Chad Czerwinski is a project superintendent who’s been in construction for more than 30 years. His work can be seen throughout the greater Chicago area, from grocery stores to hospitals, mass transit structures to schools.
A carpenter by trade, Czerwinski has seen firsthand the evolution in the tools used on the jobsite. He’s also experienced the way technology has transformed construction, helping field workers maximize their efficiency and accuracy while working.
These are five things Czerwinski can’t go to a jobsite without.
This is probably the first tool people think of when they think of carpenters. “When I was first starting out building, you couldn’t give me a big enough hammer,” Czerwinski said.
Every carpenter needs a quality set of work pouches to wear around their waist on a jobsite, providing them with an assortment of tools at the ready. “Pouches need to not only be able to withstand the often-brutal seasonal changes in the Chicago area, but they need to fit properly,” Czerwinski said. Pouches also must be comfortable; after all, workers like Czerwinski end up wearing them throughout an 8- to 10-hour workday. Having a well-fitting and comfortable pouch helps a builder’s body to withstand such long workdays.
A cat’s paw, also known as a small nail puller, is another essential tool in Czerwinski’s toolkit. “Most of the time, they’re used to fix some of the mistakes we make,” Czerwinski said. “It can also work as a mini pry bar on the other end.” Concrete carpenters are often building temporary structures to pour concrete in until it reaches its strength; they then use tools like this to pull the nails out and take down the structure, only to build another one for another pour the next day.
Czerwinski doesn’t bother trying to carry rolled-up sketches or drawings with him to a jobsite. He has fully embraced construction’s digital revolution, which is why he can’t survive on a job without his tablet loaded up with all the project’s essential documents and reference materials. “I have everything I need right at my fingertips,” Czerwinski said. “And when I use Bluebeam Studio, I have access to every latest revision and RFI.” Czerwinski added that having this kind of technology in the field has cut down on the amount of re-work “tenfold.”
Czerwinski is a big believer in the role morale plays on a jobsite, especially when projects are presented with challenges. “I’d rather have 10 team players than one superstar jerk,” Czerwinski said. This is why Czerwinski’s last, and perhaps most important, item he brings with him to the jobsite is a positive attitude. “Getting everyone to play nice in the sandbox is unfortunately the biggest challenge I have on a jobsite,” Czerwinski said of his role as a superintendent.
“A lot of tools are critical for carpenters, but it’s the intangibles that really take us to the next level,” Czerwinski added.