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Site bosses pour their hear ts out

NEWSUniversity boffins analyse site managers'problems

SCIENTISTS in Birmingham are asking site managers to pour out their troubles into dictaphones for a new study.

Twelve small and medium-sized contractors have agreed to take part in the project, which asks managers to record their approaches to problem-solving.

Researchers at the University of Central England in Birmingham claim the study will make businesses more competitive and help managers to 'develop self-worth' Andy Careless is a site manager with Midlands-based Pettifer Construction, one of the firms taking part in the study.

For the past 12 months Mr Careless has been recording a 10-minute report each week and posting the tape to the university team. He said many of the problems he has been highlighting are common across the industry.

Mr Careless said: 'It's a lot of typical things like deliveries not turning up, poor design information, subcontractors not showing up, that sort of thing.'

Professor David Boyd, who is in charge of the project, hopes that analysing these problems in greater detail will help managers avoid them or react better to them in the future.

But Mr Careless had his doubts. He said: 'This study is identifying those problems but solving them is a different matter.

Who knows, there might be something useful that comes out of it, we'll have to wait and see.'

In one case recorded by Professor Boyd's team, tailormade shower fittings were stolen from a construction site at a school.

The scientists noted that waiting while new parts were delivered had frustrated subcontractors and added that 'irritated craftspeople have the potential to produce a lower quality of work' Other insights included a warning that: 'Leaving work half-done is not satisfying, ' and a suggestion that: 'Theft from sites needs to be considered strategically.'

The academics running the study acknowledged that some of the lessons 'may appear to be common-sense' The firms taking part in the study are Pettifer, Wembrook Builders, Mirus Build Solutions, Piper Construction, Sapcote, Ashford, Spring and Company, Thomas Vale, Watson, Ellmore, Chard and Miller.