Fabrication Of A New College Construction Essay

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During my placement year & to date I have worked with O'Hare & McGovern, a family company, based in Newry. At my time with O'Hare & McGovern, I have been working as site engineer on the following site, South Eastern Regional College, Downpatrick.

The South Eastern Regional College ("SERC") PPP project comprises the procurement of new accommodation and related services for the South Eastern Regional College within a Public Private Partnership structure.

The Downpatrick College is one of three campuses buildings that are seen as an important element in the ongoing regeneration of Downpatrick, Ballynahinch & Newcastle towns and in the promotion of Further & Higher Education in these areas.

The new College building is of contemporary design comprising of glazed curtain walling and aluminium roofing in conjunction with more traditional materials of brickwork and render to compliment the College's high profile location on Market Street.

The construction of the new College comprises of two Phases. Phase 1 was handed over to the SERC in June 2009. Phase 2, current work comprises of a central four storey College building and a two storey workshop to the rear. Market Street provides vehicular and pedestrian entrance to the main college building which will provide the greatest physical presence on the site; this is demonstrated by the internal atrium at the entrance where the entrance hall and central space rises through all four floors.

SERC Downpatrick is registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme and this scheme endeavours to improve the image of construction sites. All sub-contractors and operatives working on site are complying with this. The site is monitored by an experienced industry professional to asses its performance.

Human Resources

Management

Human resource management is the strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization's most valued assets - the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the business (Project). The terms "human resource management" and "human resources" have largely replaced the term "personnel management" as a description of the processes involved in managing people in organization. In simple sense, HRM means employing people, developing their resources, utilizing, maintaining and compensating their services in tune with the job and organizational requirement.

Its features include:

Organizational management

Personnel administration

Manpower management

Industrial management

But these traditional expressions are becoming less common for the theoretical discipline.

The theoretical discipline is based primarily on the assumption that employees are individuals with varying goals and needs, and as such should not be thought of as basic business resources, such as trucks and filing cabinets. The field takes a positive view of workers, assuming that virtually all wish to contribute to the enterprise productively, and that the main obstacles to their endeavours are lack of knowledge, insufficient training, and failures of process.

Practitioners in the field see human Resource Management (HRM) as a more innovative view of workplace management than the traditional approach. HRM is also seen by many to have a key role in risk reduction within organization.

Human resources management comprises several processes. Together they are supposed to achieve the above mentioned goal. These processes can be performed in an HR department, but some tasks can also be outsourced or performed by line-managers or other departments. When effectively integrated they provide significant economic benefit to the company.

Workforce planning

Recruitment (sometimes separated into attraction and selection)

Induction, Orientation and On boarding

Skills management

Training and development

Personnel administration

Employee benefits administration

Performance appraisal

Labour relations

HRM strategy

An HRM strategy pertains to the means as to how to implement the specific functions of HRM. An organisation's HR function may possess recruitment and selection policies, disciplinary procedures, reward/recognition policies, an HR plan, or learning and development policies, however all of these functional areas of HRM need to be aligned and correlated, in order to correspond with the overall business strategy.

An HRM strategy typically consists of the following factors:

"Best fit" and "best practice" - meaning that there is correlation between the HRM strategy and the overall corporate strategy.

Close co-operation (at least in theory) between HR and the top/senior management, in the development of the corporate strategy.

Continual monitoring of the strategy, via employee feedback, surveys, etc.

The implementation of an HR strategy is not always required, and may depend on a number of factors, namely the size of the firm, the organisational culture within the firm or the industry that the firm operates in.

Project Related

An essential element to the success of a construction company today is the company's organisation, because of the nature of construction works the organisation must operate well and have the ability to respond to change. Organisations as we know them today have only come about in the last century or so, and are structured on a traditional idea where there is hierarchy and they are controlled by a system of rules.

In order to create an efficient and productive organisational structure the requirement of efficient working conditions must be first met. The similarities of all construction work and projects are the implementation of a hierarchical structure which will determine who does what and who each individual is responsible to. The main role of this hierarchical structure which is usually illustrated in the form of a diagram is to illustrate the relationship between each of the individuals of the organisation while also illustrating the delegation of responsibility.

