In the world of consulting, during a normal year, plans can change by the minute. With a worldwide pandemic compounding challenges, plans can often change by the second. In February 2020, Terracon was contracted by KZF Design Inc. to provide roof assessment services including a roof survey, asbestos sampling, mechanical equipment documentation, and an accompanying report of findings for 24 Department of Commissary Agency (DeCA) facilities throughout the United States. Following issuance of the notice to proceed, this project was placed on hold largely due to the safety concerns related to travel and the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. During the following months, communication channels remained open, allowing members of the team to evaluate the ever-changing safety concerns related to executing the project, and in August 2020, the project team decided to proceed with planning site visits.
Pre-task planning, a cornerstone at Terracon, was given first priority throughout this project. Emphasis was placed on reducing travel by coordinating with local offices to enlist qualified staff to perform the roof assessments. Further, team members were provided guidelines to establish best travel practices, including personal protective equipment requirements, communication structure, and debrief protocols.
Given the restrictive nature of these facilities due to numerous locations being on military bases, KZF, DeCA, and Terracon worked together to develop a plan for communication with individual facility personnel, which proved invaluable. While the 24-site portfolio was contracted as a single project, each site was treated as an individual project, allowing communication and execution plans to be customized depending on the facility’s specific requirements and in-place regional travel restrictions. Analysis of potential COVID-19 hot-spots, quarantine requirements, and pre-travel health screenings were necessary for this project to maximize the safety of Terracon’s traveling professionals, as DeCA locations were spread across 17 states and five time zones.
When assessing numerous sites, it was critical that each site was treated specifically while the end-product was delivered with consistency. At the beginning of the project, the project team worked to produce a deliverable that could be applied across sites and provide DeCA uniformity in the delivered product. This up-front planning allowed for minimized revisions as the project reports were completed, allowing the final product to be delivered on time.
Execution is only achievable through proper pre-task planning, which starts with safety at Terracon. Through our in-place processes, we were not only able to deliver a product that met the client’s expectations, but we were most proud of delivering that product safely – which is in large part attributable to our team of experts working diligently to ultimately deliver success throughout the ever-changing project requirements.
Michael Phifer, RBEC manages the facilities engineering group in the Charlotte, North Carolina, office. Michael has spent more than 10 years focusing on evaluation, design, and quality assurance services related to roofing and building enclosures.