When Columbia was given the green light to start a tenant fit-out project in a downtown Boston high-rise a few weeks into the pandemic, we were excited to take on the challenge, but we knew that we would need to adapt our existing process. The Columbia project team worked closely with the building owner to determine how to safely work within the high-rise, while nine other projects ran simultaneously.
To minimize unnecessary exposure, Boston Properties assigned each team a time slot for entering the building each day. Additionally, Columbia superintendent, Paul Sullivan, quickly determined that communication would be vital to successfully navigating the situation. Everyone onsite would need to be educated to keep one another safe. Columbia also led a COVID stand down. Paul spoke with all subcontractor foremen before the project’s start to clearly communicate all protocols and procedures in place to protect everyone on site. Throughout the project’s duration, socially distanced meetings were held regularly to keep the entire team informed. This communication led to a cohesive job site where protocols were closely followed, and Columbia earned the subcontractor team’s trust to keep them safe.
In addition to Columbia’s modifications, the client and architect also chose to meet with the onsite team remotely, forgoing the in-person walkthroughs they would typically participate in. Like any other project, it was important for the architect to document and understand the project’s progress regularly. Through a virtual walkthrough program, OpenSpace, Columbia was able to give them the ability to view the site without ever stepping foot in the building. The footage was captured via a 360-degree camera that was mounted on a hard hat. The footage was then transferred to an app that allowed users to virtually walk the site and see the space from every angle. Columbia updated the app weekly, which gave our onsite partners 24/7 access to the project while also easily documenting progress and reference previous conditions. Most importantly, OpenSpace facilitated effective communication within the project team by giving onsite and virtual team members the same visual while resolving any issues. Working within a high-rise during the pandemic was successful because the onsite team felt safe and protected, and the offsite partners were able to communicate effectively and monitor progress while avoiding exposure.
"The project looks great. The OpenSpace videos have been very informative and helped us all to reduce our site visits - Architectural & Engineering team, owners, and project managers alike.”
- Jeanne Kopacz, Leggat McCall Properties
“One way we’ve been proactive in our approach to COVID-19 is utilizing the Tapple QR code system. We can provide each job site with its own unique QR code that workers and visitors can scan with their cell phone, prompting them to answer a series of questions relating to current COVID guidelines. We can track all personnel and see whether they’ve been cleared to enter or not based on their answers. Also, each site is set up with a COVID-19 Check-In Station where everyone is temperature screened before entering."
- Carly Hayden, Safety Manager