Runway Job Earns Partnering Award for Costello

Wed May 10, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Not only did Costello Industries prove there’s no “I” in team, it proved there’s no helicopter flight delays in team, either.

With a tight deadline that couldn’t affect operations at Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville, FL, the Atlanta-based contractor had to work with its subcontractors and the U.S. Navy as team to get the job done right.

And for its efforts, the Associated General Contractors (AGC) awarded Costello its most prestigious award for partnering — the 2005 Marvin M. Black Excellence in Partnership Award.

Work on the $3.4-million project to repair the naval air station’s concrete and asphalt runway began in July 2004.

The facility is a key link among the Navy’s military facilities, as it is home to the John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier and task force, as well as its helicopter squadrons.

Costello officials focused on scheduling and phasing early in the planning stages.

Originally, a 180-day plan was proposed that would have significantly affected operations.

But all parties involved agreed to give and take a little and a new plan was agreed upon.

Costello and its subcontractors agreed to work nights and weekends at no additional cost and squadrons reworked their training schedules to allow for more three-day weekends. In addition, instead of removing and replacing damaged portions of the runway, Costello received permission to use grinding, which Rick Brockman, president of Costello Southeast said saved several weeks.

The crew was able to clear grinders from the site in a half-hour. If workers had replaced the concrete, they would have had to wait for it to cure before the site was usable.

It also was one of the first projects of its size to use WEBCM, an electronic construction management program that required all correspondence to be uploaded.

“All jobs should come out like this, but especially when it involves the defense of our country during these troubled times,” said Frank Costello, the contractor’s CEO. “We are grateful to the Navy personnel at Mayport for their extraordinary efforts — they should be proud and share in this award. It’s all about partnering, and that means we couldn’t have done it alone.”

While the goals of partnering may seem obvious to the layman, cooperation and working toward a common goal is never automatic. Costello and the Navy set forth a “partnering action plan,” also called a partnering charter, at the start of the project and revisited it throughout. Everyone was considered a “stakeholder” in the outcome of the job. Possible delaying factors and design challenges were addressed and the Navy, Costello, subcontractors and vendors all signed onto the goals.

“My crews and subcontractors worked with those goals always in mind,” said Rick Brockman, president of Costello Southeast. “The team simply wanted to work this project in the safest, most cost effective and cooperative manner.”

Safety also is a main goal in partnering.

“The Costello team melded seamlessly with the Naval Aviation Safety culture already in place at Mayport Air Operations,” said Mayport Commander David Dahl, air operations officer. “Hazard identification and elimination on this project was flawless.”

National security played a role in planning the details of this project, too.

With a large number of asphalt, concrete and other trucks making rounds to and from the base each day, Navy officials were concerned about security. But the contractor couldn’t let the trucks encounter long delays at the entrance gates.

The sides met halfway.

Each morning, following an initial inspection, a different placard was issued to each truck at the plant prior to leaving for the naval air station. At the end of each day, the placards were all collected. A worker at the plant alerted base security each time a truck departed for the site.

If any truck went out of rotation for any reason, it was denied access to the base.

Additionally, a permanent access road was built from the contractor’s gate to the runway for easy entrance to the site at no additional cost to the owner, which kept construction traffic separate from normal base traffic.

The atmosphere of partnership created a good working environment and allowed the crew to complete the task 60 days early. Work wrapped up Feb. 2, 2005.

All contractors on the job reported making a profit and the work was done within its budget.

Contractors also completed various other jobs at the base outside of the scope of the contract. They repaired a concrete fuel berm, repaired pot holes throughout the base with material milled from the runway and repaired the construction roadway. CEG Staff