With an efficient organisational structure, each staff member within the organisational will be well aware of who they are responsible or accountable to and their roles and responsibilities. The effective use of an organisational structure helps create a direct line of authority and ensures staff at the same level interacts professionally. Without some form of an organisational structure, an organisation would undoubtedly fail.

The organisational structure of a company is in reality the theoretical structure which forms the main framework of the company, with the success of the business closely linked to the efficiency of the structure. The structure is broken down into separate levels and tiers in order to show the rank of importance within the company, and is standardised within the construction industry at the present.

It is important to note, that organisational structures are not standardised and a structure for one company cannot be incorporated into another company that delivers the same products. There are many different factors that contribute to the design and make up of the organisational structure. These factors include:

The client's requirements

The location of the project

The size and the value of the project

The complexity of the project

The timescale of the project

The success of these organisations has strong links to the efficiency of the organisation structure, and so it is important to ensure the structure is proficient.

To organise a company effectively it is important to have clear aims and objectives to work towards, Within the construction industry it is not always easy to set up clear aims and objectives as they often change form project to project, however a principle aim and objective of any contractor is to complete projects on time, within budget and to the client's satisfaction.

There are two main groups in the structure of the team involved in the completion of this project; they are the client team and the design & construction team. What is more important than the structure of these groups is the interaction between them.

The architect is also responsible for co-ordinating the design and any design changes that may be made during construction, working closely with the Consulting and construction engineers. The QS oversees the cost of the project throughout the design stages as well as the construction stages to ensure the contracts stays within budget.

Fig 1.1 is a flow chart showing the organisation of the design team.

For this particular project the Client is East Down Institute of Further and Higher Education. The construction team was situated on site and in O'Hare & McGovern head office. Working for O'Hare & McGovern was a Project Manager & site agent who managed the site and is present on site for the duration of the project, it is their duty to oversee the day to day running of the site, organising sub-contractors and dealing with any problems that may have arose. O'Hare & McGovern also have a site engineer and two assistant site engineers, (the assistant site engineers were industrial placement students). The site engineers were responsible for all the setting out aspect involved in the construction of the new college and over-seeing the work being carried out by sub-contractors. The site engineer is on site for the duration off the project. However, there were more people involved in the construction team that what was present on site. The contracts manager from O'Hare & McGovern was based at the head office but would visit the site on a weekly basis. Other staff based at head office but who had roles in the construction were a Quantity Surveyor and a project planner.

The Fig 1.2 is a flow chart showing the organisation of the construction team.

Although the organisation of both the design team and the construction was quite traditional and typical of most construction projects of similar size, it worked relatively well, however there could have been some improvements. The interaction between them is equally important. There must be communication. On these project meetings between the teams, post, e-mail, fax and telephone made the communication. All forms of modern communication were used.

Monthly site meeting were held, at these meeting the overall progress of the project was discussed as well as other issues. All senior members of the design team and the construction team would be present at these meetings. Other meetings would also be held on site to deal with different aspect or problems concerning the project. At these meeting anyone who was involved with the specific topic of the meeting, i.e. consulting engineers, site engineers or sub-contractors, would be present. This is a good way of dealing and solving problems, as the designers and the personnel on site could discuss in person the issues that required dealing with.

To keep works on site going and to avoid time wasting, if there was any confusion on site with regards to setting out or how a task should be carried, the site engineers are always welcome to phone the consulting engineers or architect to clarify a situation and relay the information back the workers on site. The consulting engineers were particularly good when dealing with problems over the phone, as they would discuss with the site engineer on the phone and promptly confirm any variations or decisions that were made by faxing sketches or details direct to the site, thus cutting time wasting to a minimum.

The project is running considerable well to date and the structure of the design team and the construction teamwork for this particular project.

Leadership

A simple definition of leadership is that leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.

