSs might oversee large, complex projects with dedicated superintendents for different functional areas.
  2. Key Qualities of a GS:
    • Master Builder: Extensive experience in complex projects, scheduling, lean construction, and project management.
    • Team Builder: Must effectively manage and unite teams, handle conflicts, and be respected by team members.
    • Experienced: Must have a strong background in relevant processes, building types, and successful project completions.
    • Mentor and Teacher: Ability to train and mentor the next generation of builders.
    • Oversee Project Managers: Must supervise and support project managers effectively.
  3. When GS Roles Work Well:
    • Accountability: GSs must hold teams accountable through respect and influence.
    • Monitoring Costs and Schedule: GSs should summarize and monitor project costs and schedules at a high level.
    • Responsibility for Numbers: GSs should be involved in financial and scheduling meetings to stay connected to project outcomes.
    • Focus: GSs should be able to concentrate on their projects without being bogged down by administrative tasks.
  4. Common Issues with GS Roles:
    • Lack of Accountability: GSs must be responsible for project results.
    • Insufficient Training and Coaching Time: GSs should spend meaningful time training and supporting project teams.
    • Distraction: GSs should not be overloaded with proposals or business meetings.
    • Playing Savior: GSs should avoid shielding teams from necessary business realities and instead foster problem-solving within the team.
  5. Recommendations:
    • Companies should ensure GSs are actively involved in projects and not just administrative roles.
    • GSs should be well-compensated and valued for their contributions to the organization.

The GS position is vital for project success, and with the right approach, it can significantly benefit the construction industry.

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

How Much Do Construction Superintendents Make?

Read 7 min

Do you want to know how much money you can make as a superintendent? Does the potential earnings entice you? Do you want to know how you can maximize your income? If so, stay with us in this blog post. 

Let me start off by telling you a story. A high school kid, just barely graduating, called me and said, “Hey, JC, I want to get into construction and eventually be a project manager. Do you have any openings for me?” I was thrilled and told him, “This is a great opportunity. I made it through, I make a ton of money, and you can do the same. You can start as a laborer or a carpenter apprentice and help out. Once we see how hard you work, you can start helping the field engineers. Be a field engineer for a while, then you’ll start learning project management.”

His response? “I think that kind of work is beneath me. I want to go straight into an opportunity or just go straight into college and make the big bucks.” He preferred to become an electrical engineer. I told him, “Electrical engineers in the industry make anywhere from $85,000 to $125,000 a year, but superintendents can go up to $230,000.” He was still set on avoiding starting as a laborer.

This mentality isn’t uncommon. Many believe that college is the only path to a successful career, but that’s not always the case. If you want a career in construction, you can go the college route, trade school, or work your way up. Either way, the pay and opportunities are substantial. There are even individuals in construction with minimal skills making $130,000 a year as superintendents.

Superintendents make good money. Here’s a breakdown of potential earnings:

  1. Entry-Level Superintendent: $37,000 to $160,000
  2. Field Engineer: After a couple of years, you can become an assistant super, then a project super, and eventually a General Superintendent.
  3. General Superintendent (12-16 years experience): Base salary of $210,000 to $250,000. Including stock and benefits, total compensation can be between $250,000 and $360,000.

In some cases, it’s even more than that. Adding stock payouts can bring in an additional $50,000 to $250,000. Imagine making between a quarter to half a million dollars once you’ve reached 12-16 years in the industry, following a structured career path, adding value, and running mega projects.

Think about what you could do with that money. In two years, you could make a million dollars. It’s a significant amount. Supers can make quite a bit of money, but it’s important not to rush. Start your career, learn the roles, and build your expertise. Learn scheduling, BIM, lean, project management, finances, and contracting. Become a project superintendent, get experience, then advance to a General Superintendent or Field Director.

Here’s a breakdown of base salaries for different superintendent levels:

  1. Superintendent Level 1: $85,000 to $110,000
  2. Superintendent Level 2: $95,000 to $135,000
  3. Superintendent Level 3: $115,000 to $155,000

General Superintendents and Field Directors can make from $160,000 up to $230,000 a year, plus additional benefits.

If you came to this blog post to find out what you can actually make and what you can do in this position, you’ve come to the right place

Stay tuned for more insights and guidance on your career in construction.

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!

