For over a century the American K-12 public school system has given students vacation time during the warm summer months. While the summer recess may translate into relaxation for students and teachers, facility teams and construction companies are starting their busiest period of the year. Fast-track summer renovations are an efficient and effective way to get facility improvements completed while the buildings remain unoccupied.
The level of preparation can make or break fast-paced school projects. There is virtually no room for error, as a change order could set the whole construction schedule back by weeks. The design drawings must be accurate, budget implications must be considered, and scheduling should be made well in advance. Therefore, schools should begin the procurement process as early as possible and leave as much time for project preparation as they can in order to better ensure a successful project. In fact, more than two-thirds of the project schedule should be dedicated to preparation, as can be seen in the example schedule below. The more time the project team has to prepare, the smoother the construction portion will go.
There are several items that needed to be addressed before the first construction worker can step foot inside the school. Equipment must be ordered weeks ahead of time. Schedules need to be laid out for each subcontractor, including the work that needs to be complete, and the timeframe in which they must complete it. Additionally, the project team needs to be granted as much early access to the building as possible while students were still in school. This allows for the project team to confirm design specifications and uncover any unwelcome surprises early on in the process.
In order to deliver the project on time and on budget, the whole project team has to be on the same page at all times. Often effective communication is the most important factor for a successful project, as a project manager works with each team member on a tight schedule. Communicating urgency to the subcontractors and asking for updates when necessary is crucial for the project manager to successfully complete the job. Without constant communication between the owner, project manager, vendors, and construction subcontractors, the school won’t be finished in time for students.
Additionally, owners must make priorities very clear to project managers at all times. As unexpected events occur on projects, communicating priorities becomes necessary to ensure that the completed project is satisfactory. Being flexible and communicating priorities goes a long way in ensuring that a fast-track project stays on the fast track.
No Change Orders Guarantee
Scheduling a fast-track summer project is the perfect blend of art and science. Timing becomes a crucial component of the project which means that enough time must be scheduled for each item and flexibility is required for unexpected discoveries along the way. Unexpected discoveries create change orders, which create long delays. Therefore, a no change order guarantee is critical to delivering the project on time and with no additional costs to the school. Coordinating the project schedules already in place, project managers and owners have to be willing to rearrange and evaluate their pre-set plans with the project team when unexpected events like this occur.
At the end of the day, the fast-track delivery process comes down to the correct delivery method and the correct team. Finding the right partner will ensure that the work is performed on a faster schedule without any sacrifice in quality. Fast-track construction projects may seem intimidating at first, but with the right team, these projects will truly benefit all school stakeholders.