Put even more simply, the leader is the inspiration and director of the action. He or she is the person in the group that possesses the combination of personality and skills that make others want to follow his or her direction.

In business, leadership is welded to performance. Effective leaders are those who increase their companies' bottom lines. A leader is someone who has Good management rests on buildings a confident team, demonstrated through mutual respect, commitment and discipline.

While leadership is easy to explain, leadership is not so easy to practise.

Good leaders are followed chiefly because people trust and respect them rather than the skills they possess. Leadership is different to management. Management relies more on planning, organisational and communications skills. Leadership relies on management skills too, but more so on qualities such as integrity, humility, courage, commitment, sincerity passion confidence positivist wisdom determination compassion sensitivity and a degree of personal charisma

Some people are born more naturally to leadership than others, and many qualities of effective leadership, like confidences and charisma, continues to grow from experience in the leadership role.

People new to leadership, (management) often feel under pressure to lead in particularly dominant way. Sometimes this pressure on a new leader to impose their authority on the team comes from above.

It is common knowledge that today's' construction industry is made up more and more from firms who use sub-contractors as their labour pool for large contracts.

Five reasons for using sub-contractors for this purpose are as follows:

The cost of employing and developing the expertise of specialist workers is reduced as these type of workers would not have continual need within day-to-day operations and so would be an added expense.

The services, ability and quality of specialist staff are (normally) guaranteed.

The skills that are needed on construction projects are varying and so the employment of sub-contractors' is good economic practice.

The risk associated with responsibility is offset as it is transferred away from the main contractor.

It helps to cope with the many new skills needed within today's complex onsite operations.

Due to the nature of construction and the different stages involved through out a construction project, the variation of skill and types work that is needed through out the project will change as the project progresses.

The successes of project in which sub-contractors are used depend on the leadership and control, which the main contractor has over them. The ability to co-ordinate and organise different trades and groups is generally dealt with by the foreman and the following need to be taken into account when effective co-ordination between the parties and a successful outcome in terms of the project are needed:

The type and range of the work needed.

Quality and availability of information.

Differences, which exist between organisations and sub-contract groups.

Quality of supervision that is available on site.

The number of visits that the sub-contractors will make to site.

Leadership takes place at many stages from different parties involved in the project, like the choice of sub-contractor will be done in a number of different ways, with the most common being a nominated sub-contractor. The client and design team will have more power over the sub-contractor under the nominated scheme. It will be crucial that a contract is signed between the client/sub-contractor and the main contractor/sub-contractor. This will ensure that the work is carried out to an accepted standard and to an agreed time, as well as providing the leader on site with correct information which the sub-contractor is oblige to follow.

Project Related

However, on South Eastern Regional College, the sub-contractors' were employed directly by O'Hare & McGovern.

All sub-contractors are issued with all the necessary documentation relating to the work as below:

Official order

Copy of priced bill of quantities/schedule of rates

Contract drawings applicable to the sub-contract works

Specification

Works method statement for completion

Programme as appropriate

C.O.S.H.H.

Schedule of latest monthly dates and submissions of valuations by sub-contractor

Requirements under the O'Hare & McGovern quality and health and safety management systems

The sub-contractor returns a signed copy of the sub-contract form within the time scale indicated on the letter of acceptance, which is signed by O'Hare & McGovern representative as appropriate. Again these documents are passed onto the next leader of the next stage, the site.

As O'Hare & McGovern are a family business, they tend to use the same sub-contractors on a regular basis for reasons of personal knowledge of the standard of work which will be carried out and that successfully leadership was able to be carried out with each sub-contractor by the appointed leaders within a project. This working relationship has the following benefits:

The sub-contractors know where they stand in terms of standards of work required.

They know the site rules and regulations.

When it comes to co-ordinating sub contractors it is essential that good planning and management are used. Knowing when sub-contractors are going to be needed on site and ensuring that they are aware of when you expect them, take planning and monitoring of the progress of the work and good communication between the sub contractors and the main contractor.

The continued management of sub-contractors progress from commencement on site was essential to the success of the project and the responsibilities for this management are clearly defined to the sub-ordinate members of staff when the task is delegated to them.

