This week and the preceding week primarily revolved around a reacquainting myself with project developments in my absence and preparing for a pre-construction meeting for the Day Care Facility Renovation project on January 23. In preparation for the pre-construction meeting, I called the General Contractor, the Fire Sprinkler System Contractor, and the owner to arrange a time which would work for all parties. The owner was only available on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and given my schedule with school it was deemed that Wednesday morning would be most appropriate. The day before the meeting, I prepared notes for myself regarding topics to cover with all parties present and created a sign-up document, as well as making sure I had all of the most recent plan pages together in one set. The morning of the meeting I arrived early and spoke with the owner, then greeted the representatives from the GC and the Sprinkler Contractor as they arrived at the building. We went into an unused room with a table and chairs, signed the sign-up sheet with name and contact information, then proceeded to discuss the topics which I had written down in preparation for the meeting. These topics and the appropriate response are as follows:
_- This project took an inexplicably long time to clear the planning and inspections department in the city, so this note just covers a general apology and explanation of the delays involved in that process.
_- Because the permits were not approved by the city until more than 60 days after the bid date, the subcontractors were no longer legally bound to their prices. The electrical subcontractor's price increased $6,000 (from an original bid number of $14,000). This was left unexplained and was too radical a change to be attributed to material price fluctuation, so the GC decided (and rightfully so) to speak with other electrical subcontractors about pricing this job. During the meeting we were told that they would have prices from two other electrical subcontractors by the end of the next day.
Coordination between GC and Sprinkler Contractor
_- Because the owner on this project was trying to accomplish a lot on a shoestring budget, we decided to bid the sprinkler system (> 50% of the total project cost) separately from the rest of the renovation project. We feel that saved the owner a fair amount of money in eliminating a markup from the GC, but this means that the GC and the Sprinkler Contractor will need to coordinate without the Sprinkler Contractor being under the GC's contract with the owner. Coordination had been touched on in phone calls before this meeting, but having all parties present (including the owner, who is operating a day care facility in part of the building) was an essential part of this meeting. The representatives from the GC and Sprinkler Contractor were able to hash out what their level of time involvement would be in each quadrant of the building and determine with the help of the owner what the best schedule would be moving forward.
Brief Project Description
This project is a renovation of a metal building erected in the early 1990s in Fayetteville, NC. This building is composed of four separate units, two each on two levels. The downstairs contains a child care facility and a newly vacant space which used to house offices for a home-care business. The upstairs contains a therapy center for developmentally handicapped children on one side and an apartment on the other. The premise of the project is combining the two sides of the building downstairs into one larger childcare facility. Because the building is 3/4 occupied, there will be some inherent "shuffling around" of the businesses in these spaces while the renovations occur. Because each unit is separated by a firewall and uses a separate HVAC system, this should not present too much of a problem. It was, however, very important to discuss "order-of-operations" with the owner, GC, and Sprinkler Contractor present so that all parties would be on the same page.
Decorum on site
_- The next thing we discussed was decorum - a point that always comes up in pre-construction meetings, but one that is particularly important in this case, as there will be young children present on site. Representatives from the GC and Sprinkler Contractor were told that their workers on site follow the rules below:
--- Wear plain clothing with no profanity, inappropriate images, etc.
--- Absolutely no fraternization with children or employees on site.
--- No alcohol, tobacco, or drugs whatsoever on the site.
--- Keep messes contained and clean up immediately when work in an area is finished for the day, particularly in the apartment.
--- There are to be no felons among the workers for GC or subcontractors whatsoever. Not worth the risk on this project.
_- Because the facility's existing single-access paved lot will need to be cut just about down the middle for the installation of the new pipe for the sprinkler system. This means that parking will be tight during construction. As such, we ruled that there are to be no construction-related vehicles parked in the facility's paved lot. Luckily, the existing building is located on a large site, so space will not be an issue. It was determined that building staff would circle around the back of the building (grass/dirt) and park on the grass facing the paved lot. Construction vehicles will park behind the building in an open dirt area. This will free up 100% of the facility's paved surface parking for patrons of its businesses and the upstairs apartment tenant. Even with the reduction in available parking because of the required underground work, this remaining surface parking should be sufficient.
_- At the time of this pre-construction meeting, the required supplies for the sprinkler system were already purchased and stored in a metal shipping container on-site at the rear of the building in an open dirt area. Any additional required material storage should be in the immediate vicinity of this container. This open dirt area at the back of the site is the same area where construction vehicle parking is set to be. Space should not be an issue.
_- Each of the four units in this building have a separate HVAC system, so environmental contamination should not be a difficult issue to solve. The contractors have been instructed to cover any openings between units with sheet plastic, and to turn the HVAC system in the unit they are working in off completely while cutting drywall or otherwise creating dust. They have also been instructed to place an additional filter over any return air duct for the duration of construction. Any mess from dust is to be cleaned up at the end of the work day.
General safety and insurance
All OSHA and State regulations are to be followed in the execution of the work. Before work is started, both the GC and the Sprinkler Contractor are to submit documentation of their Liability Insurance and Worker's Comp.
Interruption of work
It will be beneficial to all parties involved if work is scheduled in such a way that it is continuous from start to finish. That is, no delays for materials, subcontractors, waiting for another party to finish work etc. After discussing coordination, we do not expect this to be an issue.
This topic was the lengthiest discussion at the meeting, and perhaps the most important as well. The owner, the General Contractor, and the Sprinkler contractor participated in a discussion involving their needs in terms of time and space for the project. Based on this discussion, we are scheduling construction so that it has minimal impact on the building owner's operations. As a part of this, the contractors will be required to give at least 48hrs notice to the owner when they are close to completing one quadrant of the building and preparing to move on to the next.
Regular meetings and site visits
_- It was decided that the day of the month and time used for the pre-construction meeting would be acceptable to all parties for use in subsequent progress meetings. This means that progress meetings will be held on the third Wednesday of the month at 10:00am. Site visits will occur at random based on updates from the contractor about current operations. The MEP Engineer will also be making site visits to check on the installation of the sprinkler system.
_- Only two small issues were raised during a walkaround of the site at the close of the meeting. First, we instructed the sprinkler contractor to tell his underground subcontractor that he should extend his cut through the parking lot asphalt one foot laterally beyond where it is marked to coincide with an existing asphalt change from where the parking lot was previously extended. This should help with a cleaner appearance. Secondly, we asked the general contractor to reattach a loose piece of metal siding at the side of the building at some point during construction work. The general contractor agreed to take care of this issue.
Overall I feel that the meeting went quite well and accomplished what it needed to in terms of getting the owner, architect, general contractor and sprinkler contractor on the same page in terms of scheduling and procedure.