Communication When Placing HMA
Under the QC/QA specification, the contractor 1A and 1B personnel are the front lines for QC of testing and inspection. As employees of the contractor they work hand in hand with the contractor's HMA foreman and laydown machine operator. Paralleling these individuals is the Engineer/Consultant personnel working as the QA for 1A and 1B duties. Additionally, the Engineer/Consultant will have a chief inspector assisted by a field inspector. The contractor and owners staffing often may need additional personnel included. Far too often the communication between these 2 groups occurs only between individuals and does not include the entirety of both groups. These 7+ individuals all must be informed of issues that may impact the “HMA Train”.
Cell phones have become the go to answer for quick communication but the cell phone call has issues. It only includes 2 people and induces danger to the work place as it frequently places the receiver of the call distracted. It is dangerous for the key personnel to take a call while operating equipment or in the work zone.
Emails are great for including a larger group but most people do not constantly check their email during the day or have immediate notification when received.
On our CEI projects we have been using a Text group that includes at least all the key personnel. All messages involving lots, trucks hauling, densities, asphalt contents, JMF, temperatures, equipment breakdowns, delivery times or any possible issue are sent to the entire group. It is amazing how quickly text messages are safely read. Using this method, we have found that communication is both quicker and inclusive of all key personnel. It also can be an information record for later reference.
A by-product we have found is that through the improved communication the feelings of “Us and Them” is diminished. It promotes a feeling of team working together to deliver a quality project.
In your next pre-pave meeting make a communication plan part of the meeting. Establish the text group and emphasize the importance of routing all field communication through it.