In general it can be said that the co-ordination of the sub-contractors benefited form the extra work which the site management put in at the start of the job in compiling sub-contract documentation in the form of programmes, specification, schedules and report forms. This allowed a smooth flow of information in a standard form to travel between the sub-contractors' and the main contractor and allowed problems to be noticed and rectified quickly. The successful completion of the work is due to the good management and choice of sub-contractors.

Motivation

The definition of motivation is to give reason, incentive, enthusiasm, or interest that causes a specific action or certain behaviour. Motivation is present in every life function. Simple acts such as eating are motivated by hunger. Education is motivated by desire for knowledge. Motivators can be anything from reward to coercion.

There are two main kinds of motivation:

Intrinsic is internal occurs when people are compelled to do something out of desire

Extrinsic occurs when external factors compel the person to do something

A common place that we see the need to apply motivation on a construction site would be to achieve the highest productivity capable by any one individual

A Contacts manager unable to grasp motivation and apply it will not stay a leader. It is critical that anyone seeking to motivate understand "Howletts Hierarchy of Work Motivators."

Salary benefits, working conditions, supervision, policy, safety, security, affiliation, and relationships are all externally motivated needs.

Understanding the definition of motivation, and then applying it, is one of the most prevalent challenges facing employers and supervisors. Companies often spend thousands of dollars each year hiring outside firms just to give motivation seminars.

Effective motivation of field productivity is essential on any project, ensuring that the goals and objectives are met according to the construction programme. There are many ways of motivation the progress on site, but the important thing is to select a process that works for the employee in question.

The objective of the project needs to be to achieve the maximum performance possible for all individual; therefore time, cost and quality need to be monitored closely. O'Hare & McGovern therefore introduced a Quality Policy to the site at Southern Eastern Regional College.

Effective control and motivation of personnel of a project, has varying degrees of importance in different organisations and different contracts. Within this the quality of motivation is sometimes vague and is performed in the clumsiest of ways. It is essential to establish a formalised and simple method of motivation, which suits the employee to which it is intended.

Project Related

O'Hare & McGovern firmly believes in the concept of monitoring progress and productivity can achieve quality motivation for a personal. With the company driven to complete its primary objective of the SERC Project quality on time and within budget, it is essential that there is an effective process in place and that it is implemented and maintained.

To help monitor the progress of employee on site, O'Hare & McGovern set up a communication link between all involved on site. This link was used not only to monitor progress, but also to establish good working relationships, which create an environment in which a high productivity rate can be achieved. The link between O'Hare & McGovern and all involved was used to: -

Show how employees progressing

Highlight problems individuals has developed

Resources required to maintain individuals progress

Highlight the motivation required to maintain a employees flow of work

Every member of the project management team is required to maintain an up-to-date dairy of the activities taking place on site, relevant to him or her. Each site dairy remains on-site for future reference and it is the first "port of call" in helping to reward an individual's progress.

Keeping a comprehensive dairy is good to relate to when certain problems arise on site. It can also be used to calculate payments for work done on a particular date and is important in developing the weekly and monthly reports.

Apart from these above technique O'Hare & McGovern have spend millions on developing a motivation action plan. It consist of 10 questions of interest that all managers with responsibilities consider with looking at motivating personal. They are as following:

What Motivates You

Determine factors that are important to you within your working life

What has motivated you in the past

What demotivated you in the past

Find Out What Your employee Want From O'Hare & McGovern

People may want

More status,

Higher pay,

Flexible benefits

More interesting work

Recognition

Find out by asking them in performance appraisals or even in an informal conversation.

Walk the Job

While on any site of any project, find someone doing something well and tell them. This in its own way is a sense of motivation but Make sure your interest shown is genuine.

Demotivators

Identify factors that demotivate staff - this could be:

Physical (buildings, equipment)

Psychological (boredom, barriers to promotion, lack of recognition)

Some of these factors may be dealt quickly/ Easily, but others could require planning & time. The fact that O'Hare & McGovern are concerned to find what's wrong and do something is in itself a motivator.

