At the start of a new project, some builders give the jobsite superintendent access to office supplies from the main office for the construction trailer…or ask the superintendent to buy the necessary supplies and then get reimbursed.

Other builders might have an account at a local office supply store, at which the superintendent can purchase these supplies and charge the purchase to the builder.

Another option is to order office supplies online and have them delivered to the construction office trailer.

The problem to avoid here is a “reinvent the wheel”…individualized approach for every new housing construction project.  The builder should have a standardized list of the minimum items needed in the field to equip and supply the field office.

A suggestion I offer here is for the main office to assemble the package of varied supplies needed…boxed-up and labeled according to a standardized list…and order the equipment and furniture…all ready for use soon after the construction trailer is delivered and set-up on the jobsite.

This approach eliminates the possibility that some superintendents will under-supply the construction trailer because of an inadequate list…or the mindset that economizing in this area will be favorably looked upon by their supervisors…that getting by with less is commendable.

Another suggestion is to assign someone from the main office who is an expert in organizing the filing system and the file cabinet…to come out to the jobsite during the construction trailer set-up phase…to get this area of field operations up and running smoothly from day one.  This should be a non-negotiable, required company activity…using the same repeat office person performing this activity…with interim feedback and project close-out evaluation to improve this important field information management function.

A minimum list of office supplies, stationary, and equipment might include:

ball point pens                         mechanical pencils & lead                   scratch pads 8-1/2×11

scratch pads legal size             colored highlighters                            colored pencils

paper clips                               correction tape                                                fluid white-out

pin pins                                    pencils                                                 transparent tape holder

transparent tape                       erasers                                                 adhesive stick-on notes

file folders                               file labels                                             stapler & staples

architectural scale                    engineering scale                                 drafting triangles & templates

plans holders                           key rings                                              key box

keyed padlocks                       calendars                                             business card holders

business cards                         scissors                                                paper hole punch

spray paint                               upside-down spray paint                     trash cans & bags

paper towels                            first-aid kit                                          fire extinguisher

water dispenser                       coffee machine                                   copy paper standard

copy paper legal                      copy paper 11×17                                copy machine toner

computer laptop                      11×17 printer                                       fax machine

land-line telephone with conference call capacity                              safety books

building code books