Construction supervision: something to think highly of

Currently, nothing forbids commissioners from assigning construction supervision to a helper of their choice, or even from giving up on this task altogether. With the illusion of do-it-yourself savings.

Let us start by stating an important point: the construction supervisor must not be confused with the work-site’s director who is in charge of overseeing and organizing the various site activities and who has been engaged by a construction firm. Construction supervision is something much more articulated and complex, given the fact that it actually entails the management of the entire range that goes from planning to execution to the final cleanup.

The supervisor takes action so that construction is carried out according to the project that has been approved by both the commissioner and the authorities and according to the costs put forth on the estimate that has been elaborated during the executive project stage. S/he verifies: how the work is coming along, the adherence to a schedule, the work’s quality and the need for any improvements. S/he, however, cannot provide certainty of these aspects unless the various stages have been impeccably carried out and unless s/he is capable of handling unforeseen circumstances. Appointed by the commissioner, the work supervisor must possess experience, mediation skills as regards the executors, planners and all institutions concerned, as well as formidable problem-solving skills, bringing together significant creative and technical abilities especially in those instances where the unexpected comes up.

atelier ribo+’s Salvatore Scavelli has been handling construction supervision for the past three years and he knows quite well what the advantages of being a collaborator of the planner him/herself are. To check on the work’s correct execution and to make sure that the project is being adhered to, with all the previous stages having been taken care of by the same firm, makes progress simpler, more secure and more rapid and it improves overall quality.

“I have breathed construction-site air since I was a child,” Scavelli says, “I and have always felt an affinity with this type of work, complicated in many ways but very gratifying if executed with passion, dedication and professionality.”

The difficulties encountered during the work’s progress are many and different (difficulties in the execution, complex communication with the executors, unforeseen circumstances, optimization of the executors’ organization, etc.). It is therefore important for the presence of the work’s supervisor to be felt on a daily basis thanks to planned inspections and weekly meetings involving the planners, the construction supervisor, the site’s director and executors, so as to best face unexpected events and so as to check on the work quality.

“Our firm’s philosophy,” Scavelli goes on to say, “is to collaborate to the best of our abilities and to be always available; this approach does certainly facilitate my activities inasmuch as it makes easier the rapport with all the other participants who are part of the project’s materialization and inasmuch as it facilitates the solution of issues that can be intricate, abiding by a schedule (and schedules are getting tighter by the year), and especially working professionally and ethically, since I also have to take care of contractual, safety and social aspects.”

Construction supervision by a firm is an added value that is not sufficiently understood or sufficiently clear. The construction supervisor needs to be professionally held in high esteem and his/her importance needs to be recognized because s/he is a strategic ally that guarantees the perfect materialization of the project without unpleasant surprises.