An Interview with a Confidential Emeryville Client Project Team, where collaboration was the key to their success.

Collaboration is vital on any construction project. As we continue to shine a light on Safety this week, we would be remiss not to share a Case Study highlighting the benefits of when teams collaborate and problem solve—great things happen.

Over the last few months, Dome’s Confidential Emeryville Client Project Team enlisted help from our Safety Team to plan and mitigate safety challenges that would arise throughout the project. The teamwork and collaboration applied to overcoming these challenges are the heart and soul of the success they have experienced over the last months.

To better understand the synergy between the participants, we met with both the Dome Safety Team: Brent Miller, Director of Risk Management, Frank Zamora, Safety Officer. Along with the Client Project Team: Jerry Chavez, Group Superintendent, Kaysen Brennan, Senior Project Manager, and Lauren Mullins, Field Engineer, to learn just what it took to overcome these challenges.

The Safety Team’s purpose and the strong suit have always focused on being a resource. Providing support and guidance to our teams in the field, which only enhanced the performance of the already strong Client project team and their approach to safety. Early on, the Client project team, led by Group Superintendent Jerry Chavez and Sr. Project Manager, Kaysen Brennen leaned into this notion that “there is no I in team.” This approach allowed the space for collaboration, and ultimately the union of two teams becoming one. Brent Miller, Director of Risk Management, noted, “there are no two separate teams here; we are one team.” Brent goes on to add, “Working with this team was particularly rewarding because of how they were able to handle the tough challenges thrown their way. Together we have been able to figure out how to understand best what the challenges were and how to overcome them.”

The location of the Client posed some unique challenges to the team. Located in downtown Emeryville in a heavily trafficked residential area was a big one, especially with multiple planned crane lifts that need to take place throughout the project. Before the start of the project, Jerry Chavez asked what the job’s biggest challenge was going to be, and the team unanimously said the crane pick because of the additional coordination with the city, the surrounding tenants, and the high-traffic location.

“What helped us succeed was working with the Safety Team, talking about those challenges early, producing a plan, vetting it through not only the landlord, but everyone involved.”, Kaysen Brennan explained. “We got input from the residents, and we worked with them to have the plan that fit their needs as well. Getting in early and communicating with everyone to make sure everyone was on the same page helped make this a smooth effort for everyone.” Kaysen went on to explain the importance of early communication with the city, “It took a lot of early coordination with the city to get the permits even to have the crane lift and second, the coordination with the residents, which thankfully the residents were very accommodating during this entire process. There have been many elements of preparation; street closers, getting residents to move out of their apartments for a day when everyone is working from home.” What made this process with the residents so smooth was their ability to clearly and effectively communicate with the landlords what was happening, making sure everyone knew what was coming.

Frank Zamora shared that the biggest challenge of the crane pic was the logistics of the location, “This is a newly developed area, residential, lots of foot traffic and parking because of the tenants. There were a lot of outside factors that were outside of the normal scope of safety hazards.” Having to work with the city of Emeryville also added some challenges to completing this project. Frank went on to explain, “Emeryville is stringent on the process, and we had to make sure we met every requirement that they were asking for.” Kaysen and Jerry also shared that working through the permit process during this project of getting everything lined up to code was a first for both when preparing for this crane lift.

Frank highlighted how well Jerry and the team did to address these challenges and make things go flawless. The mindset of thinking through everything to ensure tasks were completed safely was vital for this team. “Do It Right” rang true for this project and team from the very beginning.

There have been two keys to the success of this team, “Number one, the team started early, and number two, the team did a great job with that communication process. They came up with some outlines, and the way that they approached a careful and thorough communication with everyone involved.”

The communication that the project team had with the trade partners throughout the process has also been exceptional. Frank Zamora highlights, “I really appreciated Jerry and the team’s ability to communicate expectations with the trade partners and getting their engagement and buy-in early. Jerry did a fantastic job of sending over the paperwork to the trades to get everyone on board and flesh out anything that was of concern, which was a huge piece of success for the first Crane Lift and the same process will definitely pay off on the second one.”

Jerry had nothing but admiration for the support they received from the safety team, “everyone pulled through together and helped out.”

Teamwork has been at the center of the project and has paid off tremendously so far. The project team made an early engagement for support from the safety team and has been great about continuing those conversations throughout the project. Brent shared, “we were able to learn what they wanted to accomplish quickly, looked around the project location and took that information to come back to the team with our recommended plan of action for them. The project team also set up an in-person meeting to share are all the aspects to think about that we need to cover.” The team has had a “Seek to understand” philosophy, not assuming they know everything but coming together to seek to understand from each other.

Kaysen shared, “the nice thing has been when we shared the challenge of the crane lift, the Safety Team jumped right on it. There was no hesitation from the team when we asked; they set up a meeting right away to talk through it, walk the site – the response time with the safety time has been great and a huge part of our success here. It’s very much appreciated.” Frank added, “the team aspect is very critical. We can click when we all get involved.”

As the team gears up for their second and more challenging crane lift, another set of challenges arises, as with every crane lift. Weather conditions change, the crew changes, and you must go over every detail in your plan and take your time. Frank highlighted that the best thing everyone can do while approaching this lift is, “Making sure everyone is focused and that everyone stays the course it that we can get it done safely.” The next lift will have more visibility, more eyes on the lift, and safety support.

We wish the Client project team luck with this next crane lift and know that with their early planning and communication habits, they have what it takes to make it successful! Keep up the great work!

Thank you to our Project and Safety Team Contributors