In late 2018, Holladay Construction Group was brought in to the Burlington Station project, an 89-unit luxury apartment complex located at 5100 Forest Avenue in Downers Grove, IL, when the owner was struggling with its General Contractor, based in the Chicago area. When the Holladay Construction team, led by Project Manager Scott Brown, got involved, the project was six months behind schedule and concerns over schedule and budget were mounting every day.
The project was in the final stages of construction with a number of loose ends and incomplete work activities. The contractors were running a marathon without a finish line and had lost any sense of urgency due to lack of guidance from the Superintendent and Project Manager. The entire crew needed someone to step in and challenge them, both from the field and their offices. We implemented daily communication with the field and reiterated the discussion with their offices, which allowed the two entities that had been running separately, to align and begin to gain traction, and that meant completing critical activities.
We created lists of critical activities and implemented a plan to complete life safety inspections. One critical activity was that a backup generator was required at the project, to provide power to the fire suppression pump in the event of a power loss, but the generator that was installed was not powerful enough to run the fire pump. Without the generator providing power, the Village of Downers Grove would not have allowed the Owner to use the building for its intended purpose. We needed a bigger generator, and we needed quickly. Normally this critical piece of equipment takes 8 to 12 weeks to build. We were able to identify a vendor that would accept the challenge to custom build a generator to our exact specifications in just 10 days.
While the generator was being built, and before it was delivered to the project, we had to shutdown power to the entire building because the team needed to upsize the cables from the pad mounted transformer to the fire pump, and from the generator to the controller, which was changed to a soft start controller. This required hour by hour coordination with the electrical contractor, the local utility company, and the Village Inspector. This activity alone would normally take weeks, but we were able to execute this in a normal work day. The generator was delivered on the following Monday and the building received its Certificate of Occupancy on Thursday, after passing the fire pump acceptance test.
The HCG team was able to do all of this with a detailed schedule identifying all critical activities and the parties involved. We over-communicated and enforced the plan with the General Contractor and their subcontractors via email and phone calls. We would update the schedule every day and send it out the trades. This showed the crew that we were actively watching the progress and illustrated when we would be ready for the next contractor to step up and complete the next critical activity.
The key to all of this success was identifying the critical items, implementing a plan, building a schedule, communicating the plan and schedule, and quite a bit of hard work. None of this would have been possible without communication and commitments from all of the subcontractors.
This project truly represents Holladay Construction Group’s motto of “Creating Solutions…Building Relationships through managing: safety, budget, schedule and risk; by implementing checks, balances, and follow up!”