Creating an environment that fosters fuid communication and respect for others are elements that JE Dunn aims to achieve on all projects. However, open communication is often diffcult to capture on a rapidly moving job site. Our team at The Mix student housing project learned exactly how impactful open communication can be for project teams, budget and schedule. The Mix is a 26-story, 478,717 SF, 227-unit student housing tower, located at the intersection of Piedmont and John Wesley Dobbs Avenues in downtown Atlanta. The project provides privatized student housing for students at Georgia State University. In addition to the housing tower, a 113,500 SF, 233-space parking garage and 4,000 SF RaceTrac convenience store were built on the extremely tight site. Construction began on January 2, 2018 and received substantial completion by July 2, 2019. In 18 months, the JE Dunn team was 100% off The Mix site.
How did the team implement open communication?
1. At the beginning of the project, open lines of communication were encouraged. Whether it was between the internal JE Dunn team or JE Dunn team members and trade partners, everyone was encouraged to be open and honest. This eliminated barriers between the JE Dunn team, architects, owner and trade partners. Each member of the project team
had the ability to confdently speak up. The team notes that positive attitudes and a sense of open mindedness from everyone created an environment that allowed members to speak up without fear of a negative response.
“…the team got together, collaborated on issues at hand and came to an agreement with the entire team...” – Trade Partner Superintendent
2. Creating a lean culture was the team’s focus from day one. Each member of the JE Dunn team, from project engineers to superintendents, were bought into the entire lean process. This consistent message from the entire JE Dunn team allowed for smoother implementation and greater buy in from each trade partner.
3. No one was ‘married’ to any process. The team was always willing to change and adjust how they were doing things based on the current state of the project. The Mix team learned that processes are not one size fits all and need to be tweaked and adjusted based on each situation.
“In a way it could have been the procedures, but it ultimately comes down to the people involved and being able to work through issues (opportunities) without negativity and threats seen way too often in our business these days” – Trade Partner Superintendent
4. Every trade partner and team member was held to the same standard, no matter the circumstance, from the JE Dunn team. This allowed the teams to develop transparency and set expectations early. As a result of these practices, trade partners note that they truly cared about the success of the project.
“The key in my opinion was the teamwork and communication we as superintendents were able to have.” - Trade Partner Superintendent
5. The team made everyone aware of mistakes that occurred on the site and they all worked together to fnd solutions and get the job done.
“JE Dunn would talk through problems and see what could be done to help the project as a whole instead of placing the problems on the trade partner.”
– Trade Partner Project Manager