A formal construction mitigation effort is a fairly new approach to an old-standing problem of proactively managing Community concerns with ongoing construction projects. PCM has managed construction mitigation efforts since 2004. We work with our clients to develop a proactive plan of construction mitigation that optimizes the competing concerns of the impact of construction on the daily workings of the surrounding community with an efficient and cost-effective approach to the construction project. Some of the areas touched on in our construction mitigation management efforts include:
Every construction project is unique and every community in which the project takes place is unique so there is no one size fits all approach to construction mitigation. There is, however, a standard process we follow in developing a construction mitigation management plan. A good plan includes the following elements – Early Planning, Regular Monitoring & Reporting, Communications and Problem Solving Process, and Enforcement Management.
We work with our clients to start the dialogue between the community and the project stakeholders early in the development process. This is an important first step to being successful in the construction mitigation efforts. Hours of work, pedestrian and vehicular traffic patterns, parking impacts, are just some of the issues that need to be discussed early so that all parties have an understanding of the impacts the construction will have on them. Both sides need to clearly understand the issues and priority concerns along with what can be done to mitigate those concerns. All resolutions should be addressed directly in a written plan and communicated widely to affected members of the community and all project stakeholders. This construction mitigation plan then needs to become part of the project documentation.
With the construction mitigation plan in place regular monitoring of compliance and reporting of findings needs to occur. On larger projects we establish a call center as an efficient way to centrally manage all of the communications, monitoring and reporting activity. Monitoring of the work involves a daily walk-thru of the site along with observation of monitoring instrumentation for environmental conditions such as vibration, dust and air pollution. A regular reporting mechanism with all affected parties is established, whether that be meetings, web-site updates or e-mail notifications. Additionally, reporting standards are developed to what is a reportable event.
Even with perfect planning, communication and problem-solving in the field will need to be accomplished regularly. We bridge between the community and the contractors to develop effective communication protocols around the mitigation efforts. At times the mitigation staff will be working with the project contractors to suggest approaches to the work that will prevent complaints and at other times the mitigation staff will be responding to the community complaints. When a complaint is received it needs to be documented and responded to in a timely and effective way. Being conscientious in responding to complaints is essential to making the construction mitigation efforts a success.
The construction mitigation plan needs to include consequences for violating the terms of the agreement. We work with our clients to determine the best approach to enforcement of the plan. Typically, the enforcement process goes through stages of notification, written warning, monetary fine and contract termination.
This old adage is an apt description of the situation in deferred maintenance for many building owners. Routine maintenance often gets shortchanged as budgeted money for system repairs are allocated to higher priority items in the budget. When this happens on a recurring basis, the results can be overwhelming. What should be routine maintenance becomes deferred and what should be a simple repair results in an emergency situation at a higher cost. In many cases this occurs because building owners just do not know the extent of their deferred maintenance problem- how many facilities are in poor condition, is there a single building system at greater risk than others, what is the dollar value of the needed repairs. We can assist in answering these questions and provide you with the means to justify and methodically invest in your facilities by accomplishing a deferred maintenance assessment of your facilities. Similar to our other services, we customize our approach to the client in order to accomplish a deferred maintenance assessment. The basic steps we take in customizing each assessment are as follows: Initial Strategy, Assessment Design, Data Collection & Analysis, and Investment Plan & Implementation Strategy.
At this stage we work closely with our client to determine the appropriate criteria of the assessment. There are varying levels of assessment detail that need to be considered and many questions to be answered. Are all systems and building components to be assessed? Is every facility to be included in the assessment? What are the final reporting requirements? Are just deferred maintenance items to be collected or are adaptive reuse and capital improvement items also to be considered. What is the desired schedule for completing the assessment? What are the desired reporting requirements?
Based on the criteria established with the client in the Initial Strategy phase, an audit team will be assembled and the assessment tool will be designed for the survey. The assessment tool is a set of goals, objectives, and methodologies to be followed in accomplishing the assessment. It is developed into forms used by the audit team to collect the building data. It is at this critical stage that the assessment team will standardize what they will look for, how they will collect the data, and how they will prioritize and report the building conditions. The criteria and format for cost estimating of the corrections is also established at this stage so that the inspectors will know what to look for in order to provide proper feedback to the cost estimators.
This is the phase where the actual work in the field begins. The audit team will make their field observations, note the deficiencies, report any emergency situations they come across and complete their inspection reports on each building system, evaluating condition and functional suitability of each facility. Preliminary data will be reviewed for the cost estimating effort and the final data reporting requirements. Each day a quality assurance discussion is performed with the survey teams and a review of the data collected is accomplished. Once a good sampling of the facilities data is collected, we begin to accomplish some analysis of the findings and meet with the client to review the preliminary results. This preliminary analysis is used to calibrate the audit team, provide preliminary information for the cost estimate, and measure some findings against industry established benchmarks.
The result of all the survey effort is to establish reliable information on the condition of facilities so that informed and supportable decisions on facilities investment can be made. The Facilities Condition Index (FCI) developed at the end of the assessment can be used to measure against industry benchmarks, and provide data back-up to support the level of funding needed to bring the facilities into an acceptable standard of repair. The facilities data collected in the assessment can establish a methodology for funding investment in facilities maintenance in the future. In a database format, management and manipulation of the information is easily accomplished. This allows for running the “what if scenarios” on the data to facilitate for proper planning of alternatives, the implementation of corrective action, and the development of financial models of investment. With the proper investment in facilities, which because of the assessment can now be supported by real data, operational disruption and high cost of emergency repair and the potential income lost due to poorly maintained and aesthetically unpleasing facilities can be avoided. All of these benefits truly provide a direct return on the investment in accomplishing the deferred maintenance assessment survey.