How to Stay Productive on Projects During Work Stoppages

Electrical contractors can still make progress in uncertain times: here are some strategies to get a head start when work picks back up again.

Strong restrictions on in-person work have put our industry in an unfamiliar position: working from home as jobsites continue to shut down. But we can still make progress in this uncertain time: now can be a moment to get a leg up when work picks back up again. Below are a few strategies collected from electrical contractors across California on how they’re using this time from home to get ahead: 


  1. Get ahead of RFIs - Most RFIs are submitted when it’s already too late. Submitting them during the building process not only slows production but also adds time to work schedules. With access to digital plans, have your teams remotely review project plans for problems and ambiguity. Use this time to shake out any issues and draft a comprehensive list of RFIs. Send them to the design team so that you can build without interruption once work starts again. Keep in mind that architects and engineers are slow right now as well and should be able to answer things quickly. 
  2. Familiarize yourself with your Force Majeure provisions - Most contracts will have a provision for delays due to “acts of god” or Force Majeure. Research your contract, and reach out to your legal teams so you can take any required steps to protect your organization. Typical contracts require notices within a specified timeframe so it’s important to research this ASAP. 
  3. Build a recovery schedule - Depending on your contract, you may or may not be given an extension for delays, but either way, it will soon be time to build again. Create a recovery schedule with your project teams listing all remaining work and the balance of hours to complete it. Build a man loaded schedule from this data to forecast how many tradespeople you will need once work starts again. Talk to your field leadership to gauge both how many people will be coming back to work and how many you will need to hire. Rebuilding crews should also be a part of your schedule extension request. 
  4. Build material requisitions - Review the work you have yet to complete and create a materials plan for how the materials you will need will be purchased and delivered. Supply chains have already been impacted by COVID-19 and will continue to be for a while. Sending your vendors a comprehensive list of required materials early will make sure they have a chance to get the right quantities in place and ready to go. Agora can help your teams do exactly this. 
  5. Coordinate with lower-tier subcontractors - If you have them, see if they can get their schedules in now. Once work starts, specialty sub-tier contractors like crane companies are going to be busy trying to accommodate the projects that are also restarting. Planning early with these specialty subs will get you a place in line earlier than those waiting until the last minute. 
  6. Make sure you’re fully caught up - It might sound simple, but things get put aside when projects are in full tilt and you’re busy fighting fires. Now is the time to make sure you’re caught up on everything. Review all your project financials and get everything up-to-date (e.g., change orders, purchase orders, and procurement logs). Have field teams get their as-builts updated and complete.
  7. Get ahead on Paperwork - Start identifying important closeout and commissioning documents. Getting O&M’s and start-up forms complete now will help once work starts again. 


These are just a handful of strategies for being proactive during this uncertain time. We’ll continue to share more over the coming days and weeks.

Got more advice or suggestions?

Email me at micah@helloagora.com and I’ll add to this list.


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