For the past 8 years McKenney’s Building Performance Team has been working with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and their project teams at Ft. Benning. Together we’ve been working on the renovation of their basic training barracks. These barracks, referred to as “Starships”, are large 250,000+ sq. ft. facilities used for the housing and training of incoming new troops during basic training. Each Starship can house a battalion, over 1,000 troops, during times of peak occupancy. The goal of these renovations is to supply our men and women of the military with quality living quarters during their time spent serving our country, while also cutting energy usage by a minimum of 30% across the board. The latest Starship project will be McKenney’s tenth Starship barracks project. It is not often in our industry when you have the opportunity to build the same project multiple times, and our team is continuing to make the most of these opportunities.
Partnering with the project design teams, McKenney’s has recently completed the latest iteration of design for these facilities. With each iteration our teams continue to find innovative ways to meet the needs of the soldiers, reduce energy consumption, and streamline the construction schedule to deliver a successful project. For example–in the past, a massive amount of domestic hot water had been heated and stored throughout the day even though the latrines are mostly used in the morning and evenings. This resulted in a large amount of energy being wasted throughout the day by constantly keeping the unused water hot. McKenney’s worked with the project team to have these storage systems removed from the design, and replaced them with state of the art, on-demand water heaters that are far more efficient all the while still meeting the needs of the building.
During construction, our field teams and project teams are continuing to lead the way by increasing the emphasis on McKenney’s SQP initiative. SQP is an acronym standing for Safety, Quality, and Productivity. At McKenney’s we believe that Safety, Quality, and Productivity are the three critical pillars required to have a truly successful project.
For Safety, we utilize our behavior-based safety observation process every day to drive engagement with our craftsmen. We want our men and women to be constantly aware of the hazards surrounding them, and actively working with others on the jobsite to mitigate risk. Every day, each craftsman completes a Risk Elimination Card. Any and all safety issues are discussed daily in our flex and stretch sessions.
For Quality we strive for “Single Pass Installation”. What this really means is that our teams are prepared and completing tasks right the first time. Our foreman and on-site management staff perform weekly walks of active work areas, focusing on quality to ensure we are meeting the installation requirements of the project while coordinating with other trades.
For Productivity we leverage the power of our fabrication shops to prefabricate installation materials to the greatest possible extent. This streamlines our in-field installations by converting our field work into shop work where we can better control quality and productivity. We perform short term planning sessions on a weekly basis. By meeting with the entire field crew we ensure that each member is informed of the schedule goal and has all the necessary materials and equipment on site to execute that plan.
To bring this all together we track these items on onsite scoreboards so our team can have instant feedback on whether we are “winning” or “losing”. This creates a sense of competition, ownership and pride among our teams. This is evident in our work and attitudes of our field teams at Ft. Benning. We have become the leading experts on barracks renovations by helping to drive schedule and by bringing together a highly complicated project to a successful completion for our customers.
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