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Coordinated Construction

 

Planning and logistics are at the foundation of every construction project, but when working on a project in tight, urban spaces, those job characteristics become paramount. Communication and coordination are key to ensuring a successful project when space is limited. As is the case on any project, anticipating issues before they manifest helps the team avoid pitfalls.
Whether that communication is among the project’s contractors, keeping the client informed, or working closely with the city, it becomes one of the most important aspects of a project in an urban location. Overcoming the challenges that stem from the location involves everyone and encourages the crew to think outside the box to come up with new and innovative solutions.

CHALLENGE: Limited Laydown

SOLUTION: As one of the biggest challenges, limited or no laydown adds a significant layer of complexity to a project. On a recent project in downtown Dallas, the MW Builders team was tasked with building a 12-story mid-rise Courtyard by Marriott. With a neighboring building only six inches from the new hotel, the building footprint took up 16,000 SF of the 20,000-SF site. In addition, the site footage that wasn’t taken up by the building were public sidewalks that had to remain open.

With no room for advance deliveries or time for idling delivery vehicles, MW Builders needed to ensure that delivery times were staged to coordinate with what needed to be done and when. The crew created a master schedule that lived in the main conference room for all partners to adhere to. Weekly meetings and daily check-ins to confirm or adjust deliveries helped the partners manage the schedule. MW Builders’ General Superintendent, Benny Byers, noted that setting expectations was essential. “All project partners were aware of the need to adhere to the delivery schedule on this project,” he said. “Making that a priority and very clear from the get-go helped us get into a rhythm pretty quickly.”

The same was true for materials that needed taken off the site. Dirt and spoils excavated from the area were hauled off daily due to no areas to stockpile the excess.

On this particular project, the site could only accommodate one tower crane. As delivery trucks arrived, materials were offloaded on to the crane. Keeping an accurate tab on timing needed for each delivery helped the team establish a detailed schedule that worked for all partners.


CHALLENGE: Neighbors & Pedestrians

SOLUTION: When working in an urban area, increased foot traffic around and near jobsites can be expected. Construction fencing helps keep pedestrians safe and off the jobsite, as well as jobsite materials contained. To help keep sidewalks clear, protective scaffolding can be used. Scaffolding along the building is typically tarped so debris is caught and will not fall onto the street.

For deliveries, the Dallas Courtyard team had to hire an off-duty police officer to help direct traffic. This officer helped ensure the safety of delivery drivers, pedestrians, and other vehicles during the project duration. In addition, allowing for quick drop-offs meant that the overall disruption to traffic was kept at a minimum.
Construction project duration varies, but big projects can end up taking years. That’s a long time to be encroaching on the businesses and buildings surrounding the project. Building solid relationships with jobsite neighbors can make a big difference on how disruptive a job can be perceived as.


CHALLENGE: Security & Safety

SOLUTION: Depending on the project location, it’s possible that there may be a need for security patrol during off-hours. This not only protects the job from vandalism and burglaries, but it also helps ensure someone doesn’t enter the site and hurt themselves. Scaffolding and construction fencing also help ensure the safety of those passing nearby.

There may be an increase in logistics and hurdles when working in urban spaces, but it certainly keeps a project interesting. It also comes along with a number of learning opportunities that will improve how the team approaches the next job.