Schedule Control = Safety, Quality, and Production

Last year we focused on all of the difficult decisions and options that go into designing and operating your data center. Now we are going to shift our attention to everything having to do with planning for and building a data center.

Today’s data centers are being built with increasingly accelerated schedules while still expecting the same attention to detail and maintaining the same expectation for excellence. The compressed schedules and increased expectations are taxing on all aspects of the job, especially safety, quality and production. There are several reasons why it may make sense to push for nearly impossible completion dates and exponentially increasing construction costs . Some common reasons seem to be either that the revenue streams and ROI calculations cannot start until the project is completed; or the operations team is in a hurry to justify the capital expenditure they worked so hard for. Whatever the specific reason is, one cannot ignore how the schedule can have adverse effects on the job itself. Safety and costs can suffer due to increased overtime and stacking of trades. OSHA violations and high jobsite incident rate can reflect poorly on both the construction team and the owner of the data center. Misses in the design leading to stacks of RFIs, failed acceptance tests and rework can drive the costs sky-high. Lack of planning time, an overworked workforce and the need to cut corners as the only way to meet the schedule will surely have an impact on the quality of the job as well as the safety. All of these put together tend to leave the owner with a hefty bill, bad relationships and a substandard product. So, the challenge then becomes, “How do you build fast without compromising Safety, Quality and Production ?”

Answer: “Schedule Control”

A properly maintained, executed and controlled schedule sets the tone for the entire job. It must begin at the concept for the new data center and continue throughout the entire construction process until the keys are handed over to the owner. Schedule control allows the owner’s team to be completely synced with the construction team and ultimately drives a high level of S-Q-P by allowing for increased coordination, which leads to the prevention of trade stacking and last minute tasks. It gives ample time for safety analysis and proper task preparation, thus reducing OSHA violations overall RIR. Schedule control begins by establishing realistic duration’s for architectural and engineering design time in order to provide complete design documents the first time. Spending a little extra time on the design side can save money and time by minimizing scope gaps, RFIs and reducing coordination issues during construction. The next step is to utilize the experience of the major subcontractors to come up with an aggressive but buildable construction schedules. Allowing the major subcontractors have some control over the schedule gives the team a much deeper understanding of job progress and creates a platform better suited for change management, reducing changes due to re-design or re-work. The last major piece of the schedule is quality assurance and quality control. QA/QC can be enforced throughout the job if directly related or incorporated into a overall project schedule from the beginning. A smooth transition from installation to turnover through the proper execution of QA/QC is essential for finishing a project on-time and free of defects/errors. Ensuring that the team stays on schedule requires great effort from all members of the team to hold each other accountable for major milestones as well as mapping out the road to get there from the beginning. There will always be issues that pop up and require the team to make changes on the fly, but a well controlled schedule and a team with a firm grasp on the entire project will allow for all parties to arrive at the most effective solution in a timely manner. Properly controlling a schedule effectively communicates the plan to all parties involved and ultimately allows for on-time and in sequence execution!

You don’t have to compromise Safety, Quality and Productivity for speed. Place a strong emphasis on schedule control and then execute. Plan your work and then work your plan!

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About Matt Rothwell


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Matt Rothwell manages the Critical Systems group at McKenney’s, which specializes in data center projects ranging in size and complexity with a focus on renovations, expansions, and greenfield projects. Matt, a graduate of Georgia Tech and former McKenney's co-op, works with his team to cultivate existing and new relationships through the development and implementation of energy savings strategies.

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