Ten Things I’ve Learned as An Award-Winning Superintendent: Part 2

By Ed Coke, Charter Superintendent, Seattle As I said in my last email/blog (click here to read), there are many lessons that I have learned over the years. The following complete my “top ten” list: 


Work hard to help your subcontractors be successful.  From the early stages of the construction process, even before the project starts, I make it a point to help my subcontractors understand the expectations for quality, safety, timeliness and cooperation which I believe will ensure their success on the project. I always conduct weekly subcontractor coordination meetings which review current and upcoming work, address schedule concerns, and provide an opportunity for the subcontractors to coordinate their respective scopes together. This approach to teamwork with our valued subcontractors is a critical component for the project’s success. Also, I often work diligently to provide detailed information to subcontractors with supplemental sketches including critical dimensioning and layout information to assist in the understanding and execution of their work.  


Do your own layout whenever possible. This step alone will ensure you know the job inside and out. Layout refers to dimensional locations of foundations, utilities, framing, windows, doors, cabinets and many other components of the project. To start, I work with the surveyor to establish the initial building layout using a grid work of building lines. Providing this layout to my foundation subcontractor helps accurately set forms and locates the foundation properly. From there, I transfer these “grid lines” to the top of the foundation and work with my framing subcontractor to layout floor framing, walls, and eventually the roof structure. Throughout the project, maintaining a reliable layout that all subcontractors can refer to, maintains consistency and accuracy that helps ensure building elements locate correctly.


Come in early and stay late. I have found that there are not enough hours in the work day to effectively complete all necessary work. Each of us has our own rhythm, and for me I find that the best planning and organizing time is early in the morning, before everyone arrives at the job site. This is a quiet time with no interruptions and it helps me focus on what I need to accomplish that day. Additionally, I use time at the end of the shift, once everyone has gone home to write my daily log, reflect on the day’s events and review plans for the next day.


Everything you do is important. Even the tasks that seem mundane, like keeping a daily log are so important. A daily log is a great resource and record for all of the events that have occurred throughout the job. Maintaining the job schedule and updating it weekly is also critical. I like to keep a “To Do” list to help remind me of all the small tasks and errands that pop up frequently through the project. I also feel it’s important to walk the project daily to monitor safety and promote good safety habits. Every once and a while I’ll pick up a broom and sweep the floor. Sometimes it keeps things in perspective and I find it’s good for the soul!


Construction is hard work, so try and make it enjoyable.
Short and sweet – Be fair, keep a positive attitude and have a good sense of humor.  Life is so much more enjoyable with a good outlook.


Thanks Ed, for your valuable insight and years of partnership on the Charter team! Your insights and wisdom are a valuable asset to all of us and to those we serve together. Charter Construction has performed Repairs, Renovations, and New Construction for 34 years.  As always, if you have any questions regarding your home or building, our seasoned team of professionals is prepared to assist you with your construction needs.  Please contact our Team at 206-382-1900 in Seattle or 503-546-2600 in Portland. Very Truly Yours, Peter SaladinoPresident
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