Project Management Institute

Outage management concepts applied to school project

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The additions and renovations to the West Allegheny School District's two elementary schools, middle school, high school, and athletic facilities were performed as an outage management project. The high school additions and renovations included total replacement of all exterior classroom walls and windows, all-new heating and air conditioning systems, an all-new lighting system, all-new data communication systems, total rehab of the auditorium and gym, and replacement of all laboratory equipment. The athletic facilities were completely replaced. The project cost: $18 million. On June 5,1992, the high school was a 1960s facility; on September 16, 1992, it was a 1990s facility.

Because the scope of work was so massive and affected all areas of the schools, the project management team determined that it would be impossible to perform the necessary work without affecting the education process. One of the major principals of this project was that the education process not be affected by the building program. With this goal in mind, the project management team developed an outage management philosophy. This project was set up as an outage of the facility with a very critical completion date of September 16, 1992 (the start of classes for the fall semester). The outage philosophy had not been applied to this type of work before in this region of the country. The project management team, through the development of a detailed CPM schedule, and their extensive outage management experience, persuaded the School Board to attempt this approach on their project.

Once the outage philosophy was accepted by the school district, the project management team developed a detailed project estimate and cost control system, CPM schedule, and monitoring systems designed to ensure the successful execution of the project. All systems were designed to provide the project team with an “early warning system.”

The project management team worked with the architect to develop the bidding documents and conducted the bidding and bid evaluation processes. The project management included, as part of the bid package, a proposed construction schedule that was revised and modified after the awarding of the nine major prime contracts. The progress on the project was reviewed daily with all the prime contractors and the school administration. On a weekly basis, a detail schedule, cost and progress analysis was submitted to the school administration. All scheduling and progress monitoring was done on-site with a 386 computer, laser printer and plotter.

The project team officially met with the school administration on a weekly basis to review the progress and the costs of the project. This allowed the school administration the opportunity to react to changes in the project before they became critical to the completion date or the budget.

As September 16, 1992, approached, it was apparent that the outage management approach to this project was the correct choice because the majority of the other school renovation projects under way in the region did not meet their scheduled completion dates, resulting in the delay in the start of classes and interference with the educational process once classes began.

The West Allegheny School District took a chance and won. Their school was ready for class on time and under budget. The project management systems used resolved problems and monitored the project so that problems were resolved before they became critical. Project management is the key element to a successful project.

From: Dominick DeSalvo
D & L, Inc.

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This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

MARCH 1993

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