Construction Site Management

It is important for the owner builder to have a well prepared construction site. Nothing is more discouraging for trades than to arrive the first day of work and have no facilities or place to put their trash.

First Things First

The very first thing an owner builder should do is post the physical address, contact information and permit number on a board near to the front of the construction site. This lets the trade workers and delivery personnel know where you are. It also identifies that your project is permitted in accordance with the law and allows the building inspector to easily identify your jobsite. Often, if a builder neglects to post this information promptly, an inspector will drive right by. They will walk away from an inspection, even if they know it's the right location, out of principle.

Before excavation begins, the owner builder should make sure they have a porta-john on the jobsite. The standard service plan includes weekly clean-up by the provider. It is also a good idea for you to check the facilities yourself at least every other day to address any emergency service that may arise.

If the excavation will include a great deal of trash clean-up or demolition, the roll-off (construction site dumpster) should be set early. Otherwise, it is fine for the large dumpster to arrive at the beginning of framing .

While it is very important to have the onsite dumpster, realize that they are fairly costly to maintain. There is usually a monthly fee for placement AND a dumping fee every time it is emptied. If you are able, get one that can be locked. At the end of the day, close it and lock it. Maybe give a key to the foreman of whatever trade is active at the time. If a dumpster is left open overnight or through the weekend, neighbors tend to use it to deposit old furniture, moving boxes, bikes, beds, etc. Every non-construction item takes up valuable space and accelerates your next trip to the city dump. You would be amazed at how much this can cost you over a six month project.


I suggest having a large heavy-duty trash can and a push broom on the site. Be sure to mark these clearly with your name. Sweeping and picking up trash every other day for 10-20 minutes will go a long way towards helping maintain a clean project. It also sets a precedent with the trades. If they see that cleanliness of the jobsite is important to the owner builder, they will take better care to do tidy work.

It is a requirement to maintain an approved set of blueprints and truss calculations on the construction site. These must be originals, not prints. As such, they should be protected from the elements. There are a few ways to do this. You may use a large trash can with a sealable top. You can wrap them in plastic. A common practice is to use a large PVC pipe with caps on either end. It can be clearly marked and set conspicuously for trades and inspectors to find.

Maintaining a clean, professional construction site increases productivity and is appreciated by all the trades that work your project. They will respect you a great deal more as an owner builder who takes pride in their home from the start.

The first subcontractors on the construction site are the rough subcontractors.

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