The Power of Team Management in Flooring Installation
Regardless of how big or small a project might be, a major part of managing flooring installations is allocating crew members to each jobsite. A crew that is too small is prone to mistakes and overworking, while a crew that is too large is costly in terms of productivity. Striking the right balance for each project takes a bit of trial and error, but once you hit that sweet spot, it’s smooth sailing.
The Importance of Scheduling
Properly scheduling out the days or phases of the project can save lots of money and allow you to work more efficiently. Depending on the type or the stage of the project, the crew size you need at a given time may vary. You only need two crew members for cleaning a slab or operating a surface prep machine, or at the end of a project when you are staining and sealing.
A crew of four is needed during the main install of the project, when you need people to mix, apply, stamp or apply detailing, and clean up. This can be done with fewer crew members, but that opens up more room for error and creates more work for each person.
In order to maximize the crew at each phase of the project, delegate specific tasks to each person. Roles may include the following:
- The Batch Master: Whether mixing up a scratch coat of cementitious material, mixing color stains and filling sprayers, or mixing parts A and B of a material kit, it’s important to have a dedicated team member who is in charge of mixing and keeping fresh batches ready to go. This person will ensure the mixing ratios and consistencies are right every time. They are usually operating the drill or jiffy mixer as others are lifting and adding ingredients.
- The Master Applicator: The foreman is usually in charge of laying down the material, with another person applying the product. The crew needs to work closely together so that the applicator can keep moving without having to stop to wet the surface, make a new batch, pour out material or refill a sprayer. You can apply significantly more material in a day if you are able to continually provide fresh material to keep the master applicator moving.
It is also important that the same master applicator completes the entire floor to ensure consistency in texture and coloring. If multiple people are applying material on opposite ends of the room, or another person takes over halfway through a job, you will end up with noticeable differences due to different application techniques.
- The Cleaner: High-performance flooring materials will ruin your tools if they are not cleaned immediately after use. This is often overlooked until it is too late, especially on larger projects. It is helpful to have a crew member dedicated to keeping the work areas and tools clean. This can be the Batch Master or anyone else who is not actively assisting at the moment.
- The Detailer: Everyone on the jobsite should pay attention to the details, but if you have an extra hand they should be assigned to detailing. Whether a drain was overlooked during the masking process or a wet edge needs to be maintained for the applicator, the detailer can be on top of these things to keep the job moving. Forgetting to coat edge faces and pesky debris during application can be avoided if someone is aware of the details. This person can usually double as the Cleaner, as they go hand in hand.
What to Do with Extra Hands
When you perfect the scheduling process, you should rarely run into situations where you have extra hands on the jobsite. If this does happen, send extra crew members to another project that only needs one or two people. When doing this, it’s important to make sure at least one person going to the jobsite has expertise in that type of project.
With a thoughtful schedule in place, you should be able to complete multiple projects at once, since it only takes a few hours to complete certain steps or coats at a project. Over the years, I have noticed that companies have become so focused on one project that they either lose other opportunities because they are “too busy” or they end up over budget and behind schedule because they are stuck at one project for days on end.