This article will cover information on Standard Operating Procedures in Construction.

The term SOP (standard operating procedure) is widely used across a range of industries. This tool is used to identify the work process and break it into steps for a better outcome. This step by step procedure allows smooth functioning but it does not guarantee a perfect result. Writing an SOP is like introducing a piece of new machinery to the crew. After it has been introduced, it will be worked with/on for better understanding. And once they have gotten used to it, they make fewer mistakes, they take less time, and they have fewer questions. An SOP provides several benefits to the contractor:

  • A written SOP helps the new and less experienced workers to work properly and can be used as a training for your workers.
  • It sets a standard for all workers to follow and it has steps and instructions to let workers know how to process the work.
  • It helps workers work faster since they know what they need to do and when.
  • It answers unasked questions of the workers which they probably have or want to ask.

How to write a standard operating procedure

  • On the first page/header portion, you need to describe quality assurance and quality check policy.
  • To avoid the old versions getting mixed with new versions, give your versions a name and date. After it, write down the approval date and who approved it.
  • For the main body use these headings
    • Purpose of the SOP
    • Scope of the SOP
    • Person responsible
    • Reference
    • The procedure of the SOP

What should be kept in mind while drawing an SOP

  • Keep the procedure as simple as possible, so there is no scope left for mistakes.
  • The SOP should be detailed enough to let the worker know what to do in which situation.
  • A complex SOP only increases the workload, but you should be able to get the thin line between simplicity and completeness.
  • The main goal of the SOP is to achieve quality, so keep that in mind.

Without an SOP, workers will work on the standards which they seem right. If there are four workers there will be four standards to work upon and later it will be total chaos when the contractor evaluated the performance. The SOP will bring commonality, it will train the workers, and it will set a norm of how to work within the company.

Standard operating procedures in the construction

An SOP is a step by step process which means every step has been broken down for workers to understand it better. Like I said above it needs to be simple but detailed. Once you are done with every section make copies of the document and distribute it to your workers.

Making an SOP and distributing it to your workers will not work on its own. A contractor needs to evaluate the work performance of workers while using the SOP. there could be some parts which workers did not understand or where you left out some steps. To check if the SOP is working properly, have a meeting after having used it to conduct the work. Ask workers for their feedback. Ask them what problem they faced while using the SOP and at which steps, they found themselves stuck. You can ask your employees what improvements they would like to have. If a SOP has little problems it can be improved. But if it has big problems which are messing with other steps too then you properly need to develop an entire new SOP.

The process of writing an SOP should not be hurried, the more time you take to write it the better it will be. The SOP should be well researched based on the performance of the workers and what works best for them. For better documentation of the SOP, you can ask your workers to writes down about all the problems they have faced previously and in which situation. This way you will know what problems you need to solve.