How to Handle Jobsite Mistakes

The fact of the matter is that you will be working with other people when building your home and some of those people will make mistakes, and so will you. That’s okay, and should be expected. There are some basic steps you’ll need to take in order to get things back on track and running smoothly again. The first key is to stay calm and not let the mistake snowball into something worse, especially when it really doesn’t need to. The list below of ways to manage mistakes on the job site is taken from the upcoming Be Your Own Contractor Training course. Although each person handles issues and mistakes differently, this list is a great starting point.


1. The big picture. Never lose track of the bigger picture of the project. Remember that the overall project is bigger than any one mistake. It can absorb some loss in efficiency as long as you are on task to fix that inefficiency and are willing to learn from your mistake or the mistakes of others.

2. Team effort. Building a house takes a team. It is very difficult to do on your own. In fact, I would not recommend that you attempt to build a house on your own. Why put yourself through that kind of stress? Work with a team and support each other in the process. If and when one of you make a mistake, get support from the rest of the team and share the experience with everyone. You will all learn something from the process. I have seen in my life that it is extremely rare that a situation that offers learning to one person doesn’t offer some type of learning to everyone in contact with it. It may come from a different place, but sharing that opportunity will improve the job site and your relationships with those around you.

3. You’re in it together. As noted above with the concept of team building, your team members will all be in the same boat together. This means that if a subcontractor makes a mistake, it might affect the next subcontractor on site. Discussing and sharing the mistake will help the boat sail more smoothly. You may even discover a better solution from the collective thought process.

4. Address the situation right away. Don’t fester on things. Don’t get frustrated and down because something went “wrong.” Instead, know that you can fix any problem that is in front of you. This is always true. If you remember that then it will be easier for you to move quickly out of the slump and into the solution.

5. Stay positive. You can always learn something from your mistakes or the mistakes of others if you are willing to look at the situation from a place of calm. Stay positive and trust that you can handle any problem that presents itself. This is a life lesson, by the way, not just something for construction.

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