When putting together a construction project site, a field office is usually included for the contractor’s staff and construction management crew to conduct business. Similar to an office building, this structure is a place for holding meetings and space for project staff to store files and conduct activities related to the ongoing project. Depending on the contract terms, the contractor is usually required to provide or pay for the facility, but as the construction project manager, here are some things you should know about maintaining a field office.
Picking a Construction Trailer and Location
Put first things first. A field office should be located near the actual construction job. Project staff members need to freely move between any active work zones and the field office. Since construction trailers are often used for project sites, it is important to select a trailer that is large enough to provide ample space for the contractor’s management crew as well as other personnel expected to be on-site, including resident engineers, inspectors, and other roles.
Providing Adequate Facilities
Ideally, a project trailer should provide enough workspaces or desks for the requisite staff. It should have at least one bathroom with a functioning toilet and faucet. Depending on the scale of the project and its duration, the trailer should include a kitchen with cold storage, working sinks with drinking water, an ice dispenser, and coffee. The field office will also need at least one copier, scanner, and printing device. There should be a reliable Wi-Fi network for internet connectivity for multiple devices, including laptops and smartphones. Space is also needed for file cabinets and other equipment required for document control.
Safety has to be paramount at a project site even in the field office. In addition to a security system and smoke detectors, a job site should have fire extinguishers, as well as a first-aid kit, in an easy-to-reach location. Consider contracting with a safety company to provide training and oversight to all personnel. The field office should also have a small supply of backup personal protective equipment available for use, including hard hats, reflective vests, and protective eyewear.
Setting up the field office is an important part of the management of a construction job. While the contractor tends to be responsible for providing the facility, the lead construction manager or supervisory resident engineer needs to make sure that things are in order. The field office should be a model of productivity and safety.