As a contractor should you have a training program? Yes, absolutely. We are going to call this training program MAP, Merit Advancement Program. Not my idea, I stole it.
The program starts with a new hire, with little or no experience. Safety training first and foremost. It’s assumed you have a safety program in place. The company should provide the employee with the proper PPE. Proper education about the fall protection equipment is critical. They should also be educated as to how to dress for the field.
Training of this employee will include the proper tools for each phase of the training. As a new hire, some of the required tools provided by the employee are a tool belt w/ tool bags, a 25’ tape measure, pencil w/ a pocket clip, and a good pair of gloves. The company should provide a pocket sized notebook, for taking notes, writing down dimensions or instructions. As a newbie, this employee is going to be doing a lot of “Helper” work, helping to move insulation, underlayment and metal panels. They will not be involved in the direct installation of the finished product at this stage of their training.
Who does this training? This training should be supervised by the company field superintendent. The “crew lead,” will act as an instructor along with the help of the crew members. It should be noted here, your most experienced Lead can be a good instructor, if he has the help from the rest of the crew/team. You don’t want the new hire to quit after two days because he is feeling helpless or picked on. After a period of time and as the employee has become a “hand," an interview should be conducted to see what this person knows or doesn’t know, are they a keeper, are they due a raise? Check with the crew lead. Think MAP.
The employee will need to purchase additional tools as they progress from unskilled to a skilled level. As this person learns how to install simple trim and flashings, some of the additional tools will include green and red snips, a pair of straight cut shears, pliers, flat head and Phillips head screw drivers, “C” clamps and hand tongs, T square, possibly an angle finder and protractor. The hand tools will be needed to cut and shape various trim and flashing shapes. These tools will also be used in preparation of a metal wall or roof panel. Who does this training? Again, it’s the crew lead. Yes, this is a time-consuming process for the lead, because he also running the crew for this installation. Here again help from the more experienced mechanics is needed. Rain days are a great time for training to take place. Think MAP.
The time has come to test the “hand.” For this test, a roof mock-up is eeded. Make your mock-up to a 6/12 slope. All work on the mock-up is to take place in the fall protection gear and tied off. Are they trained concerning the use of fall protection equipment, not just the harness, but all the parts and pieces for a safe job-site. Can this individual cut and install the various shapes seen on a project? Can they perform these tasks without supervision? Are they able to install insulation and underlayment, while in their PPE? The test should be administered by the company superintendent. Think MAP.
As time passes the “hand” should be able to install insulation, wood blocking, underlayment, sheet metal trim and flashings, panel preparation and installation of metal roof and metal wall panels. He should also be able to work with a helper to complete a specific task. This is where the mock up will be used to assess skills and finished work. Here again you will need to get with the crew lead and your field superintendent to determine if “hand” is ready for this further testing. Think MAP.
The goal is to have an individual, who capable of completing a jobsite task or a portion of a larger project. While at MSI, I witnessed their Merit Advancement Program, create more than one project lead from an entry level employee.
Mark Standifer is the Project Manager at King of Texas Roofing. See his full bio here.
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