Blog/News

Key to Success: Project Collaboration

October 12, 2018, 3:55 pm

As any sports fan knows, there is no “I” in “team.” Our favorite teams have proved this time and again—individual talents are sought out, then joined with others to create a force to be reckoned with. The most successful teams have been victorious because they recognize the importance of unity and comradery. Victory cannot be secured if one player walks out onto the field alone. The power is in the collective abilities of the whole.

Construction work is no different. When our team walks onto a jobsite, we work together to provide the best results for our clients and keep each other safe. This is especially important on mission critical projects. Due to the complexity of these facilities, which range from data centers to telecommunications buildings and more, we emphasize the importance of working together—and building a cross-disciplined team to deliver the work successfully.

Shook works with subcontractors that specialize in mechanics, electrical engineering, and plumbing to ensure that the necessary building environment is maintained for operation. It is critical that the system continues to properly function during construction since most clients do not have the luxury of closing for several months. Therefore, we work closely with them and our subcontractors to guarantee a smooth process.

Data centers, telecommunications buildings, and call centers are all critically dependent on their mechanical and electrical systems to maintain the building environment necessary for operation. Collaboration is key on these projects—that is why we work with specialty contractors from the MEP trades to add value early in the process. This is exemplified by a recent project our team worked on for University Hospitals. When we were working on the project, we enlisted outside help that enhanced the planning and execution.

This team was able to achieve real results. With all hands-on deck, we managed to finish our University Hospitals data center upgrade six weeks earlier than planned. This saved our client a great deal of time and money.

We recognize that some projects require special attention and have different needs that we cannot always provide. By seeking out experts and working closely with them in the building process, we have improved our work, given our customers’ positive experiences, and even better facilities to work in. Not only is that a win for the client, but a win for us as well!

 

 

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Construction Around an Occupied Facility

July 23, 2018, 2:15 pm

Many of our projects involve working in, around, above, or below occupied facilities. This scenario involves not only creative techniques to tie in to the existing building, but also increased communication with your staff to coordinate construction activity around critical—and unplanned—operations.
 
Construction Above and Next to Occupied Facility
One such project was the addition and renovation of St. Elizabeth Boardman Health Center, which involved the following general scope items:
 
  • Two-story addition above existing surgery suites
  • Six-story, 184,000 SF tower addition above the existing lobby and surgery suites
  • Various renovations to the existing structure
Because of the construction above the existing surgery units, extra coordination with the surgeons dictated when we needed to halt our work for a planned—or unplanned—surgery. Below are some specific obstacles to overcome.
 

Reinforcing Columns

One of those obstacles was presented by the existing OR’s steel columns, which were designed to accommodate a one-story addition; however, this project added two stories. Our team developed a plan to reinforce the steel columns without any interruptions to the surgery schedules. To accomplish this, our team built a plan to–over the course of eight weekends–systematically tackle the steel columns, two or three per weekend.
 
  • Friday night: tear out the drywall.
  • Saturday morning: weld stiffening plates and angles to the columns.
  • Saturday night: fireproof the columns.
  • Sunday: patch up the drywall, paint and clean up.
The team would begin work after the last surgery Friday night and leave the operating room spotless by Sunday night, showing no signs of our presence.
 

Maintaining Existing Roof during Construction

The existing OR roof needed to remain in place during the two-story vertical expansion.  Over a three-week period, our project team built temporary roof curbs over each column that needed to expand vertically.  This allowed us the flexibility to open up the roof when the weather cooperated, remove the curb cap and make the appropriate structural connections.  The roof then was temporarily flashed back around the added columns.  After the vertical expansion was built and dried-in, the existing OR floor roof was then removed to make way for the interior build-out of the NICU floor (1st story of the two-story addition).
 
As the finishing work of the two floors commenced, our project team continued to coordinate work around the surgery schedules because the finished project did not allow as much insulation above the OR to minimize noise and vibration from certain construction activity (i.e., rolling around drywall on carts). At times, it was necessary to cease construction immediately to accommodate planned/unplanned surgeries.
 

Connecting the Old to the New 

Connecting all floors horizontally to the existing building also provided several challenges.  One was keeping the building dry. To address this, we left the existing façade intact and only opened it up at each beam connection. Once the building was dried-in, we then demolished the existing exterior walls/façade.  Another challenge was matching existing elevations at the floor level without removing the whole façade.  Strategically located as-built elevations were taken to allow us to build the new structure and make field modifications prior to removing the façade.
 
