Agile crews and lean project management key to success of consolidated school district project schedule

Background and Goals

In the summer of 2017, Lemberg served several school districts through a total of eight remodeling or new construction projects. Projects timelines for institutions of education were compressed into the summer months when schools were not in session. The schools of 2017 were all located within Milwaukee and the surrounding suburbs and all had overlapping timelines.

  • Milwaukee Lutheran High School (Milwaukee) - ongoing
  • St. Augustine School (Milwaukee), new construction - completed
  • Messmer St. Rose School (Milwaukee), remodel/expansion - completed
  • Muskego Middle School (Muskego), new construction - completed
  • Mill Valley Elementary (Muskego), remodel/expansion - completed
  • Menomonee Falls High and Middle Schools (Menomonee Falls), remodel/expansion - completed
  • Mukwonago High School (Mukwonago), remodel/expansion - ongoing

Some project timelines had hard end dates in early fall when students were returning to class. Other projects, especially those in areas where students would not be active, were extended into the school year or backlogged into 2018. The main challenges with the number of institutional projects running simultaneously were manpower and overlap of trade work. Good scheduling and progression-oriented project managers and foremen would be critical to keep all projects moving forward.

StAugustine-lightingSt. Augustine Preparatory School, Milwaukee, WI

Strategy

Lemberg foremen, who were exclusively dedicated to their projects, kept the pulse of each job, allowing their teams and the company to stay agile throughout the summer.

Lemberg’s project managers (PMs) made frequent and regular visits to each jobsite. The teams were proactive with changes and satisfied immediate needs of the onsite electrical teams as quickly as possible. The teams even heard from teachers, the end users of the classrooms, on their needs, which allowed the electrical teams to customize the rooms to the specified academic function.

Job foremen communicated with PMs, other trades, and the general contractor to coordinate phases and keep delays to a minimum. Such proactivity uncovered potential issues and promising efficiencies.

 

Balancing phases and manpower across multiple projects proactively avoided emergency situations whereby crews shuffle to a single location to manage an emergency only to leave other projects falling behind. Lemberg teams stayed efficient, smart, and lean.

Lemberg teams proposed special solutions where needed such as the following:

  • Lemberg worked with vendors to keep jobsites clear of extra supplies and developing a delivery schedule to keep supplies stored with the vendor until the day they were needed on the job.
  • Lemberg worked with general contractors to schedule the work around the student activity. Work was completed during student breaks, holidays, weekends, at night and even between class period.
  • Lemberg worked with other trades to coordinate work and timelines for efficient use of time and space. Projects were divided into sub-phases to organize manpower and material deliveries.
MillValley Mill Valley School, Muskego, WI

Results

Despite the intensity of the project timelines, Lemberg delivered timely and complete projects as estimated. Breaking projects into phases and scheduling the appropriate manpower for the tasks proved to be key to a coordinated supply delivery. Field techs volunteered to work second shift. They stayed proactive at the individual level, all moving in the same direction toward project completion. The attitude of the crews allowed them to stay nimble throughout the project timelines.

Impact

Fall brought cooler weather and the grand opening of several completed projects as students, staff and administrators filled the institutions. Administrators uncovered additional needs once the new areas were occupied by staff and students. Lemberg crews remained onsite to manage these changes and the ongoing projects and proactively plan for future project phases.

  • St. Augustine Preparatory School opened on time and is now serving its community on the south side of Milwaukee and beyond with a bright, cheerful and state-of-the-art facility. They currently serve K4, K5, 1-3rd, 6th and 9th grades in a student-centered, creative, and active environment.
  • Messmer Saint Rose reopened in fall with an upgraded facility that can now bring a quality STEM-focused education to its students through electrical renovations that support new technology. Improvements to the school are ongoing.
  • With additional funding made available, Milwaukee Lutheran High School continues to be renovated and expand to meet the demands of its community and students. This summer, the school received improvements to their electrical and HVAC.
  • Muskego School District’s Mill Valley Elementary School will be completed in fall of 2018. Renovations to Country Meadows and Lakeview Elementary schools and the new Muskego Middle School were completed by January 2018.
  • Menomonee Falls High School and Middle School students started the fall semester with newly renovated spaces including a new High School Tech Education area that will support and represent a new focus on STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Manufacturing) as well as newly redesigned Library Media Center. Shady Lane Elementary opened with a renovated and safer main entrance. And, North Middle school received a new music room, library, auditorium and tech ed areas that will handle a forward-thinking curriculum at North Middle.
  • Mukwonago High School continues to be under construction in areas not yet open to students. With completion dates extending through fall of 2018, the campus will receive a new auditorium, new gym, updated library, cafeteria and tech education and other classroom spaces.

Lemberg crews will continue working on these and other school districts across southeastern Wisconsin including Germantown and West Allis-West Milwaukee in 2018.