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Foundational Principles for Quality Construction

At Bush Construction, our experience over the years and across industries continues to demonstrate the importance of quality construction played out each day on actual projects. In fact, we manage each project from inception to completion on the principle that quality comes first. We base our approach to excellence on specific foundations of quality construction.

Five Pillars of Quality Construction

1. Experienced Project Management and Support Team

Industry experience is vital for quality construction. That starts with a highly trained and knowledgeable project management team. Our leadership understands how to best build a support team designed to successfully execute the project design plan to ensure quality construction, including proper schedule management. Without the foundation of a confident and informed team, the project risks a lack of overall quality.

2. Clear and Consistent Communication

Whether we are communicating internally with our team or externally with our clients, we strive for clear and consistent communication. We allow time for questions and discussions to ensure all parties understand the direction and details for each step in the project. We encourage each team member to speak up if problems arise to avoid quality issues down the line. We also consistently communicate the standards and expectations of our entire company to instill trust that when you work with Bush Construction at any level, you can expect quality.

3. Detailed Design Plan Implemented with Job Site Quality Control

While our overarching quality standards add value on a macro level, true quality construction comes through strong detail management. We implement each detailed design plan with specific job site quality controls. For every project, each stakeholder approves the final design plan before construction starts. In addition, every person on the project knows exactly what’s required to do their job right. Quality control checks are in place for completed tasks to identify problems early in the process.

4. Established and Trusted Relationships with Suppliers

Arguably, the most important foundation for quality construction is the quality of the supplies used for the project. We value our established and trusted relationships with our subcontractors and suppliers. And because of our excellent relationships within our local subcontractor and supplier market, we are consistently able to offer competitive pricing.

5. Investment in Industry-Leading Technology

Technology matters in quality construction. From 3-D design tools to advanced scheduling applications, the right technology ensures each construction project adheres to the best design and schedule standards. In addition, technology provides added layers of protection for quality construction, including accuracy and safety.

Quality Construction Based on the Best Knowledge, Experience and Resources

At Bush Construction, we prioritize quality construction based on a foundation of integrity. Across all our companies, quality is paramount with each project and customer interaction. We employ standards for training, operations, and project management to ensure consistent quality. In addition, the breadth of our resources allows more control over the quality of component parts and processes.

Contact Bush Construction to discuss how we can apply our standards for quality construction to your next project.

 

Author: Jerod Engler | Vice President of Construction | Bush Construction

Five Ways to Increase Project Efficiency

One of the most important aspects of construction management is creating and maintaining an effective schedule. Construction operations, big and small, include troves of interconnected elements that must work cohesively and sequentially to maintain the project schedule.

From inception to completion, each of these details contributes to the overall success of the job. However, without effective schedule management, the project can easily experience delays. Avoid the chaos by implementing these five practices.

1. Develop a Complete Project Plan

A detailed and complete project plan is essential to developing a master schedule. If available to the project, use 3-D modeling technology, like BIM (Building Information Modeling) to develop a coordinated plan established to identify design conflicts, reduce waste, and eliminate problems.

Once completed, involve all decision-makers in the final approval of the project plan to reduce the need for changes later that may delay the schedule or lead to rework. The foundation of schedule management ties directly to the quality of the design and plan.

2. Create a Master Schedule

A solid and realistic master schedule provides the backbone for the total project execution. When developing the master schedule, divide out each part of the project by phase while ensuring the accurate sequence of the tasks. It is best to never have an activity that extends beyond 15 days.  Also, after finalizing the master schedule, communicate clear expectations to all parties.

3. Manage Supply and Supplier Schedules

The master schedule only works with accurate order processing and delivery of project supplies. Select trusted suppliers with a reputation for quality and reliability. Then, communicate the schedule and project expectations to each supplier. Define the roles for order management, including responsibilities for tasks and proper communication channels.

4. Identify Pitfalls and Challenges

Scheduling challenges can occur with any construction project, no matter the scale. However, the larger the project, the more likely delays, and issues become. World events, like we are experiencing now with COVID-19, lead to disruption. In addition, labor shortages continue as an issue in the industry.

Major weather events, supply chain problems, changes to the project plan and other issues may impact the project flow. Build in time for unexpected delays and develop a contingency plan from the start so that each person understands their role in the face of challenges.

5.  Monitor and Report Progress Daily

Daily reporting is vital for successful and effective schedule management. Without proper communication and reporting, issues may go unaddressed. In addition, pay attention to times where the project falls behind or moves ahead. This is accomplished by creating detailed three week look aheads for each trade contractor to better communicate the project expectations on a daily in a much more detailed fashion than the overall master schedule. Correct and update the schedule based on changes or delays. Ensure effective and consistent communication occurs with all decision-makers and managers on the progress of the project.

 

Effective Schedule Management Based on Experience and Excellence

At Bush Construction, we offer professional solutions based on years of experience in the construction industry. We prioritize relationships with our clients, our team and our suppliers. Trust and quality matter to us. Effective and accurate schedule management is a vital part of building trust. We manage each project to stay on schedule and on budget.