How To Make Your Working Day More Enjoyable

Read 10 min

You are definitely going to want to check out this content unless you want to spend the rest of your career in hell. So, what are the things that create a happy environment? And what are some things that you can do for yourself to create a happy environment? We’re going to cover that right now. Let’s dive into it! 

Common Reasons Why People Have Fun at Work

People have fun with their work or at work when they find their work fulfilling. When people feel like they’re accomplishing something, they really have fun at work. Here are some key factors:

  • Feeling Appreciated: When somebody stops by and takes time to say thank you or good job.
  • Being Themselves: When they feel they can be themselves and express their personalities.
  • Liking Their Colleagues: When they like the people they work with, including their boss. Working with friendly people is significantly better and happier in the long run than working with unfriendly people.
  • Knowing Their Jobs Are Valued: People need to know that what they do matters to the boss and to the company.
  • Believing in the Mission: When people believe in the mission of their company and their project.
  • Being Treated with Respect: When they feel they’re treated with respect and have a true sense of ownership.
  • Working in Integrity: When they don’t have to check their values at the door. Most people would rather work in a place of integrity, where they can live that integrity instead of being asked to do things that are contrary to their values.
  • Celebrating Success: When success is celebrated amongst the team. People like to win and celebrate victories.
  • Being Allowed to Make Mistakes: When they’re not punished for making mistakes. Thomas Edison once said, “People would never fly if they didn’t make mistakes.”
  • Not Being Scapegoated: When people are not turned into scapegoats when something goes wrong.
  • Sharing Credit: When credit is shared and friends and family think the job is cool.

This list, inspired by the book “Do The Right Thing” about Southwest Airlines, highlights some of the fundamental reasons why people enjoy their work. I implemented it with my team at the Bioscience Research Laboratory, and it worked wonders.

What You Can Do to Show Up Happy at Work

Even if your environment isn’t perfect, there are still things you can do to ensure you have a happy workday. Here are some strategies:

Plan Your Day

You cannot start your day until it’s finished on paper. Planning your day involves creating a “day-tight compartment,” meaning you plan your tasks, time block your activities, and include buffers for breaks. This approach helps you feel accomplished and reduces stress.

Have Hard Conversations

Unresolved interpersonal conflicts can create unhappiness. Addressing issues with colleagues or your boss through honest conversations can improve your work environment. For example, saying, “Hey, I noticed this, can we work on this?” can make a significant difference.

Solve Real Problems

If something is stressing you out, identify it, discuss it, and solve it. Addressing roadblocks and finding solutions helps you maintain a sense of equilibrium and reduces stress.

Encourage Team Balance and Health

Weekly team meetings to discuss personal time off (PTO), coverage, and self-care can help ensure everyone on your team can take care of themselves without added stress. This promotes a balanced work-life environment.

Plan Buffers in Your Day

Include breaks in your schedule. Plan a nice lunch break, a few short breaks, and time to grab a coffee. Avoid back-to-back meetings and being a victim to emails all day. Breaks and buffers are essential for maintaining productivity and well-being.

Work According to Your Purpose

Ensure your work aligns with your genuine purpose. Reflect on whether your job is where you want to be, if it makes you feel valued, and if you are part of a great team. Working towards this alignment will increase your happiness at work.

Create a Great Working Environment

Your physical workspace matters. Keep your desk clean and organized, and ensure your environment is aesthetically pleasing. A stable outer order leads to inner calm.

Find Ways to Win

Engage in tasks that you enjoy and excel at. Whether it’s organizing, running meetings, or creating visuals, do something that makes you feel accomplished and proud each day.

Connect with People at Work

Building good relationships with colleagues can make work more enjoyable. Having friends at work and connecting with interesting people can significantly enhance your work experience.

Make Happiness Intentional

To consistently feel happy at work, reflect on when you were happiest. Ask yourself:

  • What was I doing when I was happy?
  • What was I saying to myself?
  • What was my body language like?

Identify these elements and try to replicate them in your daily work life. Shape your environment and your mindset to align with what makes you happy.

Learn More with These Resources

I’ll link you to some graphics and checklists that can help you design a remarkable workplace for yourself. Align your work with your genuine place of purpose and strive for a fulfilling and enjoyable work life. I hope you get there. On we go!

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!