- Company: Ghilotti Bros., Inc.
- Industry: Transportation
- Location: San Francisco, California
- Expected Completion Date: October 30, 2015
- Project Website
The Castro Streetscape Improvements Project took place in one of San Francisco’s most historical neighborhoods that was in great need of an upgrade in order to provide residents with safer streets. Ghilotti Bros., Inc. was able to execute a solution based acceleration of all the work before the Gay Pride Parade, having all store fronts remain open while maintaining traffic, cable cars and public transportation, as well as safely directing the thousands of pedestrians that walk through the Castro District. This high profile job was completed with zero claims and lost time accidents. It included paving, traffic and pedestrian routing, sewer & water work, landscaping, and electrical renovations along Castro Street from Market Street/17th Street to 19th Street & along 18th Street from Collingwood Street to Hartford Street, San Francisco. A very high profile project, it also included installation of additional street lighting and street furniture.
What impact does this project have on America?
This community project was a celebration for all involved and an example to all of a successful job completed with a culture of “partnership” with the contractors, municipalities and the community. As a hub for the Bay Area’s LGBT Community, Castro Streetscape Improvements design for the decorative rainbow crosswalks were voted on by the public allowing the neighborhood to express itself through the design of the project. The improvements included upgrades to safer streets, wider sidewalks and an improved street life experience. The Castro District in San Francisco is an extremely high profile neighborhood and very political. Therefore, the project experienced heavy public involvement and opinion, as well as participation from the Supervisors Office. In conjunction with participation in various meetings, the contractor and San Francisco Department of Public Works Public Affairs Department worked together to maintain a website that was created for posting updates of the project for the public to see. Items that were posted to the site included the contractor’s upcoming work schedule, special night time work, upcoming closure or events and the long-awaited ribbon cutting ceremony. The overall efforts of all involved included constant communication with the community via Tangible milestones were publicized, met and celebrated with the community. Additionally, the team developed a Dispute Resolution Ladder which was designed to empower resolution at the field level and also provide the ability to “agree to disagree”, and promptly resolve issues.
What interesting obstacles or unusual circumstances did you overcome to complete the project?
When we first began, our team knew that there were many potential pitfalls to completing the project on time. The material for the 16”water main that was installed along Castro Street had a 12-16 week lead time. Knowing that unforeseen conditions could cause for a realignment, the team decided to buy additional “contingency” fittings to allow for re-alignments to happen without the project being delayed while waiting for additional parts to be fabricated. SFWD agreed to buy back the fittings as they could use them for maintenance on other projects.
Like every construction project, there is a specific theme and challenges to overcome. On this particular project, interaction with 3rd party stakeholders such as local businesses, local residents and other contractors working on separate projects along Castro Street was the key factor that allowed our team and project to become a success. Often times 3rd party stakeholders are not actively involved in the construction process, which can lead to scheduling conflicts, delays and negative press coverage. Our team utilized information gathered from key stakeholders to design a work plan that could overcome our project specific challenges while meeting as many requests from the stakeholders as possible. This was done with the mind set of achieving this challenge with as little addition to contract time and budget as possible.
Even before breaking ground, this contract was challenged with a congested work zone, long lead item materials, strict event schedules of key stakeholders and the daily complication of thousands of pedestrians. In response to numerous scheduling conflicts and overall public opinion, our team executed an aggressive accelerated schedule performing 70 percent of all hardscape work and roadway redesign in a 3 month window to make the Pride Parade deadline. This revised schedule allowed a major portion of the work to be nearly complete, enabling us to come extremely close to meeting our goal of opening Castro Street to the public with streets, sidewalks and parking for the June Pride Parade. Regardless of the challenges, our team responded in the best interest of the stakeholders to minimize risks, thus delivering the project as early and as economical as specific circumstances allowed.
In order to meet the short 3 month deadline, the water, sewer , electrical and landscape contractors had to work at the same time the general contractor was demolishing and pouring back the sidewalks. Having multiple subcontractors working in the same locations required and an attitude of partnering. As 3rd party conflicts began to arise, our team members made personal commitments to accommodate other projects in the area by facilitating regular and accurate communication of upcoming schedules.By continuing to actively pursue optimal scheduling windows from 3rd party stakeholders (in lieu of holding on to our original work plan), we were able to navigate an extremely congested corridor and complete our schedule.
