TOUGH JOB – BEST PRACTICES

Every company claims to use best practices. Our difference is Cullen Process Improvement. What is that? In simple terms, it’s a commitment to delivering value to our clients. Those things that don’t deliver value are by definition a waste – and need to either be improved or eliminated.

MARKET EXPERTS

Infection control. We understand that if there’s a problem, someone’s health could be affected. One speck of dust could harm someone who is immune-compromised. This is why we pay particular attention to construction barriers and containment in a healthcare environment. In the facilities where we work air quality reports consistently improve and infection percentages go down.

Flexibility.  Working standard hours isn’t always possible like it is on other projects, so we are always ready to adapt to changing operations. This often means we have to be ready to stop a portion of work immediately depending on what’s going on in the facility. Electrical shutdowns can’t happen if an emergency patient comes in unexpectedly. The conditions change rapidly in a hospital; sometimes patients who just went through a major procedure may not want to hear construction noise. So we always have a plan B and stay on track by working early mornings, nights, weekends — whenever it makes sense in the environment.

Proactive scheduling and minimizing our footprint. Advance scheduling is critical. Most facilities require 48 to 72 hour notice — but some departments need to know up to two weeks ahead of time to adequately prepare for any shutdowns. All MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) must be planned according to the downstream effects. The conversation always starts early with each department involved. This means every detail is well thought through in advance so all departments are informed and supplies can be stocked. Will there be a gas shutdown? In that case we need to stock oxygen cylinders. In addition, we also need to be acutely aware of the impact our construction work has on the rest of the facility, not just the surrounding departments. For example, an MRI machine on a different floor away from the construction zone could be seriously damaged by a water riser shutdown if critical details were not managed and executed successfully.

Collaborating with the Department of Health Services. During any given construction project there are three DHS inspections: above-ceiling, in-wall and final inspections. We collaborate closely with DHS and are familiar with their expectations, inspection procedures, plan review process, codes and closeout document requirements which results in a seamless work process.

PRE-CONSTRUCTION PLANNERS

Our pre-construction planning services consistently save clients time, money and risk over the life of their projects. How? By preemptively eliminating waste. Our pre-construction planning has several components:

On-site pre-planning. Whether it’s conducting an above ceiling inspection or analyzing patient flow, we’ll find out how site conditions will impact the budget.

Design verification. Verifying that the new design will work in a real-world setting is a tried and true method for heading off problems. To that end we perform a constructability study, during which we’ll propose cost-saving construction alternatives.

Drawing review. We’ll work closely with the architect and engineers to ensure that all drawings are accurate and ready to go out to bid.

Historical comparison. We have a vast database of previous projects we can draw upon to help identify efficiencies and opportunities to save cost.

Client collaboration. We will participate in all design meetings, whether for mechanicals, interior finishes, design or budget. We want to be your eyes and ears at every step to make sure there are no holes or overlaps in the budget.

Involvement with mechanical, engineering, plumbing or fire protection (MEPF) contractors. We’ve found through experience that projects go over budget when the MEPF subcontractors are not involved early enough. Mechanical systems are typically a large part of the budget, so their input on costs is critical to developing an accurate budget. If they are not involved, you are relying on square foot costs that are unverified and vague to guide your decision making. When that happens square foot numbers are used and no one is held accountable for that part of the budget. When that happens square foot numbers are used to build a budget, which can be unclear and unspecific to how the costs were developed. We bring these contractors on board early to ensure the estimate is accurate.

Contractor estimating. We have the ability to prepare a budget book for each phase of the project during design. All books will include items like scope narrative, schedule, budget, etc.. We will work closely with the designer and consultants to review the scope of work to ensure there are no surprises. If there are any scope changes you will be notified immediately.

Work review. We self-perform most types of work, employing in-house experts to crosscheck logistics, budget, and economics. For other types of work we have established relationships with subcontractors in virtually every field.

In-depth site investigations. Site investigations are critical to understanding existing conditions at the facility. They help locate major unknowns and ensure accurate budgeting. Most of our estimators have significant field experience, which means they know what to look for.

True value engineering. Our experts employ True Value Engineering which means they’ll deliver the same results at the same level of quality at a lower cost for all components on your project.

BUDGET STEWARDS

Treat our client’s money like it’s our own. Which means we do it responsibly. It’s ingrained in our culture. We’re always seeking newer ways to improve and provide value by eliminating waste in every process – large or small. We instill these same values in our subcontractors, frequently via film analysis, helping them to streamline their processes, save time and money and improve on-the-job performance.

Accurate conceptual estimating. If you knew ahead of time that the difference between your estimate and your actual cost would only differ by plus or minus 1%, would that reduce the stress of your new project? Our expert estimating teams provide the most accurate conceptual estimating in the industry. We have a vast historical project database from which to pull costings. We base costing on detailed take-off, not just square feet quantities.

STAKEHOLDER ADVOCATES

Viewing projects through the eyes of our owners. We see projects differently than most. We want to be your partner in the process, not just a construction manager or general contractor. When we build a hospital or clinic, we see it through the eyes of staff, doctors, nurses and patients.

What are the end goals? When must the project be completed? Whose schedules do we need to accommodate? What events or processes need to be maintained to minimize disruptions to daily operations? By the start of your project we’ll have a full understanding of your needs, a detailed knowledge of your facility and be ready act on your behalf as the project proceeds.

ACTIVE JOB SITE MANAGERS

Site-specific work schedules. Most tough jobs involve active job sites, which means working around daily operations. We’ll develop a site-specific work schedule and safety plan that takes into account all functionality as well as the ebb and flow of staff, vendors, and operational needs. Each day we’ll update you on any site changes or construction phases, so you can rest easy knowing there won’t be any surprises or added risk.

SCHEDULE GUARDIANS

Set schedules. We stand by our schedules. Often we develop them by working backward from a key date such as a move-in or start date. Along the way every step is scrutinized and verified by our in-house market experts, trusted subcontractors and the project architect. We then compare the schedule with our historical project database to verify it’s correct, efficient and providing the most value for the client.