Be Wary of Incentives

They say that working for money and claim are an incentive. But money actually comes low down in the list of motivators within O'Hare & McGovern, and it doesn't motivate for long after a raise. Light benefits are more effective in attracting new employees, but benefits rarely motivate existing employees to use their potential more effectively.

Decide on Action

O'Hare & McGovern has listened to staff needs, taking steps to alter their organization's policies and attitudes. The benefits this has lead to is giving flexible work, reward, promotion, training and development, and participation.

So, as you can see, motivation is what propels life. It plays a major role in nearly everything we do. Without motivation, we would simply not care about outcomes.

Health & Safety

Over the last number of decade's health and safety in the construction industry has been give more and more attention. Due to the nature of construction work, where it is not uncommon to be working at height, in bad weather conditions or with temporary structure, health and safety must be given priority.

"The key to achieving healthy and safe conditions is to ensure that health and safety issues are planned, organised, monitored and reviewed."

(Health and Safety in Construction in Northern Ireland)

Safety is of paramount importance in the construction industry, the construction industry accounts for more deaths than any other industry in the United Kingdom. Moral obligations of ensuring site safety have been some what superseded by legal implications such as substantial claims and more importantly, custodial sentences for negligence. Most deaths on site occur by falling from heights, being hit by falling objects, excavation collapses and hitting electric cables. COSSH assessments are now required in the industry to deal with hazardous chemicals which can be absorbed by the human body by inhalation, absorption and ingestion.

Project Related

Health and safety is of the utmost importance on any site, for everyone from labourers to the site foreman, and O'Hare & McGovern is responsible for all persons on any of their sites at any one time. In order for health and safety to be upheld, it must be planned organised, controlled, monitored, reviewed and encouraged on site.

The construction industry health and safety executive has taken a strong stance over the last few years and introduced a legislation to try to reduce the high rate of accidents within the construction industry. They deemed it highly unacceptable and therefore have the contractor made accountable and take responsibility for liabilities associated with the hazardous environment that is the construction site.

It is O'Hare & McGovern s responsibility as the main contractor on the project to ensure that the site is a safe working environment for all employees, visitors and any others affected by the works.

"It is the responsibility of the principal contractor to formulate the health and safety plan for the project, to be adhered to by all contractors, in accordance with the CDM Regulations, and taking account of other applicable legislation" (CIOB, 1996)

O'Hare & McGovern has established and maintained procedures for the on-going identification of hazards, the assessment of risks and the implementation of necessary control measures. These include:

Routine and non-routine activities

Activities of all personnel having access to the work place (including all sub-contractors and visitors)

Facilities at the work place

Results from these assessments and their effects are considered when setting health and safety objectives.

Based on O'Hare & McGovern experience of managing safety to a high standard over a wide variety of projects, the company has established the likely hazards associated with their work activity and has developed a library of "generic" risk assessments. Recognising that each project has a unique set of circumstances associated with it however, the management insist that project specific risk assessments be undertaken for each project. Generic risk assessments are used as guidance only. A procedure exists for the storage and use of generic risk assessments as well as for the project specific assessments.

Control measures for these project specific risks take the form of method statements of safe systems of work and when complete become part of the construction phase health and safety plan (required for compliance with Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (NI) 2007). O'Hare & McGovern prepares these method statements or safe systems of work on a project specific basis and when appropriate, takes advice/guidance of an external body.

Copies of risk assessments and method statements are requested from suppliers/sub-contractors and are then evaluated for their adequacy in relation to the particular project and also the expectations of O'Hare & McGovern. Where these are deemed inadequate to minimise the health and safety risks identified, assessments and control procedures/method statements may be provided to suppliers and sub-contractors for their compliance.

Site assessments are fed back to the health and safety manager and are then reviewed and used to prioritise improvement actions at O'Hare & McGovern and to assist in the development of objectives (and a subsequent management programme).

