Friday, February 1, 2013

Site experience

First week on site with no external meetings. My boss finally came around to visit the site after working on this project for the past year. I think sometimes HK is just so small that you feel like you can go some place anytime and then end up never going. I think he now has a better appreciation for the site. Even said that he would visit regularly since it is a challenging site.

I attended a class on construction contract claims last weekend. I have a sudden interest and appreciation in all things related to construction contracts and construction management. I really had no clue where to begin with all these terms and conditions in a contract. But after attending a couple of classes, I am starting to get a feel for the general aspects of standard contracts used in HK. I've been meaning to read through the contract for this project in detail but haven't gotten around to it yet. There is actually quite a lot of routine stuff to take care of.

Routine inspections take up a lot of time. For any site, you do your routine inspections, take notes and photos, and then enter them into the computer for filing. The added challenge for this site is the topography. It takes a while to get anywhere and back down. And since the site is just starting, a lot of things are still being developed and things are changing on a daily basis. Everyone is trying to figure out which forms to use and how to get things done.

And since we still haven't managed to hire a resident engineer for this project yet, I have to do all the paperwork as well. There tends to be a lot of submissions by the contractor in the beginning of a project. I think looking through these things are usually a shared effort by the office and site staff, with the office staff leading. But my boss is too busy. So we (I) have come up with a compromise where he talks me through each submission and tells me what to look for. I check the things that he has asked me to check and follows through on the rest of the it. Previously, I had tried to read these things on my own but my total lack of experience makes it hard for me to comment on anything. I think once you see things happen once, then you know what is important.

I think this will be an interesting year. Part of me really wants things to settle down and become more routine. But another part of me is excited by the different types of challenges that I have to deal with on a daily basis. Once my site gets an actual resident engineer who has years and years of experience, I would no longer have to (get to) deal with these higher level issues. I would definitely be less stressed and have more free time but it would also get boring. Anyway, hopefully I won't mess things up too badly before that happens.

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