Electrical contractors play a significant role on and off the job-site. They must oversee and regulate how to effectively plan, schedule, and organize workers, time, materials, equipment, and budget efficiently. Electrical contractor productivity determines the success of a project in terms of completing it on-time and on-budget.
Electrical contractors are responsible for the following:
– installing and repairing electrical wires and components in a variety of settings and locations
– designating the scope of work, managing plans, quality control, and sequencing
– developing and maintaining a network of professional relationships within the industry
– inspecting electrical equipment, replacing worn parts, repairing complex devices
– working in residential, commercial, or industrial settings with a wide range of hours and working conditions
Over the last few years, it hasn’t been the easiest for the electrical construction industry. Due to the productivity gains of other industries, the recovery from the economic downturn has been prolonged. Compared to most trades-people, electrical contractors’ productivity and efficiency are demanded. It is not the labor that is unproductive; it is the system designed by contractors and project managers. Saving time and money will improve electrical contractor productivity.
Before we get started on electrical contractor productivity, what is productivity?
I. How hard an employee works
II. The amount of installation completed proportionate to the available resources
III. The final amount of installation completed
10 Tips for Electrical Contractor Productivity
1. Communication is Key
Many obstacles affect productivity in an organization. Communication is a leader for the most negatively impactful challenges regarding productivity in any industry. In the construction industry, a lack of communication can hold a negative impact on the final result. It is crucial for detailed discussion from supervisors to fieldworkers.
2. Formal Planning Process
The planning process is the most crucial phase of a project (besides constructing of course) because it includes details regarding vital information like timeline and schedule, necessary materials, the communication plan, and more. Commonly, the result of decent productivity is when managers get the correct equipment, labor, and information passed to the crews at the right time and in the most efficient way possible. Poor planning regarding coordination and communication between employees and other parties can result in delays, waste, and high costs. Follow the electrical project management checklist to ensure efficiency and success on an electrical project.
— Protecting tools so you have everything you may need at any point in the job
— Determining all materials at the beginning of the job
— Material location is irrelevant. Everything will ultimately end up where it needs to be installed.
At the beginning of a project, classify items based on priority. Take care of less critical tasks earlier. For example, in the early stages, highlight the extraordinary issues, long-delivery times, special orders, and crucial equipment. It is important to filter through materials in order of priority so you can prepare schedules to maximize time.
4. Integrated Construction Management Software
The future of construction is going to be dependent upon integrated construction management software. Electrical subcontractors get the most out of this software because of the tools they need to help their business grow. Construction management software has modules that can focus on your specific niche, ensuring that you get the best option. These solutions allow collaboration between platforms that can make management operations easier. For example, you can implement each software individually in a particular department that uses it.
Additionally, integrated construction management software can delete duplicated entries. It is easy for data to flow from one platform to another. This tool reduces the number of times someone has to input data and, therefore, the chance of error. Finally, this type of software helps electrical contractors with their centralized data platform. Searching through piles of documents takes troublesome time. With integrated construction management software, it cuts down the amount of time to find documents. All of the documents you need are in ONE location, and you can effortlessly search through BIM plans, billing receipts, daily reports, submittals, purchase orders, and other documents within seconds.
Building Information Modeling, BIM, is a construction technology trend that is booming in the construction industry. The usage of BIM enables greater collaboration across the field on a construction project, therefore creating opportunities for electrical contractor productivity improvement. In reality, no electrical project proceeds precisely to plan. Some typical applications of BIM for electrical contractors are shop drawing reviews, prefabrication management, and clash detection. Clash detection can create significant productivity gains by reducing wasteful work by detecting clashes before the installation and removal of equipment, therefore, saving precious time and money.
Drawings are crucial for electrical contractors because they show the best plan for conduit routing and cable grouping. As-built drawings are revision drawings that enable workers and managers to stay on the same page. Rework is a profit killer for electrical installs, so integrating BIM designs with an integrated management software can reduce miscommunication between documentation.
Prefabrication is the process of making buildings, or components of buildings, in a different location than the job site itself. Construction companies will transport the completed unit to the final place, where they will also finish the setup and handover buildings to their new owners. Compared to traditional construction methods, prefabrication reduces labor costs, estimating costs, and product costs while providing project collaboration. Nonetheless, prefabrication accelerates the building process; in fact, it takes less than half of the time of a traditional construction process.
7. IPD — Integrated Project Delivery
IPD motivates collaboration throughout the design and construction process, which ties stakeholder’s success to project success. Unlike traditional Design-Bid-Build models, IPD is a collaborative effort. IDP is a hot topic that companies consider when they look for ways to improve productivity due to labor shortages. Compared to other methods like BIM, companies do not deploy IPD as often. However, the usage will continue to rise, and when it does, there will be improved productivity because of higher levels of planning, communicating, and coordination from IDP.
Apprenticeships are crucial in improving electrical contractor productivity because they will follow the company-specific training and development. Apprenticeships offer the ability of a worker to receive training while working and getting paid by an employer. It is essentially – earn as you learn. Apprenticeships can be a time and money investment. However, you can allow the apprentices to take on tasks that will save you time.
9. Time-Saving Products
This is a preassembled product, so you can get the job done faster. Prewired raceways are installed ⅓ more quickly than traditional component raceways. This type of wiring is already labeled, wrapped, and ready to be mounted on the wall. All you need to do is connect the feed wires between each raceway. For these time-saving products, you can even use apprentices to do this task, giving them more exposure to the job.
Cordless power tools:
Power tools such as saws, drills, and hammers have new product designs for batteries and chargers that increase versatility and convenience and ultimately increase worker’s productivity.
Wire mesh cable tray:
In the last 40 years, electricians have been adopting wire mesh cable management trays for a wiring support method. Compared to traditional conduits, products like Cablofli, reduces time and installation costs.
10. Cycle Time Reduction (CTR)
CTR is an electrical contractor productivity strategy of reducing the time it takes to perform a task that focuses specifically on implementing lasting project improvements. This process narrows down on the development of tools and methods to reduce wasted project hours. CTR strategies need innovative tools to minimize wasted time and labor, like integrated construction management software to boost productivity.