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Working in Occupied Spaces

Laying the groundwork with a focus on planning, communication, and building relationships

There are special circumstances surrounding every project and part of being a good partner is adjusting and putting the right team in place to achieve the best results. Having a solid plan and team in place is even more essential when working on a big project within an occupied space.

When the MMC Contractors Des Moines office began working on the extensive improvement project to the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation corporate office, they knew that minimizing the effect of the construction among the employees was key to a successful project. With that in mind, the construction team established a detailed schedule, keeping both the project needs and the working employees in mind. In addition, they selected a crew they knew they could count on to provide the highest level of customer service to their long-standing client.

“One thing that we made sure was at the top of everyone’s mind was that we always have to remember that the building is occupied and that we need to do everything possible to avoid or minimize the impact to those employees trying to carry on their daily work,” said Ryan Clausen, mechanical operations manager at MMC Contractors – Des Moines. “Fortunately, we have a detail-oriented team in place and a great partnership with our client to keep this project running smoothly.”

With the employees in mind, the team created a phased schedule and planned the entire remodel 35,000 SF at a time. Employees were shifted either to a temporary offsite location or on to another floor while work was being done in the space. As each remodeled area is completed, employees move back in and work begins on the next phase.

While there are many elements that must be in place to maintain the momentum of the project, one of the biggest aspects of this particular job is a heavy focus on customer service.

Going Above and Beyond

The last several years has seen a shift in the construction industry from very transactional relationships to establishing and maintaining a partnership with clients. Not only are Owners looking for contractors they trust, but construction teams thrive on being seen as problem solvers for clients. This mindset encourages crew members to view projects from a high level and bring solutions to the table. It also creates a more proactive approach to potential challenges.

Being willing to work around the needs of others and cognizant of how something might impact employees in an occupied building is a big part of laying the groundwork for a successful project.

“We appreciate that MMC Contractors, as well as our other partners, plan their daily assignments with our employees in mind,” said Steve Flug, senior facilities manager at Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Property Management, Inc. “They perform all of their core drilling and jackhammering before 8 a.m. and then move on to other projects throughout the rest of the day. Despite the fact that this might seem like it could impede the schedule, they’ve planned it just right that the schedule hasn’t been affected.”

Establishing Relationships

One of the most important aspects of a contractor–client relationship is trust. When clients feel comfortable with their partners on a project, it creates a positive working environment. Building that

trust comes from a consistent focus on quality craftsmanship, but that isn’t the only element at play. Establishing a personal relationship with partners can help build that partnership.

Creating a solid foundation among project team members helps keep the good times good and the bad times better. If an issue or conflict arises, those tough conversations are easier when the two parties already have an established relationship. And when negative situations are handled in a positive manner, it often results in greater loyalty to each other.

Building Partnerships That Last

MMC Contractors views every client as a client for life, offering professionalism, knowledge, and most importantly, fostering trust at every jobsite.