Contact us with questions regarding our construction schedule management solutions.

 

Author: Jerod Engler | Vice President of Construction | Bush Construction

COVID-19: A Message from Bush Construction’s CEO

COVID-19 has turned many of our lives, businesses, and local economies upside down. My heart goes out to all those who are suffering as a result of this deadly virus.

While Illinois has issued a shelter in place order and Iowa has provided guidelines on social distancing, both states have deemed the construction industry an essential service. This means Bush Construction is open for business. We are here to help you in any way we can during this unfortunate time.

Bush Construction has always been committed to providing a safe working environment for our employees. In addition to our standard safety protocols, we are taking additional measures to keep our workers safe and do our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

  • We, along with our affiliate, McCarthy-Bush Corporation, have established a COVID-19 Response Team that meets weekly to share information and discuss best practices.
  • We are working closely with our superintendents and foremen to follow social distancing recommendations and ensure job sites are sanitary.
  • The majority of our office personnel are working remotely and using video conferencing tools to maintain the strength and productivity of our internal teams.

During this time of uncertainty, Bush Construction will continue to follow the recommendations of local, state and U.S. leaders. With that said, if you need us, we are here. Call, email or schedule a video chat with any of our team members. We’re here to support our clients and community through this time of crisis.

Sincerely,

A.J. Loss | President & CEO | Bush Construction

 

COVID-19 Resources

Centers for Disease Control

Iowa Department of Public Health

Illinois Department of Public Health

What is Contingency and How Does it Benefit Construction Management?

The word “contingency” has many different meanings, depending on the industry you serve or your point of view. In construction, contingency refers to a percentage of money reserved to cover unanticipated project costs. A contractor, an owner, or a design professional (aka architect, engineer, etc.) all likely feel that the proper use of contingency within a project stems from different, but justifiable causes.

Design professionals

For instance, a designer undoubtedly assumes responsibility for planning and designing a building that complies with all building codes and regulations. However, to draft a complete project that indicates every possible section or detail, and also encompasses every possible combination of material, model, or manufacturer is inconceivable. Therefore, in the designer’s eyes, it may be perfectly acceptable during the construction phase to use contingency spend to accommodate variations or updates that need to be made to the “as-bid” plan set.

Owners

In contrast, if an owner is fortunate enough to have any contingent funds left in their budget, they are likely to prefer that they are used on project betterments. Perhaps to add items to the project that had been eliminated during design or value engineering, or maybe just to incorporate items from their wish list that hadn’t made it into the project initially. It is conceivable to see the justification for this case as well.

Contractors

Lastly, a contractor may take the stand that the use of contingent funds is reserved for unforeseen or differing conditions than those outlined in the plans and specifications from which they based their bid on. For example, old foundations or utility piping buried on a project site that wasn’t documented on the as-builts (record drawings) of a particular property. The contractor had no way of knowing the subsurface conditions of the entire project site and therefore should be entitled to additional compensation, drawn from the project contingency. It seems fair to me…I may, however, be biased.

Whatever your viewpoint, one thing is clear. Every project should have some measure of contingency included and its acceptable uses defined and agreed upon at the onset, you’re going to need it!

 

Author: Rob Davis | Vice President of Operations | Bush Construction

School Bond Referendums: 6 Essential Success Factors

More than ever, communities must produce smarter tactics to promote school bond referendums. Failing to do so will result in a lack of voter support and an unsuccessful bond initiative. While there are no guarantees, a positive outcome is much more likely to occur when an organized, thoughtful approach is in place.

6 Essential Success Factors to Garner More “Yes” Votes

  1. Build trust – The relationship between the community, board of education, administration, faculty, and staff is crucial. The connection must be sincere and built up over time. As we know, the existence of trust does not promise success but the absence of it might indicate defeat. Without trust, the chance of a vote failure is high, no matter what other action takes place.
  2. Listen to stakeholders – Understand the needs of every stakeholder group and include them in the planning process. Appropriately involve them as the initiative advances and keep in mind two-way communication is critical. Consider launching regular surveys to understand the goals of community members and act on the feedback when you get it. After all, investing time to collaborate with the community will pay off.
  3. Personalize the message – You will need to do some selling to gain support. First, learn about the different groups that make up your district. Then, understand what they need to know about the school bond referendum based on their goals, priorities, and interests. Thus, it will be easier to develop specific messages that appeal to their interests and priorities. Reflect on the unique needs of each group you are trying to reach.
  4. Use numerous styles of communication – Ignoring critical channels of communication could potentially make or break the campaign. Present your message on local news media outlets, direct mail, social media, and face-to-face to influence all stakeholders. Answering people’s questions, addressing their concerns, and keeping them informed throughout the process is key.
  5. Community groups – Often, it’s small community groups that do the most effective selling. They represent the stakeholder groups. The individuals who live amongst and regularly engage with voters have the best chance of connecting with people in a personal way. Contemplate capitalizing on these community groups and encourage them to host neighborhood meetings. Intimate Q&A sessions are a proven way to build community understanding and support.
  6. Public information meeting – Consider holding a public information meeting at the school. Think about organizing the event with each table representing a specific facet that may interest stakeholders; education, finance, building, superintendent, the board of education and PTA. This way community members can walk around and pursue targeted information. The individuals at the tables must be effective in leading one-on-one conversations. This added touch carries a sense that every question is important and will contribute to overall voter turnout.

