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Trust, Transparency and Communication: COVID-19 Innovative Construction Inspections

As with many construction companies around the globe during this unprecedented health crisis, SLAM Construction Services (SLAM CS) faces daily challenges to keep projects running on schedule. With new health procedures mandated by the state almost weekly, construction companies have had to respond creatively to on-site management.

SLAM CS has developed some innovative policies and procedures recently in response to State executive orders, owner’s schedules and the health of on-site building officials, trade contractors and staff.

Trust, transparency and great relationships are necessary to navigate the daily uncertainty and challenges of constructing projects while protecting the health of on-site workers.

On a 26,000-SF, 12th floor interior renovation in a downtown Hartford office building, SLAM CS was able to negotiate an agreement of trust, during this pandemic, with the city. Our team performed virtual inspections to reduce building officials time on site and exposure to others. The inspections included documentation of the above ceiling spaces with photos tagged to a Bluebeam permit set and photo/video documentation of the smoke damper and sprinkler pressure tests for the Fire Marshall.

This process has now been adapted as a standard with city of Hartford inspectors.

To maintain the owner’s schedule for completion, the Project Manager developed a system of work zones within the renovation space to limit the amount of people working together in one area. The 26,000-SF space was divided into five zones/pods with staggered shifts to meet CDC guidelines for social distancing.

In addition to developing processes for inspections and trade work, SLAM CS has been implementing virtual punch list procedures with engineers and SLAM Construction Administrators, using photos, coordinated Bluebeam drawings, and video.

The uncertainty of this health crisis has refocused our attention to solving not-so-typical construction dilemmas. Many processes still in transition have forced companies to think on their feet, communicate openly with their trusted partners and create procedures that benefit the health and safety of all.

We are fortunate for the silver-lining of this crisis: the development of a more efficient, collaborative and safe working environment based on trust, transparency and communication.

SLAM CS implemented innovative procedures and exhibited leadership to get the downtown Hartford project to the finish line. Established and trusted relationships with team consultants, subcontractors and city officials made this project a success.

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