Building upon Time-Honored Tradition at South Forsyth High
Balfour Beatty completed 101,000 square feet of additions and 260,000 square feet of renovations at South Forsyth High School months ahead of schedule and hundreds of thousands of dollars under budget—a level of success only fitting for one of the top rated high school in Georgia. From preconstruction through final closeout, Balfour Beatty developed customized schedule, site and safety solutions that transformed the school while richly rewarding both the owner and project team members in the process.
Setting a Foundation
As eager as we were to get the project rolling, there were some important numbers to square away first. The project was $2 million over budget—that was, until our preconstruction team applied their value engineering expertise. In just six weeks, we got the project within budget without reducing the client’s new construction program requirements.
Building upon that success, Balfour Beatty conducted a SmartStart® session, clearing the path for new partners to engage and align before construction began. Despite the fact that Forsyth County Schools was new client for Balfour Beatty, and our team had not previously partnered with project architect, Manley Spangler Smith, the collective team was able to establish mutual goals and expectations thanks to SmartStart. Before the first shovel hit dirt, each party possessed a thorough understanding of the client’s needs and values, resulting in a smooth, successful and immensely gratifying construction process.
Scheduling for Success
By re-phasing and re-sequencing the project to maximize the activities that could occur over the summer months of 2015 and 2016, while the campus was unoccupied, Balfour Beatty slashed an impressive 10 months off the schedule and saved the owner $750,000 off the total construction costs. Pull planning was used extensively in this project, allowing the project team to identify and address critical path activities. In addition, Balfour Beatty and our subcontractors, in a true partnership effort, were able to allocate resources to allow construction work to take place concurrently in all areas under renovation. The support of South Forsyth High School’s leadership and staff was instrumental during this process and enabled work to occur in occupied campus areas—a critical component to achieving an early project turnover.
Undertaking the Unknown
For construction professionals, underground utilities are out of sight but never out of mind. At South Forsyth High School, Balfour Beatty was tasked with re-routing and re-installing all major below-ground utilities feeding the existing buildings on the 68.9-acre site. Gas, water, fire, electrical and sanitary—it all had to be relocated within less than favorable rock and soil conditions to accommodate the new additions. To complicate matters, the team did not have access to as-builts of the school, and land surveys could only be completed while the school was vacant—a major obstacle considering the campus was occupied more than 80% of the school year. Despite these challenges, Balfour Beatty completed this major utilities undertaking in an impressive eight weeks.
Prioritizing Pedestrian Safety
Working with the knowledge of their intrinsic space restrictions for access, materials deliveries and storage, the project team made a proactive decision at the outset of the project to conduct the greatest degree of work possible when the site was unoccupied. But even more important, this decision helped protect the more than 3,000 students who call South Forsyth their home away from home. As always, safety was Balfour Beatty’s number one priority on this job. The project team worked closely with the school’s principal to assess and implement new traffic and pedestrian flow plans and met on a weekly basis with key school administrators to maintain clear and consistent lines of communication. In a testament to the team’s devotion to Zero Harm, the project recorded close to 250,000 man hours with a zero recordable incident rate.
Behind these impressive stories is a passion for enriching the lives of South Forsyth students and the talented educators who inspire them. Today, the quality of the project is a reflection of the South Forsyth War Eagle’s pride and time-honored tradition already evident on campus. Balfour Beatty is privileged to have built a best-in-class high school that will continue to delight students, faculty and the community for years to come.