Hero photograph
Hard fill, construction site
Photo by Matthew Buchanan

Problem-solving on site

Lesley Brook —

Rapid promotion may mean construction site managers don't have enough experience.

There can be many barriers to efficient and sustainable construction, for example lack of qualified staff, and delays in supply of materials. Another possible barrier is the performance of the responsible site manager. The site manager's role has been investigated in a recent research project undertaken by Senior Lecturer Priyanka Raina with one of her students.

Ten company managers were interviewed, running businesses in a range of trades working in Auckland residential construction. All were asked to identify one real issue that had arisen on one of their sites, and to describe how that issue was resolved. The results showed a very wide gap between what was happening in practice and the role of the site manager in theory. 

The company managers valued learning from work experience ahead of a professional qualification. However lack of sufficient experience, including lack of knowledge and understanding of the Building Code, contributed to some of the issues that occurred, leading to delays and increased costs of construction. Priyanka recommends that construction trades companies record delays and problems, identifying the relevant provisions of the Building Code and analysing the issues to learn how to avoid and solve problems.