What dangers and risks did you encounter, and describe any extraordinary methods used to keep workers safe?
This high profile job was completed with zero claims and lost time incidents. This project received ZERO claims from the public and no complaints from residents. All issues were resolved within 24 hours. In addition to standard Safety Practices outlined below, this project mandated extraordinary safety and protections in place for pedestrian, cyclists and vehicle protection during construction. Our commitment to make safety our number one priority begins with our President Mike Ghilotti’s full participation in promoting, administering and reviewing all aspects of our program on a weekly basis as leader of our Corporate Safety Committee. As a group, meetings are monthly and include our Corporate Safety Director, Vice President of Construction, Vice President of Operations, Human Resources Director and staff employees from various departments including craftspeople and field supervisors. In addition to the Safety Committee, the following controls are in place:
- • GBI has a full-time Safety Director with two (2) additional support staff.
- • GBI has a written HASP (Health and Safety Plan) and Injury & Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP). GBI maintains a drug and alcohol policy, which includes pre-hire, post-accident and random drug testing.
- • GBI crews conduct Job Safety Analysis (JSA) daily including site safety huddles used to recognize, discuss, plan and overcome site specific safety issues identified each day.
- • GBI utilizes peer review and oversight by our insurance company for regular and unannounced site inspections to augment our own internal monitoring.
- • GBI continuously trains our supervisors to maintain a safe jobsite. Supervisors are trained in CPR, first aid for emergency care and certified with an OSHA 10-hour construction safety course.
- • GBI conducts Job Hazard Analyses (JHA’s) in our project In-House Planning Meetings to identify, plan and engineer solutions to potential jobsite hazards.
- • GBI holds six (6) safety-specific company-wide meetings annually. Every employee, regardless of their role in the company, is expected to attend.
How did you leverage new technologies to work faster and reduce waste?
On this project, we implemented using a belt fed sand delivery system. This enabled us to use native material from the city for sidewalk sub-grades. The native, recycled materials came from existing inner-city construction projects that had material removals. GBI then took these unwanted materials and recycled them into the Castro StreetScape Project.
In the interest of Quality Control, our team used a multiplex grade control system on our milling machine (grinder). We paved back with a grade control system on our paving machines to ensure a smoother driving surface over time. This enabled us to work faster as this system eliminated the need for a grade checker.
Additionally, we were able to offer time/money saving solutions to the owners of the project. During the construction of the new curb and gutter, it was discovered that the existing roadway was substantially higher than the curb and gutter throughout the alignment. Since the sidewalks had to drain away from the buildings, it was determined that the roadway needed to be lowered. Also, a redesign of the curb and gutter was required. Instead of writing a new contract and RFI and waiting for the redesign, the contractor and Department of Public Works (DPW) agreed to utilize the contract to assist with redesign. Beginning immediately, the contractor and DPW began to work through the issues, modifying the curb and gutter to achieve drainage while minimizing the amount of roadway that had to be lowered. Had the issue proceeded through standard RFI and owner redesign, the delays would have impacted the project schedule and caused additional cost for installing temporary measures to allow the planned festivities to take place.
And finally, an unknown underground utility conflict required a re-alignment and some of the fittings were used. The minimal investment up front paid off and minimized schedule impacts that would have occurred had these parts not been on hand and ready to install. Another example of “outside of the box” creativity was our Team’s ability to overcome the long lead time for Overhead Contact System (OCS) materials. Our project scope included reconstructing the OCS System that powers the electric MUNI transit buses that travel the streets of San Francisco. This material is made by only two manufacturers and takes 22 weeks to fabricate. With the amount of time it takes to obtain the material and perform the reconstruction of the material it was likely that the project would not complete on time. Also, in order to perform the OCS work, the system had to be shutdown and MUNI had to supply a diesel bus substitution to allow transit operations to continue. The contract allowed for a set number consecutive diesel bus substitution days and much of the other work on the project also needed to happen while the OCS system was de-energized. Our team figured out a way to utilize portions of materials SFMTA had on hand to allow for early construction of a portion of the system. Our team then figured out a way of breaking up the OCS work and the de-energization and diesel bus substitution to allow for a portion of the reconstruction of the OCS system to occur early and simultaneously with other roadway work that needed to take place while the OCS was de-energized. This greatly reduced the potential time impact to the project schedule as well as the cost of the diesel bus substitution.