Training Top 125 Best Practice: Finish Strong at Gilbane Building Company
Project closeout long has been an issue on construction projects. As part of Gilbane University’s (GU) continuous improvement process, Gilbane Building Company’s existing “Project Closeout” instructor-led course was targeted for revision. GU reached out to Gilbane’s business unit quality managers and business unit managers of engineering for input as part of a needs analysis to review the benefits and effectiveness of the existing course to the company’s closeout efforts.
Project Closeout was developed as a tactical course intended to increase participants’ knowledge of company standard closeout procedures. This was perceived as the major cause of previous closeout failures. However, during the needs analysis, additional root causes of closeout failures were identified. It was concluded that closeout failures also could be attributed to failed communication, lack of partnering, and lack of early planning.
The results of this needs analysis altered the purpose and direction of this training effort, and a new instructor-led course, “Finish Strong: Planning and Executing Strategies for Project Success,” was developed to address and bridge the identified performance gaps of communication, partnering skills, and construction management planning and problem-solving skills.
Finish Strong is an interactive instructor-led course in which participants hone partnering skills and strategize solutions to construction management challenges such as change management, punch list, and phased turnover. Participants review case studies of failed closeout efforts and brainstorm better ways to staff, manage, and turn over projects, and conduct role-plays to practice negotiating tough issues, all while focusing on client satisfaction.
The original Project Closeout course was redeveloped into four self-paced online courses centered on tactical skills employees need to implement Gilbane’s standard closeout procedures. The delivery method was selected to provide just-in-time access to this information, which can be revisited at the point of need.
To date, more than 1,100 employees have completed the course. A Level 3 analysis was conducted to look at the business impact since the training was implemented. The analysis included a participant follow-up survey and comparison of Gilbane’s client survey scores in categories related to Project Closeout and Finish Strong strategies.
The follow-up survey of participants indicated positive findings in each focus area of the course attributable to improving communication, partnering, and planning skills.
- 98 percent of participants believe they have manager’s support to implement Finish Strong strategies.
- 94 percent are reading their Gilbane/Owner contract.
- 93 percent fully understand client expectations for end-of-project milestones.
- 69 percent are proactively taking steps to develop strategies to address project-specific challenges.
Analysis of Client Survey data shows that since implementation of Finish Strong and redevelopment of the four self-paced online courses, seven related categories show improvement by 6 percent or more:
- Punch List and Job Completion
- Startup/Commissioning Coordination
- Construction Planning and Scheduling
- Project Team Effectiveness
- Responsiveness to Schedule
- Responsiveness to Budget
- Keeping You Informed
Gilbane’s Client Survey results for the key question, “How satisfied are you with Gilbane’s performance?” show an increase of 17 percent in the number of surveys received that exceed client expectations since implementation of the training.