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Summer Slammer: 4 Reasons to Hire Your Contractor Early
February 18th, 2019
I know it’s the middle of February, but if you need to complete any construction projects on your campus this summer, you should already be planning the work. Summer slammer projects aren’t easy for anyone involved. With so much work to be done in a limited amount of time, these projects are stressful and have big consequences if they’re not finished on time.
Hiring your contractor early can reduce the stress and make the process more enjoyable. If you wait to bid out your project to hire your contractor, you’re essentially eliminating the contractor’s planning phase. Eliminate time for planning and everyone’s job gets harder and more stressful. Yours included.
Here are four ways hiring your contractor early will help you.
1. Use an enabling phase to get a head start.
We like to take advantage of the school’s Spring Break to complete an enabling phase when necessary. This could include site work, utility relocations, tree protection, survey work, investigative field work and measuring, mockups, and much more.
During a project at Lawrence Academy, we used a week during the school’s Spring Break to begin temporary utility relocation work, which had to be done before any other work could begin. This made it possible to start demolition and site work immediately after school got out for the year.
2. Get subs on board early.
We used Lean Construction principles to complete a summer slammer at Fairfield Country Day School in a time frame all of our competitors said could not be met. After hiring key subcontractors early, we held extensive coordination meetings with them to emphasize how quickly their work needed to be done and to finalize sequencing of the work. The subcontractors were able to meet each other, gain each other’s trust and come up with a plan together of how to accomplish the work. This pre-planning eliminated lost time and enabled us to focus on the quality of the work being performed.
3. Order long lead items.
Long lead items can make or break your summer slammer. At Thayer Academy, we spent three days on campus in March taking field measurements for the custom windows and doors. We needed to award this package to the subcontractor early, so they could create shop drawings, get them approved and place the order for the windows and doors weeks in advance, because of the long lead time. Based on the roof structure and the new window design, there was no tolerance for error on the size of the windows.
4. Create mockups.
We also selected a mason for the Fairfield Country Day School project based on how well their mockup matched the historic exterior. This way, the brick for the exterior was already selected when we hired the mason. Having these decisions made in advance enabled us to start work immediately once we were on site without sacrificing quality.
You set the tone for team interactions by the project delivery method you choose. Planning is key to a successful summer slammer, and it’s hard to plan your project before you hire your contractor.