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After tuition and philanthropy, sports represent the third leading revenue stream for most universities and private secondary schools across the United States. This funding comes not only from ticket sales, but also from the fees and dues generated from intercollegiate, intermural and community league organizations. In consideration of the changing dynamics between schools and the communities in which they reside, engaging local stakeholders through sports has become an increasingly effective way to integrate an institution into the local fabric, while generating additional capital for other uses.
OCMI works with owners, architects, engineers and contractors as a truly collaborative project partner to inform planning decisions. We analyze upfront capital investments and contextualize the data against estimated maintenance costs, anticipated revenue streams, and relative user experiences.
Case Study: Turf vs. Sod
Serving as the Owner’s Representative and working with the design-build team, OCMI studied the feasibility of renovating a school’s existing athletic fields to bring on new uses and get the complex up to ADA compliance. The existing facilities had fallen into disrepair, with complicated soil conditions leading to far-below acceptable field conditions. Initial budgets precluded the installation of an artificial turf football/soccer field, as the upfront costs exceeded the approved budget.
In response to the project realities, OCMI first developed a survey to quantify and understand non-student (staff, teachers, community members) interest in the athletic facilities, identifying the current challenges perceived by all stakeholders. From that survey, it became clear that a key need for non-student stakeholders was the incorporation of an artificial turf field (versus natural grass).
From there, OCMI studied and quantified both the upfront and long-term costs of a natural grass field and an artificial turf field. Our findings revealed that while in this case installation of an artificial turf field would cost roughly 150% more than natural grass, the 20-year maintenance costs of natural grass was nearly 250% that of artificial turf.
Presented with these long-term costs, the OCMI team sought to understand the relative differences in potential revenue streams from non-student users. Again, our findings revealed a substantial advantage to artificial turf. Adjusted for declines during winter months, we found that the artificial turf could be rented an additional nine (9) hours per week versus grass, and at a higher hourly rate ($100/hour versus $70/hour).
Combining these results revealed an optimistic cost-to-revenue break-even point of eight (8) years for artificial turf, whereas a natural grass field would experience continually rising maintenance costs and unlikely generate sufficient revenue to cover those costs.
OCMI’s study ultimately outlined a wider array of community engagement and capital investment options for our education client, allowing the school and the design team to make better informed decisions about the future of the school’s athletics facilities.
On nearly all OCMI construction projects, our schedulers, project managers, and others routinely engage in Pull Planning sessions to improve a project’s schedule, avoid rework, and foresee potential issues or constraints early on. Pull Planning is a collective process that ultimately delivers a better project and cultivates a stronger team environment.
Why use Pull Planning?
• Brainstorming with the entire project team to look ahead (typically 4-6 weeks ahead of schedule) helps everyone understand the project in a more holistic manner
• Identifying potential areas where trades overlap and must coordinate to reduce the risk of productivity claims
• Finding areas where multiple crews would be required to meet scheduling goals
• Analyzing activity durations and sequences to ensure that the team hits project milestones
• Promoting stronger communication among all team players, particularly the subcontractors, fosters teamwork, giving subcontractors ownership and accountability for their scope
• Helping all project players understand each other’s scope ensures that work is reduced and overlapping activities eliminated
The Pull Planning Process
Developing a Pull Planning process varies by project and team, and generally includes participants from the general contractor and subcontractor trades, in addition to other technical subject matter experts, like OCMI’s schedulers. For a $100-million-plus confidential data center project, the Pull Planning process that OCMI adheres to entails these activities:
Preparing for the Pull Planning Session
1. OCMI provides the project team members with the baseline schedule with durations and milestones one (1) month before the construction start date.
2. Before attending the Pull Planning session, every subcontractor understands their scope of work and comes up with a feasible duration for performing respective activities.
3. OCMI coordinates a “kick-off” session.
4. Participants use “sticky notes” with different colors for each subcontractor; each note is filled with the name of the subcontractor, activity scope, and activity duration.
5. Using the notes, the team fills up the wall board with “Week Starting” to “Week Ending” in a matrix, along with an “area” of the project, such as a floor number, cooling tower, etc.
6. Ongoing activities are positioned like a square, and “start” and “end” activities are positioned like a rhombus, so that the team can easily discern between the two types.
7. Subcontractors perform this activity for four (4) consecutive weeks.
Conducting the Pull Planning Session
1. The contractor’s superintendent then leads the Pull Planning session, brainstorming with the project team on each scope of work, scope durations, and predecessor and successor scopes, to make sure that all subcontractors have the material and man power, as needed, as well as discuss any possible risk to the project’s schedule.
2. This process is repeated on a weekly basis, so that the entire team reviews the progress of the present week and prepares for upcoming work using the four-week look ahead schedule, created by OCMI.
3. After reviewing the present week’s progress, that week’s wall board is cleared and moved to the end, which is then filled with the fifth week’s look ahead activities; the entire time line of boards is then progressed accordingly with second becoming the first, and so on.
4. OCMI’s schedulers maintain a record of the project’s tasks by continuously updating our CPM schedule in Primavera P6. We utilize this schedule to reference and double check work scope against the latest Pull Planning session activities.
Lessons Learned & Best Practices
While the first few weeks of a Pull Planning session are comprehensive and time consuming, the process becomes more routine and focused over time, as the team becomes more integrated and familiar with the project’s scope and activity durations.
The Pull Planning sessions afford every project stakeholder the opportunity to receive clarifications, ask questions, and identify potential risks to the project - all aimed at ensuring a safe job site and a project completed on time or, even better, ahead of schedule.
With dedicated construction schedulers on-site at mission-critical data centers throughout the Omaha, Nebraska metropolitan area – one of the leading markets for the construction of the nation’s most popular technology companies – OCMI leaves no room for error, meeting tight schedules, and delivering innovative, smart solutions.
Scheduling $4 Billion of Mission Critical Data Center Projects
Since 2013, OCMI teams have worked closely with selected General Contractors on nearly $4 billion of construction of mission-critical data centers in and around Omaha. To date, these projects have encompassed more than 25 acres of land.
To meet the daily demands of these time-sensitive and coordination-intensive projects, OCMI’s team:
- Manages and delivers on-site project controls that encompass schedule and cost management
- Provides project planning and program master planning
- Offers schedule and time impact analysis
In addition, the OCMI team interacts with the client and between 30 and 35 contractors, sub-contractors, and other vendors, totaling between 3,800 and 4,000 personnel. Notable contractors include Whiting-Turner and JE Dunn Construction.
More than Just Scheduling
What OCMI’s teams produce is more than just a schedule in P6. There is an art to distilling information to help our clients understand project complexities and ease their decision-making processes.
We are rooted in the ongoing planning and constructing of these facilities. We bring our understanding of the key demographics and resource constraints of the local contractor and construction markets. As these are the largest construction projects in the area, we offer unique insight into identifying and analyzing the availability of contractor resources on any project type.
Our teams collect and share this information so that on each of our projects and deliverables we promote solutions that streamline and improve the construction process.
Where Time & Costs Intersect
Our teams are on the ground, working directly with general contractors, sub-contractors, vendors, in addition to architects, engineers, and other professionals. They are continuously receiving up-to-date construction data on labor, materials, and other costs.
This is the science of delivering construction scheduling, the place where time and costs intersect. With this information, we develop and document our understanding of the existing markets and expectations at the time of the project’s bid through construction. OCMI’s team of expert estimators and schedulers then utilize this data to inform our cost and schedule control deliverables.
Together, OCMI’s estimators and schedulers continually look for ways to ensure the project is delivered on time, on budget, and at or above quality benchmarks.