Veterans Memorial Elementary School

2020 CMAA Project Achievement Award
Education: Construction value less than $50 Million
Veterans Memorial Elementary School

Owner: Parkland (Pa.) School District  |  CM: Alvin H. Butz, Inc

Butz’s organizational structure for this project was one of its vehicles for success.  What set our project team apart from other true public works “Construction Manager’s” was our staffing.  As the Agent for the Owner, our team was truly an extension of the School District staff.  The Butz team and the School District worked collaboratively. The Butz team was led by our Senior Project Manager – who typically had daily involvement and communications with the District.  The onsite Butz team consisted of our field superintendent and onsite Project Manager – both in a full-time capacity.  The team has been together since the very beginning of the project, sitting in on nearly all the design meetings and preconstruction meetings.  The team then created the “Scope of Work” that was written in the Project Manual.  This scope of work was based on prior experience and how we wanted to “buy the job out”.  By creating a detailed scope of work for bid, it eliminated many of the gray areas that typically cause problems on other jobs.  The time our project team spent upfront creating the scope of work and other sections for the project manual paid dividends down the road.

Our job trailer setup consisted of a double-wide trailer that was configured to maximize collaboration.  Our Superintendent and PM each had an office.  The 3rd office was for visitors and the architect.  The 4th office became the kitchenette.  This kitchenette, as well as the rest of the trailer, enabled an inviting environment to the trades.   The trades were welcome to stop in for coffee and to warm up their lunches.  The long wall of the trailer was fit-out with a long plan table where each set of contract drawings were spread out by discipline.  While this may seem minimal or insignificant, it was this arrangement and setup that encouraged communication and collaboration.  Often, when a worker or foreman would come in for a cup of coffee, it prompted job related communication and a more collaborative environment.  The environment created by our job trailer configuration extended to the site, and thus the workforce saw us as a partner as opposed to a typical GC or CM. Our team and the Owner feel strongly that this full-time presence, and willingness and capability to accommodate extra hours and off hours meetings, work, deliveries, etc. helped to bring this project in ahead of schedule.   Unlike some of the school “GC” competitors, the Butz team was a true extension of the School District staff.  It was evident to the workforce that we all had one common goal – to deliver a successful project. 

Despite the nearly 100 rain days early in the project, the project was completed almost 2 months ahead of schedule.  The original schedule showed substantial completion 21 months from notice to proceed, and this project was delivered in 19 months.  The schedule was posted on the inside of the trailer on all walls with color coded “dots” that signified rain days, days that couldn’t be worked, and milestone dates.  The contractor’s sticky notes were frequently adjusted as needed.  This living, breathing schedule was available for all to see and adjust as necessary.  All prime contractors and the School District could see the status of the schedule at any point in time.