Securing School Funding Requests

A successful school bond referendum campaign is not the result of the final push. To be effective, you must start from day one crafting the message and fostering support. It’s all about the way you communicate. Trusted relationships and an informed community are keys to a winning outcome.

 

Author: Jerod Engler | Vice President of Construction | Bush Construction

10 Reasons Why You Need BIM on your Next Project

BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a 3-D modeling technology. It allows contractors and owners the opportunity to virtually build, visualize, coordinate and troubleshoot before a shovel ever hits the ground.

  1. BIM provides a facility that was built virtually before it was built physically.
  2. BIM will point out any conflicts between structural components and architectural items.
  3. BIM eliminates problems—no more accidentally slamming through plumbing pipe.
  4. BIM provides all parties involved with a high level of confidence that what is being built will work.
  5. BIM means less re-work.
  6. BIM significantly reduces waste. Construction creates 53.4 million pounds of waste per year, not including demolition.
  7. BIM assures greater efficiency.
  8. BIM provides owners with a more in-depth understanding of their building.
  9. BIM opens doors to using more advanced technologies, such as virtual reality and laser scanning.
  10. BIM expands documentation. It provides the opportunity to communicate and make quicker, more informed decisions

BIM utilizes the latest technology to merge physical and digital, allowing Bush Construction the ability to provide our clients with the best construction experience possible.

 

Michael Johnson | Director of Integrated Design + Technology | Bush Construction

Cement Soil Stabilization

Why Cement Stabilization?

Cement stabilization is required when the soil on a construction site needs to be amended. This process allows the installation of the building pad on-site before the cold temperatures and ground freezing of winter sets in.

At one of our new construction sites, Lujack Hiline – a high-end car dealership in Davenport, Iowa, a geotechnical engineer recommended we proceed with cement stabilization. It was no surprise – we could not drive our vehicles on the site without sinking. We were aware, after a very wet September, that we were going to be facing poor soil conditions. Unfortunately, there was no way for the soil to self-correct on this site since as we would not have been able to get the soil to compact before winter began. The ground just wasn’t hard enough.

While this predicament is fairly common for this portion of Scott County, we don’t have to use this method often. In this area, we generally hit moisture at 6-7 feet down. On many job sites, we may hit pockets of poor soil, but on the Lujack’s site, the entire 4-5 acres were moist. The site was much too large to core out and fill with rock-like we can on smaller jobs. Together with the owner, we made the decision to move forward with cement stabilization over the Thanksgiving weekend.

What is Cement Stabilization?

Soil stabilization can sometimes be done with lime, but since the temperatures were not warm enough for a long enough duration, this was not an option for this situation. Cement would need to be the cure.

Cement stabilization is the improvement of soil material through the addition of a cement binder. The goal of stabilization is to improve soil for construction purposes. The most common method involves the incorporation of small quantities of binders (cement) to the aggregate.

On the St. Vincent Athletic Complex football field project, we ran into a similar situation and were able to amend with lime. Lime is laid layer by layer and you can see the difference in color. We rototilled the lime in and then rolled it over. The process took two days for each football field. The lime was brought in from our sister company, Linwood Mining; truck after truck. Just like at Lujack’s, the ground wasn’t stable, and we couldn’t guarantee the fields without stabilizing the soil.

At Lujack’s we chose the cement process as it was recommended by the geotechnical engineer, it was weather appropriate and it was the most cost-effective option. Cement stabilization requires only one layer, but the air temperature is key. The temperature must be 40 degrees or higher for the stabilization to set appropriately.

How does Cement Stabilization Work?

Since we do not have a local company that performs cement stabilization, we hired McCleary from Decatur, Illinois. They set 200 lbs. of cement every three feet. The machine itself costs $800,000. Also, on-site was a tiller and two trucks. The two trucks each weighed over 15,000 lbs. McCleary remediated 170,000 SF in two 12-hour days. If we had decided to core out and fill the site with rock, it would have taken at least two weeks and we would have needed to find a place for 1,000 truckloads of spoils.

The cost to stabilize the soil ran approximately $200,000. If we had filled with rock, the cost would have been around $300,000. A savings of nearly 33%.

The cement stabilization was a success and construction is in full swing.

 

Location: Lujack’s HiLine – Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Volkswagen

Kevin Mericle | Superintendent | Bush Construction

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