Told by Mark Binkley Sr., Senior Construction Manager
Cedar Cliff High School in the West Shore School District offers their students the unique opportunity to experience a construction job site firsthand. Fidevia’s Mark Binkley Sr. served as a mentor on his construction site teaching his student shadow the ins and outs of being a construction manager.
“There are some things that you just cannot teach in a classroom. When students have the opportunity to see a project come together piece by piece from the beginning to the end, it becomes a memory that will last them a lifetime,” Mark explains.
“Seeing all trades working in unison with each other is like watching a well-played symphony where each one knows just when to do their part. As construction managers, we act as the conductors, ensuring there is a perfect flow in the work completed on the jobsite. We get information to the prime contractors as fast and accurate as possible. We stay up to speed with the blueprints, job specifications, submittals, RFI’s and all of the inspections required by state and local authority, because no matter how small the task, if it is done out of sequence it can magnify, into a very large and costly mistake. As a construction manager we need to walk the site with our eyes open and pay close attention as to what is going on around us at all times to ensure such mistakes do not occur. I personally try to walk the site every hour to see the progress of what is going on. The contractor and their sub-contractors can move very fast on some installation so its important to frequently observe and take pictures of the work being done. If you walk the site every hour and it takes on average 30 minutes, that is half of your time on the job site. The other half of your day is occupied by completing the daily reports, keeping all of your logs up to date and answering all the emails that come in while you were walking the site.”
Although the onsite experience is something that cannot be taught in a classroom, in order to truly understand your role as a CM, you will need to hit the books.
“This job is a lot easier to do if you understand the sequence of building and construction in general. This why we need to understand our blueprints. If you don’t understand the prints you will be lost from the get-go. This is something that the classroom can teach much better than on the job,” Binkley states.
Their job takes precision, an eye for detail and discipline, which makes construction managers a great job discipline for students to shadow and expand their knowledge of the construction industry and career options.