24hr-7day Work Schedule. Projects inevitably get delayed; failure to effectively mitigate the delays will raise the fire of the community and cause negative political reactions. Aside from cost considerations, is the implementation of a 24hr-7day work schedule feasible when it is clear that completion date will be exceeded by, say 120-days?
There are several aspects to consider in going to extended work hours on construction projects which can be categorized into three groups: production, cost and safety. We'll focus on production since that is the point of this question.
A contractor's production rate is influenced by numerous factors including the size of a contractor's trained work force, type of work being performed, available equipment, available materials and work flow at the construction site. Some materials, such as traffic signal poles, are fabricated on the mainland and can require up to 9 months for fabrication and delivery to Guam. Since the roads must remain open to traffic during construction, the work flow (and schedule) is driven by the work zones that can be safely created and maintained while keeping traffic flowing and maintaining access to properties along a project.
The type of work is also important. On the Tri-intersection project, for example, the roadway is being reconstructed with concrete pavement. The work flow involves storm drain improvements with new pipes installed under the roadway. Several conflicts with undocumented utilities have led to minor delays in order to design work-arounds to these conflicts and get the new pipes in place. The concrete pavement must then be placed in full travel lane widths and allowed to properly cure. All work in the travel lanes of a traffic phase must be complete prior to shifting traffic to the next phase to allow lanes to safely remain open. So working 24-7 on a project is not always the best solution to complete the project quickly – it depends on the circumstances.
A final point is that the contractor has a certain number of working days to complete a project, as defined in the contract. DPW uses a liquidated damages clause in our contracts to ensure timely completion – a set daily amount that will be deducted from payments due to a contractor for every day the completion is late. This approach and liquidated damage amounts are prescribed by the FHWA. As conflicts or issues arise that are not the fault of the contractor, time may be added to the contract duration for specifically justified reasons through a change order to the contract. This provides the additional time for the contractor to complete the work (for the changed conditions) as agreed to by DPW.
The DPW could come to agreement with a contractor to accelerate a project schedule, provided the work flow (as described above) is commensurate with the acceleration. Schedule acceleration, including extended work hours, for the Tri-intersection is being analyzed by DPW as the workflow permits. Such an opportunity would generally occur after the storm drain and conflicting utility work is complete.
In view of the criticalness of the Tri-Intersection, is any phase of the Tri-Intersection project slated for a 24-7 work schedule to minimize traffic impacts?
The DPW is actively working to improve traffic flow and property access in the current phase. These efforts include meeting with property owners/occupants, the Guam police and fire departments, the Barrigada Mayor's office and the contractor to make adjustments to the current traffic control and work site to enhance operations and access.
For subsequent phases, efforts are underway to examine work flow, improve property/business access and traffic flows and to accelerate construction to complete work within the travel lanes as quickly as possible. These efforts involve working with the contractor on work flow and production rates to determine if extended work hours (up to and including a 24-7 operation) is feasible and would deliver the project substantially faster.