Co-ordinating Deliveries on a Building Site

Richard Kolomy Construction Project

A building construction site is a busy environment, in many cases there are large volumes of people trying to complete multitude of tasks. Any spare space is quickly filled with people, materials or waste and storage space is a premium.

Almost all construction phases or activities are associated with some form of deliveries. Whether the deliveries are transported to site by the workers themselves, or they are delivered by third parties such as suppliers in trucks, vans or utes there is almost a constant flow that needs to be managed.

Failure to adequately manage and log deliveries on site is fraught will pitfalls and can dramatically affect productivity, organisation and safety. Special considerations should be given to the following elements;


Responsibility (Storage/Deliveries Co-Ordinator)

It is critical that one person is responsible for deliveries on site. This mainly relates to items arriving through third parties such as from suppliers in trucks vans and utes. It is critical to co-ordinate delivery times to coincide with activities. Most building sites have construction zones, which are only large enough to fit one and at best two trucks, so without proper programming and organisation this zone can rapidly become congested. Additionally, if the materials are not properly allocated to an area they are exposed to security risks, a hazard to workers and are difficult to find when needed. With this in mind it is important to allocate responsibility to one individual who understands the progressively changing environment of the site knows where certain materials should be delivered and has a schedule of times for deliveries to the construction zone. In addition to this, to save confusion this person should be the primary contact for any and all delivery drivers to create consistent lines of communication.


Do not use the Building Site as a Storage Yard

All too often sub trades are only concerned about their own activities, and with this organise themselves to suit what they are doing with total disregard of other trades, or upcoming activities on site. The deliveries of tiles are a good example. Tiles are generally ordered in large batches to ensure batch numbers are matching to allow for tile consistency in shades, shapes and sizes, however tiles are used up progressively over a period of time. Storage costs money and takes up space, so trades like to store as many materials as possible on site, so as to not pay storage fees to suppliers, or fill up their own storage facilities. It is critical for any deliveries/storage co-ordinator to identify this problem and manage sub trades to ensure there is not a large surplus of stored materials that are not immediately needed on site.



Allocate Drop off and Storage Areas

Drop off and storage areas are a critical aspect of any construction site. All trades need to be aware of what their allocated areas for storage are and their drop off areas. These areas must be managed by the deliveries co-ordinator at all times, and trades must be directed on what they can leave on site, where it must be stored and constantly log the dates and times for the next deliveries.


Storage Lock-Ups

Some trades will require their own lock –up storage areas. This is particularly relevant to plumbers, electricians and painters. Plumbers and electricians have many expensive specialised elements they use on site on a daily basis, and in most cases need surplus supplies to keep up with activities on site. It is more complex to manage these specialised trades as they undertake complex tasks that require many differing components and materials. It is not efficient to expect plumbers and electricians to only bring what they need on the day. The project will rapidly change even throughout the day so there will always be a need for some surplus materials for these two trades. These storage lockups in many cases if practical will take the form of shipping containers or site sheds in the early stages, however as the project progresses and basements of lower floors are completed, it is general practice to build walls or fence off areas with gates and padlocks to create lock up storage facilities.

Another good example is painters. During the painting stage, painters will deliver large quantities of pain to a building site. Paints are very expensive and very easy to move as they come in small manageable buckets. This leaves them open to theft is not adequately stores and protected. A painter also needs a dedicated area for sorting and mixing so it is good practice to allocate a secure storage and lock up for painters.

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