Merchandising, shopper marketing strategy, consumer promotions, and operational projections are a few of many factors tied into retail construction timelines that can seem ambitious. Considering all factors weighing in, these timelines are actually pretty justified—however somewhat challenging for a construction manager. How does a successful PM meet these goals without pulling all their hair out?
I spoke with one of JH Greene’s site superintendents to learn about some specific triumphs of a completed Barbour store in Ardmore, PA. The timeline of the project was quick, but reasonable—and slated for a grand opening date that in total allowed a four-week construction timeline for an interior fit-out project.
Schedule efficiency, according to the books, is accomplished by having a proportionate schedule performance index (a somewhat balanced earned value to planned value—in other words, actual days completed to planned completion days). On paper, that’s easy enough. However, according to Matt Knight, a construction leadership speaker, approximately 60% of construction projects come in over budget or behind schedule. Given all the moving parts and potential for changing plans, removing complication is a key goal. This can be done through a few methods that proved successful in the Barbour store project.
I like the way Ron Roberts of Construction Pros framed up the concept of office and field collaboration, as it’s exactly what our team encountered on the project that helped us gain an edge: “One of the most common errors contractors make is to severely under-estimate the impact front office effectiveness has on field productivity. Delayed task completion by the front office magnifies itself in the field…For every clock hour lost in the field due to inefficiency, the cost is magnified by two, three, up to seven man-hours depending on the trade.”
With the need for both parties to be in-tune with a comprehensive plan, our team was able to tap into some great technologies to streamline communication and complex details. With this, each day on site had a clear plan and punch list that we accomplished without roadblocks. As well as a clear day-to-day plan, our team constructed a precise long-term plan to ensure necessary resources will be available without delay. I’ve learned that the norm is to have a long-term goal in place, but no short-term agenda. Through involving both long and short term strategies, we were able to tackle the project with a wide-span view of what needed to be accomplished.
Our office team weighed the cost implications of any interruptions and prepared for setbacks within an allowance for each scenario. Some major areas factored in involved materials procurement, corporate compliance/adhering to established grand opening date, and of course budgetary constraints. Our consideration for outside forces interrupting progress showed an attention to risk management that involved a solution for daily issues that don’t typically have an action plan.
From each stage of the project, whether conceptual or execution, our team was able to provide a comprehensive view implemented with clear communication that ultimately led to a smooth and timely finish. No plan can run 100% perfectly, but with more provisions for potential scenarios comes more swiftly handled issues.