O'Hare & McGovern are constantly reviewing and improving the safety objectives and procedures to maximise the safety of the operations and people on site. In doing this they have a pro-active approach to safety management and keep all personnel on site up dated with the relevant information.

O'Hare & McGovern has developed a register of health and safety legislation applicable to the company's operations and has a procedure in place for controlling the status of the register and the dissemination of pertinent information to staff.

Management review meetings are held anneal and review the following: -

Review of corrective actions from previous meetings

Review of documentation and procedures to ensure continuing suitability and effectiveness

Health and Safety Policy suitability

Any changes that could affect the health and safety management system (including new technology)

Review of hazards/risk assessments

New legislation and its potential impact for the company

Adequacy of resources (financial, personnel and material)

Sub-contractor and supplier reviews

Recommendations for improvement - new objectives for the forth-coming year.

Site Inductions are carried out for all new employees working on the site. A record of induction training is maintained in the individuals' training records. The induction includes:

An outline of the company

The performance standard required

The site rules

The company health and safety rules and contract of employment conditions

The individuals work activities with respect to health and safety

Specific operational procedures related to their work area.

All operatives on site, including supply chain sub-contractors are given a safety tool box talk, in relation to the work being carried out on site. Each operative in attendance must print and sign their name on a safety talk attendance sheet, which should be filed in the construction phase health and safety plan. A copy of this sheet is sent to the O'Hare & McGovern head office as a permanent record. On appointment, all staff receives a copy of the O'Hare & McGovern health and safety booklet. This booklet contains important health and safety information and rules that operatives are expected to know and understand. All members of staff are asked to sign that they have received a copy of the handbook. A health and safety notice board is erected in the site canteens. Relevant posters and site rules are clearly displayed for all to see. Along with a First Aid notice, which gives a list of local numbers to phone encase of an emergency.

All accidents must be recorded in the accident book. Depending on the severity of the accident, it shall be investigated by your manger or the safety manager. All accidents reportable under RIDDOR regulations (i.e. those that result in an individual being off work for 3 days or more) are reported to the safety manager. All reportable accidents are investigated and the results of the findings are recorded on the O'Hare & McGovern internal report along with any witness statement forms.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is issued to all O'Hare & McGovern employees, with sub-contractors expected to provide it for their employees. This protective equipment must be worn at all times with extra precautions required when using or in the vicinity of noisy of dusty equipment. If a sub-contract operative is found not to be wearing PPE, O'Hare & McGovern immediately inform the sub-contractor and if no immediate action is taken, they will provide the necessary equipment and charge the sub-contractor accordingly.

O'Hare & McGovern Health and safety manager is responsible for the implementation of the management system. Some of his other responsibilities include: -

Ensuring the company's safety management system and organisational are set up and maintained

Provide advice and guidance on health and safety issues to sites and ensure that adequate auditing and review procedures are in operation

Day to day running of the safety management system

Regular meetings with the project manager to review the health and safety arrangements.

In line with the required legislation, O'Hare & McGovern has implemented a comprehensive safety management system. This system requires the input of all members of the O'Hare & McGovern team to succeed in creating a safe place of work for all operatives.

Management at O'Hare & McGovern, have taken a pro-active approach to safety management rather than a reactive approach, which waits to the accident has happened before implementing the safety aspects. They have also encouraged this approach among their staff and among the sub-contract staff to encourage a safe site and safe systems of work. The management have also worked hard to remove the "it won't happen to me" mentality that a lot of construction workers in Northern Ireland seem to believe in.

Regular safety talks conducted by the health and safety manager heighten the awareness of the staff on a continual basis and seek to improve the "all for one" approach to successful safety management. Employees are actively encouraged to "look out" for each other ensuring that everyone is working in safe manner in a safe environment.

The safety management system in place at O'Hare & McGovern has reaped its rewards with only a few minor accidents occurring along with no major accidents taking place on site. This not just down to the health and safety manager, but down to the a safety approach that has been instilled in all of the work force to operate in a safe manner, while also thinking of the surrounding environment and the other people who work there and might be affected.

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