For those of you who are fortunate to be working on a Construction site, keeping your site clean and tidy is very important. To some, achieving this might be hard, considering there are a lot of things going on at the same time. And having to manage multiple scopes of work being completed as part of the entire project. For the seasoned veteran, this reminder may serve as a gentle nudge to review the basics again. Those new hires could use the information provided here as a guide, if nothing else. Everyone should appreciate the fact that a clean environment can only nurture a safe place to work. I have outlined some areas I feel every worker should consider in the overall effort to bring the project to a successful close. And to run from the old adage – you cannot build it without having all of the materials needed to do so.

As with every site, laydown yards are necessary to bring materials closer to the job-site, while larger footprints are essential to organize the many items needed to build the project. Everyone must not forget, especially in winter months, to employ a sound inventory management system, which includes signage, to mark the location of every piece of material. In saying this, there are many software based tools that one could use to make this task easier. For instance, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems have come a long way in recent years however; not all sites are using them. That is why it is important for every warehouse worker to use a tool that will ensure nothing gets lost. Creating a primitive, yet productive, grid layout would suffice to block each area of a laydown. In doing so, the workers would have a map of the general area of where something would be stored. Provided this map is displayed in a central area like an inventory managers office for instance. Erecting simple sign posts and using flagging tape could offer a solution to further grid these areas.

Initiating a load and delivery schedule, in advance, of the items that must be moved from a central laydown to a static yard that a is located adjacent to where there are construction activities would serve as another good tool. Having a pre-designed form for workers to mark down what is being moved would provide an opportunity for inventory control. These forms would also minimize the potential for lost items and double orders. The person receiving the item at the construction yard could be asked to sign the form. Failing this, the laydown yard worker could at least mark his name, the date and time of transport and the yard it was moved to. A separate grid could be set up in the central laydown to hold the prepared items until final transport to a designated site is complete. Alternatively, a trailer could be loaded and staged at the central yard awaiting shipment to a static yard. This option might present some challenges depending on the size of the order and having available trailers to support it.

Placing applicable recycle, garbage, wood, metal and cardboard bins in multiple areas would offer workers a chance to clean up as they go. Supervisors could designate a specific time each day for yard clean up. It would go a long way for these supervisors to lend a hand with this task to show the workers they are not above maintaining cleanliness themselves. It would also demonstrate a “work by example” gesture to the overall team. Another schedule could be organized to strictly replace these bins on a regular basis with empty ones. Weekly inspections of all yards would encourage clean up as well. Upon inspections, work stoppages could be enforced if yards are looking tardy with all hands on deck to correct any shortfall. This is not to say daily cleaning should be disregarded. Instead, a work stoppage could be a form of discipline to work crews and foreman.

Analyzing construction schedules in advance would identify when material needs to be installed. Then, actual storage locations could be designated in central yards by putting slow moving items to the rear and out of the way, and storing fast movers in the front of the yard. Keeping all like items together, and in the same location, would make for a more efficient laydown yard or warehouse too. Establishing shipping/receiving areas, driving lanes, parking areas, assembly zones, PPE and Non-PPE areas would help in the overall organization of all yards. The point here is to anticipate every avenue to keep all spaces clean. Having regular discussions to draw out ideas and concerns, while keeping an open mind to suggestions, would add to the many ways the team could succeed with a clean and tidy workspace.