One of our projects achieved a significant milestone on Friday, exactly according to plan. Like most of our projects, it’s interesting construction at a unique site, and there’s no similar recent project to guide design and construction.
We learned recently that the shoring design failed to address a subtle but important detail. Once it was identified, though, it didn’t take long for the team to embrace the need for a rapidly field-engineered solution. Thankfully, strong relationships allowed us to add a ringer of a Structural Engineer to round out our already very strong team. They responded to our design requirements with an absolutely gorgeous 2-sheet drawing package in less than 3 days. We could not have met our deadline without their contribution.
Just because the work was installed before the deadline doesn’t mean that everything went smoothly. Atlas still have equipment stuck in Customs Purgatory at the Canadian border. I dearly hope to receive my 25 ton hydraulic ram back. Collaboration within the team, though, went flawlessly. The crew were able to source replacement equipment and keep us on schedule.
The point of this post is not that we made a pair of little gizmos and installed them in the nick of time, or that our clever little solution avoided a 6-month project delay. The takeaway from this project is that we achieved success using the exact same process that we use to succeed on huge projects. This one was just distilled down to a very compressed timeframe and had no schedule allowance for mis-steps. Every element of a big complicated design was executed on this small complicated one, just really fast and with intense coordination.
- The project manager established clear lines of responsibility.
- We wrote up a basis of design and stuck to it.
- We established concise performance expectations.
- We sourced locally available materials.
- We identified a need for and hired specialty expertise.
- The structural engineer adapted the design on the fly, and
- The team assured quality.
The design and execution procedure was exactly identical to one used on a much larger project; we just moved through it in 5 days instead of five months or five years.
I feel grateful to be working with such a competent and diverse team on this large, visible, terrifically interesting project. Our project manager gave us about a week to recover, perform maintenance, etc, and then we tackle the next of the three remaining big problems. With the team we’ve assembled I have no doubt we’ll resolve them all with style and grace.