Despite these impediments, we persevered. With our core value of being reliable in mind, we found new ways to accomplish these tasks and stayed true to our promise of finishing on time, even if it meant working overtime and on weekends. At the end of it all, we were proud of our determination and what we had created with all the cards stacked against us.    
 

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Diamond Wire Sawing Process of Twin 108″ Concrete Pipes

September 1, 2017, 7:23 am

As part of the Easterly treatment facility project on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio, our project team built six 110-foot diameter by 18-foot deep settling tanks. The discharge from these new tanks (as well as four existing tanks) were connected to a NEW concrete junction chamber via 2500 lineal feet of 36-inch through 84-inch diameter Flowtite® fiberglass underground pipe.

This new junction chamber was constructed around two temporarily supported 108-inch diameter concrete pipes. These pipes have carried the treated discharge from the existing plant to Lake Erie since 1931.

Once the new facilities were complete, the challenge was tying the new facilities to the old discharge. To accomplish this, the project team removed 11 feet of pipe from each of those two 108-inch diameter, 10.5-inch thick concrete pipes.  

NEORSD 108" Twin Pipes

To ensure this process did not interrupt the existing flow to the lake, the project team engaged DOT Diamond Core Drilling who suggested a diamond wire sawing system to make two cuts in each of the two pipes.

To accomplish this feat, the project team first installed temporary pipe supports and made preparations for hoisting and handling both pipes while the chamber was still dry. DOT then began the diamond wire sawing process, aided by external cooling water. When the first in-service pipe’s circumference was penetrated, the plant flow began to flood the chamber. The remaining sawing process was completed without any personnel having to enter the chamber. The resulting cuts totaled 1,620 lineal inches of reinforced concrete.

Diamond Saw Cutting Process

Once cut, General Crane Rental used a 130-ton capacity crane to hoist out the two 11-foot cut pieces, each weighing about 37,000 pounds.

Making this effort even more impressive is that the pipe removal and subsequent joining of the old and new flow systems were completed during 15-degree temperature and blustery winds in mid-December.

Despite the frigid weather and the difficulty of this task, the entire operation took only two 12-hour days to complete.

Project Overview

This process was part of the larger $74.3 million project which began in September 2013. The overall purpose was to increase the capacity of the Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant from 140 million gallons per day to 400 million gallons per day, which will help the environment.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) contracted the Shook Walbridge Joint Venture to complete these improvements, which were designed by MWH Global and Brown & Caldwell. The design called for the installation of 26 new pumps, piping, automated valves and meters, as well as adding chemical storage, distribution, metering, instrumentation and process equipment to more effectively enhance the treatment process. To accomplish this, the Shook Walbridge team selectively removed, rerouted and replaced interior and underground piping, existing structures, and equipment.

The multi-phase project took four years to complete.

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Our Core Values: Safety

April 28, 2017, 8:00 am

Safety: Our Core Values (safety_value)

We operate by a core set of nine values. This month, we focus on safety.

Safety is our most important core value as our people are our most important assets. Without them, our business would not run. It is vital that our people remain healthy and safe, returning home in the evenings in the same condition they arrived to work in the mornings. The same goes for our clients and subcontractors.

How do we keep safety at the forefront of our team’s minds? Here are just a few ways:

It Starts at the Top

Our commitment to safety begins with active senior management involvement, beginning with the chief executive officer/president (who chairs our safety and health committee) and continues throughout all levels of our organization.

It’s a Part of Operations

Our preconstruction department analyzes potential hazards associated with a project and determines whether or not to pursue if a project cannot meet certain risk standards.  Safety continues into the bid process. Subcontractor selection criteria includes an evaluation of their safety statistics and OSHA history.  Once our team mobilizes on site, a site-specific safety plan is developed and any worker that enters the site must go through a formal orientation before beginning work.

Daily Pre-Task Safety Planning Meetings

Every morning before work begins on a project site, we hold a Toolbox Talk. The agenda reviews the day’s goals… What needs to get done? What is the plan? What are the hazards associated with performing the work? How will we eliminate or control the hazard?

Corporate Safety Audits

Shook maintains a team of safety professionals within our safety and risk management department. These team members provide regular, unscheduled safety audits on every Shook project, every month. Survey results are distributed to both project and company leadership. In addition to providing inspections, our safety professionals are a proactive resource to help our project teams plan how to safely go about their work.

