Preparing for the Next Generation of Construction Companies in Africa
Construction companies in Africa literally lay foundations for the development of countries and the growth of economies across the continent.
The projects created by construction companies in Africa, such as towering buildings, transportation infrastructures, residential properties, and other types of structures help make the lives of people more convenient.
But regardless of the size of a construction company, or the sophistication of its operations, the company's people and personnel are its greatest assets. Simply put, a construction company wouldn’t serve its purpose without the inputs of its workers.
That is why those who run or manage construction companies in Africa must find ways of enhance the skills of their company's personnel to give rise to a new generation of construction companies in Africa.
So let's take a deep dive, and look at typical skills every construction worker should have ...
1. Knowledge of Engineering
The construction project delivery team will always include technical personnel such as engineers, architects, quantity surveyors etc. However, it would be greatly beneficial if the construction workers and tradesmen have background engineering knowledge and mathematical skills. This way, they can calculate utilisation requirements for construction materials, keep track of measurements of the facility being constructed, and interpret blueprints without errors.
It is also important to have technical knowledge about the heavy equipment used on site, and the respective functions of equipment deployed on the construction site.
Construction work will always be physically demanding, despite having equipment that will help make the process easier for the workers. So, aside from having enough physical strength to lift heavy objects and undertake manual labour, it is equally crucial for the workers to have the physical strength to carry out their jobs over an extended period.
3. Hand-Eye Coordination
Construction work requires excellent eyesight to examine things in both a close and a far range, and in particular to operate equipment properly. It also needs hand-eye coordination, which allows workers to perform construction tasks and execute construction work more accurately based on what they see on the site.
You may think that workers on construction sites only need to have the physical skills to do their jobs. However, excellent communication skills are necessary, too. Effective communication fosters coordination and enhances teamwork among those involved in the project - eliminating costly mistakes and rework.
Construction workers need to have verbal and written communication skills to:
- report progress;
- ask questions;
- communicate decisions; and
- write emails and other documents.
As the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work. In addition to having good communication skills, good teamwork skill also enables everyone on the construction site to work more efficiently because they collaborate better and minimise time wasted on uncertainties and disagreements. Teamwork also helps create strong relationships with one another and, as a result, keeps everyone happy and motivated to do their job.
You can’t always expect everything to be smooth-sailing in a construction site. Problems like delays, lack of materials, or inaccurate measurements may occur, requiring construction workers to make decisions and address issues. The problem-solving skills of construction workers are also especially important when it involves the safety of other workers.
7. Willingness to Learn
Construction companies in Africa are evolving and endeavouring to improve their service offerings, just as all the other different industries in the world similarly strive to continuously improve. There can be new methods, tools, and techniques introduced which will enhance the knowledge of construction project teams, and improve the productivity of field workers. That said, it is essential for construction companies in Africa to have the willingness to learn new things and innovative ways to make their work and project delivery ability more cost-effective and easier to execute.
If all the workers involved in the project possess the skills outlined here, there will be greater chances for success. Regardless, it will always be valuable for construction contractors and consultants to take action to enhance the skillsets of their workers.
Here’s what you can do ...
Train before the Project Commences
- No matter what industry a company belongs to, employee training helps pave the way to success. Now, in the case of construction, training not only assures that project objectives (time, cost, quality) are more likely to be met, but also reduces the possibility of physical injuries on the job and increases productivity - leading to greater bottom-line profitability. Make sure to give the workers extensive training before deploying them to the site to do their respective construction jobs.
Provide Personal Coaching
- Not every worker requires personal coaching. But if you have someone who feels more challenged than others, it is best to focus on improving that person's skills, if possible through a personal or one-on-one approach. For this, you don’t need to do the training by yourself or hire someone else outside the team. You can assign one of the best workers you have to do the coaching, and the workers having difficulties will observe and learn from other workers with well-developed skills.
Set Realistic Goals
- Construction companies across the continent vary in size and capabilities. The same is true for the construction projects handled by individual companies. Bearing in mind that the most famous landmarks planned out by the most brilliant minds aren’t completed in a day. Hence, set realistic goals for your team and don’t be in a rush.
- See to it that your construction team understands the plans, timelines, and milestones for the project. Also, lay out small, incremental, goals on large projects to make them easier to accomplish.
Communicate and Listen
- When your team has concerns about the project, make sure to listen to them. It is not enough that you give them instructions or lead them. You should also listen to their responses so that you will know what works for them and what doesn’t. This way, you can make the necessary changes and adjustments, which can be highly beneficial for speeding up the progress of the project and achieving client objectives.
- Aside from that, you should also acknowledge your team’s efforts and reward excellence. Doing so keeps the team motivated to do their jobs, and lifts up their spirits - resulting in a more efficient workforce.
Discover More Construction Tips and Guides at ConstructAfrica
If you want to learn more about construction companies in Africa, or broaden your knowledge about the construction industries in countries across Africa in general, feel free to visit ConstructAfrica’s website at www.constructafrica.com. You may also subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated about the latest trends and news about Africa’s construction industries.
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Top Photo: Construction management team in hard hats with plans on project site (Photographerlondon | Dreamstime)
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