As a civil engineer I’ve been going on construction sites for more than 6 years now. At this point it feels natural to me and I know exactly how to behave to manage a site. But let me tell you that is definitely not how I felt the first few years. I was intimidated, nervous, and had no confidence when I walked into a construction site.

From my own experience, here are 5 extremest useful tips for anyone who just started doing site visits:

1. Being prepared will save you

Before you enter a site you need to know what to look for when you get there. Who will be working there? What drawings do you need? What documents do you need? Your iPhone or iPad will be your best friend. Write a list of items to be done once you get on site because the environment is busy and you need to be prepared. There is basically no time for finding documents and searching for drawings. Have it all prepared.

2. Have a little over the shoulder bag with you

Most men who go on site put their pens and measuring tape in their many big jean pockets or they hook things on their belts. Women jeans and shirts usually don’t have many pockets. Or if they do they’re so small. I used to find myself constantly looking for a measuring tape or a pen or a note pad to sketch something. And that can get frustrating when you’re having a site meeting (which is usually fast paced). My bag has: my measuring tape, sharpie (to write stuff on the walls on site), little note pad, and phone.

3. If it’s being done wrong, stop, and speak up

On a construction site things are happening a lot quicker. As an engineer or project manager, if you see something is being done wrong or unsafely, you have to speak up. I know this can be challenging because it’s frustrating for everyone when work is paused or changed. But it’s always better to catch a problem earlier than later.

4. Document everything

Usually people on site are very visual. You have to write things on the walls or write notes on drawings. If you verbally say something, chances are it will be forgotten. Always have a hard copy proof of what you told someone to do. This will save you in so many ways down the line.

5. Ladies, take your wipes with you

As we all know, portable toilets are the way to go on a construction site. And most of the time it’s unisex meaning there is no separate one for men and women. This is where your wipes will come in so handy! Usually there’s only toilet paper (not the nice soft ones may I add) and soap in there. So having one of those small travel size wet wipes in your shoulder bag is key!

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