Some tasks require more than one framer, for example, lifting large walls. Any time framers have to be called from other tasks to perform a common task, care must be taken not to waste time. The cost per minute of a 5-framer task is 5 times that of a single framer task. The person organizing the task needs to take responsibility for making sure the task is ready for all framers. If it is lifting a wall, the organizing framer should make sure the wall is completely ready so framers don’t stand around while one person makes last-minute adjustments.
Studies have been done that show that as output is doubled, the time required decreases according to a constant ratio. The common ratio is about 4 to 5, or 20%. For example, the fourth set of stairs built will take 20% less time than the second.
Multiple cutting becomes efficient when you have to cut a number of pieces of lumber the same size. Trimmers, cripples, and blocks are good examples.
To multiple cut, first spread all the lumber to be cut out on the floor or a table. Then measure each piece, mark each piece with your square, and finally cut each piece.
Analysis has shown it takes 36% less time to cut ten pieces of 2 x 4 when the tasks of spreading, then measuring, then marking, and then cutting are done for all the pieces at one time.
For very large numbers of cuts it may be worthwhile to make a template or a measuring/cutting jig.
Question: Can significant time (and money) be saved by moving faster?
Answer: Motion analysis studies have shown that something as simple as walking more quickly around the site can substantially raise productivity. For instance, if a framer spends 2 hours in an 8-hour day walking from point to point on a job site, a quick walk can save about 30 minutes per day over a relaxed walk.
Speed or quality: Which should it be? How good must the work be if it must be done as fast as possible? The two variables to consider when answering these questions are:
First and most important is the structural integrity of the building. The second is creating a finished frame that will be pleasing to the eye. Once requirements for strength and attractiveness are satisfied, the faster the job can be done, the better.
Framing requires a lot of material movement. It is estimated that one-quarter to one-third of a framer’s time is spent moving material, so any time or energy saved is a cost reduction.
The following hints will help you save time, energy, motion and, in the last analysis, money.
• Whenever material is lifted or moved, it takes time and energy; therefore, move material as little as possible.
• When stacking lumber, consider the following:
—Where will it be used next?
—Will it be close to where it is going to be used?
—Will it be in the way of another operation?
—Will it obstruct a pathway?
• Always stack material neatly. This helps to keep the lumber straight and makes it easy for framers to pick up and carry it. Stack 2 x 4 studs in piles of eight for a convenient armful.
• Have second-floor lumber dumped close to the building so framers can stand on the lumber stack and throw it onto the second floor.
• When stacking lumber on a deck, place it where walls will not be built, so it will not have to be moved again.
Draw up a schedule such as the one shown in the following table for your specific equipment; post it, and assign a reliable crew member to take charge of it.
• Use mechanical aids, such as levers, for lifting. Remember your physics—the longer the handle in relation to the lifting arm, the easier it will be to lift the load.
• Two trips to the lumber stack or tool truck cost twice as much as one trip. If you have to go to the tool truck for a tool, check to see if you need nails or anything else.
When you started reading this chapter, you were probably hoping for some nice clean answers on how to manage a crew-answers that you could put to use tomorrow. Now you are probably thinking that you have more questions than you did when you started reading-and that’s the way it should be. Managing a crew is a never-ending job that
will challenge you every day. The information presented in this chapter should give you a base for the common-sense decisions you will have to continually make in response to the questions that come up as you manage your crew.