In the world of Industrial Construction there are many uncertainties. Delays, obstructions and many unforeseen obstacles are present at every turn on every project. You have to be nimble and steadfast since there’s not many guarantees once the project starts. However, one thing you can usually count on is that most of the trades people usually know what they’re supposed to do and have developed some level of skill due to performing the work under supervision.
However, the task of Grouting is a different story. It’s a critical step in the installation process and will have a great positive or negative effect on the life of that equipment. It’s just like any other task your people perform: doing it right is positive, and doing it wrong is not. The problem is, Grouting as a key task doesn’t get the support of a established system of training, mentorship and evaluation that all of the accepted trades get.
Not sure how to handle this common situation? Here are 5 steps to get you started.
1. Acknowledge the importance of the task.
Members of a trade know where they fit in the building or maintenance process. They understand the function of the processes they create or repair. It is clear to them where their work will stand as part of the completed project.
Everyone doing the grouting are usually doing something else. All they understand is that the company needs them to help with this task temporarily. They usually have no idea of the role this will play transferring loads and reducing vibration to extend the life and efficiency of the process.
2. Secure proper training for your team.
People in a trade follow a set program that starts with basic training needed to for a base to build on. Then they are mentored by a skilled member with vast experience to learn how to perform the tasks better with each year. They are evaluated and coached to become fully functional within their trade and eventually master their craft.
Most of the time, the training for the tasks associated with grouting happen just prior to the work. It’s usually little more than an “orientation” based on the specific material. And if they’re lucky, they may have a person who has used it before or a factory salesman as the trainer. But, that’s not much of a training program and the evaluation doesn’t come for 24 months or so after start-up when the signs of stress start to appear from excessive vibration.
3. Provide your team with the right equipment.
A tradesman has the tools needed to perform the work. The company has a stock of equipment needed and usually owns just what’s needed for each task. These tools and equipment are used everyday so it’s easy to justify having them. Plus having the best of them makes the worker more productive.
Since grouting is something not done on a regular basis, there are few related tools available. There is little to no equipment available since it just isn’t a good investment. Your efforts are hampered with your need to “Make do” with what you have. So, you shortcut the system and end up making it harder than it needs to be.
4. Invest in continuous improvement.
Staying good at your craft requires that you strive to improve each day. The mentoring and evaluation systems encourage and reward improvement. It’s baked into the trade and your peers expect you to keep getting better or get out.
Grouting efforts are not sustained for long. So, you don’t have a chance to get good at it. There is no reward for striving for continuous improvement other than being picked for the next grout job.
5. Maintain confidence in your ability.
The way you learn your trade makes you confident in your ability. You couldn’t progress if your peers and mentors weren’t sure you could perform up to their standards.
But you just don’t grout enough to be sure you can do it all. You will give it your best, but you’re not a “Grouter” you’re a pipefitter, rigger, ironworker, etc.
With no “Trade” status, it’s difficult at best to keep people ready to do the grouting and feel sure about their abilities. You have confidence in them performing their normal work. But, this grouting looks easier than it ends up being. If you want to get your people “Grout Ready,” call us when you’re planning your next grouting project. We’ll help you in the planning, preparation, performance, and review of your grouting tasks.