Table of Contents

Problems on Construction Sites

Ned Millis
Table of Contents

Construction sites, large and small, are subject to a variety of problems. Contractors bear the major responsibility for keeping construction site problems to a minimum. City and county building departments share in the identification, monitoring and correction of problems that arise on residential and commercial construction sites.

A construction worker in a mechanical lift on a work site.

Safety and Welfare

Responsible contractors make every effort to ensure the highest levels of safety for everyone who works on the site. This includes direct contractor employees and those who service the site as subcontractors. All workers should be required to wear hard hats, safety goggles, safety shoes and reinforced clothing. Semi-permanent and mobile scaffolding should be checked regularly for compliance with safety standards. In areas where overhead work is being performed, the site should be checked for any loose material or tools that might fall and injure those below.

Dust Control

Uncontrolled dust on a construction site poses problems for areas surrounding the site. Most construction jurisdictions are proactive in the area of dust control. Effective dust control measures are required for each site. Failure to adhere to dust control requirements often causes construction sites to be closed down until dust is controlled. Failure to control dust may result in fines for the general contractor. However, over-watering to control dust often results in major areas of erosion on the construction site; erosion may require costly correction.

Sediment Control

Poor dust control techniques may result in a related problem. Dirt and mud may be tracked from the construction site onto surrounding streets by vehicles servicing the construction site. In turn, the mud and dirt is tracked by other vehicle traffic around the site to other streets in the area. Cleanup of tracked material is the responsibility of the general contractor.

Stockpile Management, Burglary and Theft

Stockpiles of construction material around a construction site are an attractive target for thieves. Poor, or non-existent, security for the site is an open invitation to theft. Material stockpiles should be stored in secure areas and monitored regularly by security patrols or closed-circuit cameras. Stolen materials increase job costs through replacement expenses as well as lost time.

Sanitary Facility

Placement and cleanliness of toilet facilities can be a major problem on a construction site. Poorly located toilets result in lost job time for workers. Toilets that are not cleaned and supplied regularly may result in workers relieving themselves in areas within the construction site.