These Are About the Physical Process
This is the 3rd in the series of answering the questions asked by the Scout group. The first week we discussed the willingness of these young people to ask questions, unlike most adults. Last week we answered some basic construction questions.
As was the case last week, most often answers to questions need answers to other questions. With this being a one-sided conversation, I’ll answer these questions without having any specific answers to additional questions.
Do you hire the electrical/plumbing or does the owner?
This will vary on each project and will depend on the customer’s needs and goals, but as a general contractor I usually provide subcontractors. As an example of varying between projects, the owner of the project we’re currently working on is a retired electrician, so he’s doing the wiring on this project.
What equipment do you use most often?
I think the piece of equipment that I use the most often is a hammer. Some people would probably consider equipment as something motorized or powered. According to Collins dictionary, “Equipment consists of things which are for a particular purpose,” which would include a hammer. If you insist on only power tools being equipment, the second most used piece of equipment would be a cordless screw gun…there are you happy. 😊
Do you prefer to use more manual or electrical equipment?
Here we are again, manual vs. powered. I definitely “prefer” using electrical equipment or most any power tool over manual. Power tools make most tasks they’re used for easier. However, depending on the task being performed in some cases the manual tool is better suited and more productive. For example, you shouldn’t use a pneumatic nail gun as a hammer to drive a board into place.
How do you dig a foundation?
The size of the project will usually dictate how the foundation will be dug. If the project requires moving a large amount of dirt, for example a basement, then typically a large excavator (link) will be used. If it’s something smaller, we would most often use a mini excavator. (link) If the project is small enough or inaccessible to equipment then it could be dug by hand with a shovel.
These next three questions relate to the dangers of construction.
Where are the dangerous places on a construction site?
Everywhere on a construction site is dangerous. Sure, some are more dangerous than others, but heights are among the most dangerous. Falling is the number one cause of construction site injuries. Some other dangers on a construction site are; power saws, pneumatic tools, electricity, heavy equipment and cave ins of ditches.
How often do injuries happen?
This answer depends on how we want to define “injury”. Some people would consider a splinter an injury. For this answer I’m going to define injury as something requiring medical attention, i.e. stiches, broken bones, requiring a doctor’s attention, etc. During my forty plus years in construction I have personally witnessed or actually been injured 8 – 10 times. If I take that number of times over the forty years, that’s .000137%. As dangerous as construction sites are and as much construction that’s done, surprisingly it’s not as often as one might expect. The key is working smart and safe.
Have you ever broken a hard hat?
This is one of the most interesting questions asked and easiest to answer. I can answer it with a resounding NO. This is not to say they can’t be broken, but it takes a lot to break one.
There are still several questions left to answer so next week we’ll look at types and specialty forms of construction.
If these questions raise additional questions for you, send them to us in the comments below and well answer them.