Communication is Key

A key element to our program’s success is communication. Safety audits, incident reports and any OSHA activity is communicated within 24 hours to: CEO/president, executive vice president, market channel leader, project manager and project superintendent.  On a weekly basis, all employees receive information regarding safety audit findings from the previous week, OSHA activity, work-related incidents and a summary of the current OSHA recordable incidents.  When warranted, we will cease work and hold a “safety-stand-down-meeting” to address major issues. 

We always will stand by our safety motto: “Safely, the only way to work!” Our award-winning safety program simply validates that.

 

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Our Core Values: Quality

March 27, 2017, 12:32 pm

Quality: core values

We operate by a core set of nine values. This month, we focus on quality.

Quality equals building excellence. Our goal is to ensure our clients are receiving the construction project they expect for the dollars they are investing. Why do we do this? First, it is the right thing to do. Second, we cannot be a successful company by offering sub-par quality. We are proud of our “reputation built on performance”—and performance begins with quality.

It is important to us to establish the standard and measure quality from the beginning of a project rather than simply evaluating quality at the end of a project. What processes do we have in place to ensure that every project is a quality one? Here are just a few:

3D Modeling

We create a detailed model that shows the work in place, which helps trade contractors visualize their scope of work. We also use the model to coordinate building elements and to plan the project’s sequencing and durations.

Quality: BIM Images

Mock-Ups and First-in-Place Inspections

Particularly for projects that contain repetitive spaces (such as hospital patient rooms), we use a first-in-place inspection process. This involves the inspection of the first piece of work put in place to verify quality. This install then becomes the quality standard for the balance of the project.  This process can include mock-ups of a specific area, which our team reviews for quality (and our owners review for aesthetics and functionality).

Weekly Progress Meetings

We hold weekly job coordination meetings with subcontractors, trades and material suppliers during which we review schedule, coordination of work, quality of work and safety/security requirements.

Quality Control Checklist

Each of our field personnel carry a pocket-sized quality control checklist, which breaks down standards of work by division. This provides us a portable tool to review the quality of work with each of our subcontractors.

Ongoing Punch Lists

We do not believe in waiting until the end of the project to develop a punch list. We create an ongoing punch list at the beginning of a project so that our subcontractors can correct deficiencies in a timely manner. We review this punch list at our weekly progress meetings. We also encourage our owners and design partners to participate in developing the punch list items. This helps our subcontractors understand the expectations early on in the project and facilitates prompt close-out of the job.

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Making it Matter in 2017

February 21, 2017, 12:05 pm


google-form-headerEvery year, Shook Construction gathers our employees to celebrate the successes of the past year and to create excitement for the years to come. February’s corporate annual meeting was no exception.

This year’s theme was “Make it Matter.” In everything we do, we must ensure that each of us is contributing to the service of our clients. From acquiring the latest technology to making our own health a priority to being cost conscious in every decision to providing exemplary customer service…each of us plays a part in the success of this company.

To help us prepare to make it matter, we learned more about many initiatives already taking place here at Shook. From recruiting high school kids into the construction industry to putting staff through leadership training to incorporating formal mentoring programs, we are preparing current and future employees to make a huge impact and to set them up for some amazing careers.

In light of our theme, we asked our team how they are making it matter. Here are a few of their responses.

How I Make it Matter

As we continue to invest in our people, we are excited for the continued success and growth we anticipate for years to come.

One response to “Making it Matter in 2017”

  1. Frank Spencer says:

    My goal is to give our clients a good product and develop a working relationship with them so when they have something new the Shook name comes to mind first.

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Wrapping Up Our 90th Anniversary

December 20, 2016, 7:05 am

What an exciting anniversary year this has been! We have had so much fun working with our clients and in our communities.

Shook’s theme this year has been celebrating our history and recognizing why we do the work we do. Over the course of the year, we have been fortunate to strengthen our relationships, to form new ones and to contribute to the communities that make us who we are. Thanks to a great year, we can look forward to continued growth as we enter our 10th decade in business.

Safety continues to be a #1 priority in everything we do. Thanks to our team’s relentless efforts, the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Ohio once again awarded Shook Construction a 2016 Construction Safety Excellence Award within the Heavy Division.

In celebrating our 90th anniversary, we know it is imperative that we give back to our communities and clients that make everything that we do possible. We had the opportunity to build a new veterans memorial, raise funds for a major children’s hospital and partner with our local United Way chapters, among many other things.

