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The Stronger the Wind, The Stronger the Tree

We are nearing the 4-month mark of the Mosaic Centre project and are knee-deep in details now. Last week I wrote about potholes that were showing up in the process by way of unforeseen discrepancies.

I was blessed with a full-on sinkhole when discussing the finer points of the atrium glazing. What I considered included within the scope of atrium glazing differed greatly from Mark, the Project Manager. The ‘scope’ of the discrepancy amounted to $75, 000—a considerable difference in budget. We discussed further and adjourned our discussion on the agreement that we would collect more information and reconvene (admittedly an avoidance tactic at the time).

What has transpired over the last week has renewed my steadfast, although slightly shaken, certainty in the IPD process. As it turns out, the IPD target cost budget did indeed include the atrium glazing and the issue was merely a miscommunication between Mark and Tyler, the estimator. Furthermore, the resolution of this pickle seemed to reinvigorate the team and sparked some life into a team that has recently been beat up by daily rainouts.

The matter of the atrium glazing turned out to be no matter at all; however, it proved to be a test for what this team has built—a culture. See, I believe that, sometimes, healthy project teams need storms to strengthen them, not unlike a healthy tree. Without wind to challenge and strengthen their fibers, trees would topple over under their own weight. Working through the perceived issue with mutual respect and a deep level of trust in the process further strengthened our relationships in a situation where traditional project teams would have easily defaulted to patterned industry behavior.

No sharp objects were thrown, or f-bombs chucked. At the end of the day, Mark and I simply nodded to each other and acknowledged what had just transpired.

Dennis Cuku

Dennis is a Mechanical Engineer with expertise in drilling rig design and is acting President of Oil Country Engineering. Paradoxically, his passion lies in the arena of sustainable building design and green building innovation. Dennis’ recent project, The Mosaic Centre, is slated for completion in May 2015 and aims to be the crown jewel of sustainable building in Edmonton becoming the first Net-Zero energy commercial office building in Alberta; an example of Alberta’s oil and gas abundance igniting innovative sustainable projects.

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