Managing a Bond Program Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

We were able to keep a major bond program operating on time through the pandemic by relying on our core principles of adaptability, safety and transparency.

As we neared the middle of our time overseeing Fort Worth ISD’s 2017 Bond Program, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., rapidly spreading across the country.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott deemed construction an essential business, so the program, in the thick of renovations on 17 campuses, carried on.

Like every industry, it altered the way we work and created unexpected challenges that changed daily. So, we doubled down on our core principles of adaptability, safety, and transparency, enabling us to keep the $750 Million Bond Program running and running on time.

We’re used to solving problems, but COVID added a layer of complexity that we’ve had to overcome.

The challenges ranged from managing projects remotely to developing and implementing additional safety protocols and regularly rephasing projects in response to shortages.

On March 14, 2020, Jim Jacobs, CEO of PROCEDEO’s parent company CORE Construction, started sending routine emails updating our teams about the status of COVID and the proactive measures everyone should take to maintain safe environments and anticipate roadblocks ahead.

“I want to make sure that none of you feel like you’re on an island.”

That mentality permeated throughout PROCEDEO.

We pride ourselves on outstanding communication. We ramped it up to maintain clarity throughout an ever-changing landscape, ensuring that our clients and partners were aware of our adjustments and the thought process behind them.

We implemented protective protocol and guidelines based on recommendations from the CDC, OSHA and local healthcare guidelines.

Among the many standards instituted were:

  • face mask requirements
  • extra cleanings of high-touch areas
  • remote work for 50 percent of office staff
  • campus notification procedures in the case of any COVID contractions and measures to control spread

While we were rigorous in enforcing protocols, we also had to be flexible when it came to project phases.

With Fort Worth ISD closing campuses for several months, we used the time to our advantage, adjusting plans and getting ahead on many phases.

However, we also faced unusual material and equipment shortages that impeded progress on other fronts. For example, theater seating became a significant problem because the workers that manufacture them were not deemed essential, so production came to a halt.

“They’re different challenges than we’d ever seen.”

In instances where pieces, like boiler chillers, were back-ordered for six months or more, we advised our partners to procure parts that could be installed immediately and swapped out later when the original orders arrived.

Weekly meetings previously held on the job site were conducted virtually, making thoughtful communication between contractors and our project managers paramount.

Through an integrative approach that involved every stakeholder, we continued to serve campuses and keep the bond program on track even in the most trying times.

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