“We’re fortunate enough to be a part of really creating the fabric of the communities in which we work,” shares Bill Whistler, president and chief executive officer. “It’s fun!”

Not many construction companies can tout a 90-year history. We are proud to have reached this milestone. As long as we continue to reflect on our humble beginnings along with why we do what we do, we can look forward to another 90 years.

Click here to learn more about our history.

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Honoring Veterans by Volunteering Time and Expertise

November 29, 2016, 6:56 am

Community is a vital component of who we are as a company. As such, it is not uncommon to learn of ways that our employees donate their time, money and expertise to worthy causes. Most recently, two of our employees went above and above the call of duty to honor our veterans by assisting two communities to design and construct a Veterans Memorial.

Kettering Veterans and Inventors Plaza

The Kettering Parks Foundation in Kettering, Ohio celebrated the dedication of its new Veterans and Inventors Plaza (also known as the Kettering Veteran’s Plaza and Charles F. Kettering History Walk). The plaza includes five pillars, each representing a different branch of the military. These pillars serve as a public expression of gratitude to those who have served and continue to serve our nation. Meanwhile, the walkway shares information about Charles F. Kettering who is an innovator, as well as the founder of Delco (Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co.). Three interactive history stations along the walkway highlight the history, inventions and philanthropic contributions of Mr. Kettering to the local community, the automotive industry and the world. Shook’s Mike Eckley is on the board of directors for the Kettering Parks Foundation, so it only made sense that he use his 40+ years of construction experience to manage the design and construction of this memorial. In addition, 15 local contractors provided in-kind services to complete the project. Those volunteer hours and additional private donations funded the $400,000 project.

Troy-Miami County Veterans Memorial

The Troy-Miami County Public Library and the Miami Valley Veterans Museum dedicated its new Veterans Memorial in Troy, Ohio. The new memorial highlights all branches of the armed services with a distinct image set into concrete around a flagpole. Troy-Miami Veterans Memorial Local individuals, organizations and businesses came together to make this memorial a reality. This includes Shook’s Jeff Schlarman who donated his time to install the concrete for the project while Shook Construction donated the materials. Troy Mayor Mike Beamish shared that the project is a “demonstration of what community spirit is all about” and a “lasting tribute” to all veterans.

One response to “Honoring Veterans by Volunteering Time and Expertise”

  1. […] communities and clients that make everything that we do possible. We had the opportunity to build a new veterans memorial, raise funds for a major children’s hospital and partner with our local United Way chapters, […]

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The Process of Removing a Digester Tank Lid

August 24, 2016, 10:27 am

It’s not every day a wastewater treatment plant project requires the replacement of a digester tank lid. What makes this feat so impressive? The lid itself is 50-feet in diameter and weighs about 77,000 pounds, which required a 210-ton crane to lift. During the lift, it looked like there was a UFO hovering over the property. Why did the tank lid need to be removed in the first place? A hole had developed on the underside of the lid, thus allowing the hollow lid to be filled with sludge. The tank will receive a new membrane-style cover during Phase II of the project. The overall project for Phase I involves the following:
  • New chlorine contact basin on the end of the existing equalization tanks.
  • New chemical building for feed of sodium hypochlorite and sodium bisulfite to the new chlorine contact basin.
  • New aeration basin #7.
  • Renovation of the sludge control building, including all new sludge heating equipment.
  • New ultraviolet disinfection building including a new non-potable water system and new effluent aeration system.
  • New pump station to handle the centrate from the existing sludge dewatering building.
  • New electrical service and electrical feeds to all buildings.
  • Various site piping.
All work is being completed while protecting and maintaining the continuous operations of the facility. The $12 million project will be complete in summer 2017.

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Planning Our Work Using VDC

June 10, 2016, 12:39 pm

Do you have trouble picturing how your construction partner plans to protect your existing environment during a renovation project? We understand that not everyone comprehends information in the same way. That is one of many benefits from incorporating Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) into our construction pre-planning process. VDC uses 3D modeling to optimize project planning. It allows our team to visualize, analyze, plan and manage complex projects. It also helps us visually share our plan with clients. For example, we recently renovated a data center that remained operational throughout construction. To avoid interrupting business operations, we divided the project into six phases. As we worked through each phase, we erected temporary partitions to separate our work zones from office personnel. The video below helped our client visualize how we planned to protect their data center during construction activities. The client then used this same video to relay the plan to their employees. Communication is paramount no matter the business or the project. It is equally vital during a construction project. VDC is helping us take that communication to a new level.

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