By Crystal Leto
The EMC 219 8th Street Neumann Brothers project team was presented with the WORKSAFE Project of the Year Award on February 28, 2018 during the Master Builders of Iowa annual winter conference in recognition of their safety efforts and focus on EMC Insurance Companies’ newest addition to their campus. The project included construction of the new five-story, 106,000 SF building located at 219 8th Street in the heart of downtown Des Moines.
Above, left to right: Project Safety Director Alec Schaufenbuel, Project Engineer Sean Sample, Project Superintendent Henry Putney, Project Manager Mark Thompson and Project Foreman Kevin Cherry.
According to Master Builders of Iowa’s website, the WORKSAFE Project of the Year Award recognizes companies managing enrolled WORKSAFE Projects for “significantly promoting, training and recognizing best safety practices on their site through the duration of the project” and “making it their mission to increase the visibility and effectiveness of worker safety in the built environment.”
This project required collaboration and communication with all members of the team – from the Owner to the Subcontractors and Vendors. The team worked from day one to create a culture of safety, where the participation of all parties on the project was more than an expectation to be met – it was truly valued.
“Building in a downtown environment is never easy. Building in a tight, congested, urban site while tying into and renovating two occupied facilities is even more of a challenge,” said Project Manager Mark Thompson. “Our project team and all of our subcontractors contributed to the SAFE and successful execution of this project. Each person took a proactive approach and played a role in creating a culture of safety. Company-wide, we continue to develop protocols, implement best practices, and raise the bar on every project.”
The EMC 219 8th Street addition was constructed on a congested downtown street and tied into two existing buildings and the skywalk. The safety of our construction personnel, occupants of the building, pedestrians and motorists was a top priority for our team. Adding to the complex nature of this project, other construction teams were also using the same closed off streets to complete their projects which required cooperation and coordination among teams.
Project Engineer Sean Sample said “We’ve developed a strong relationship with EMC over the years and they’re great to work with. It was a privilege to be part of safely and efficiently making a project that is so important to them reality.”
Our team met with the Owner before beginning construction to establish best practices for the project. These included a 2-hour fire watch policy, weekly team meetings focused on safety and work coordination, monthly consultations with OSHA and daily safety huddles with the entire team where team members were encouraged to share their concerns. The result was an open, proactive environment where potential issues were addressed as a team.
“We were fortunate to have a great group of subcontractors on the project; it was really a team effort in everything we did,” Thompson said during an interview with Master Builders of Iowa (video below). “We had an Owner who was very involved and obviously, being an insurance company, very engaged in the safety factor.”
Congratulations to the project team and everyone involved in the successful, safe delivery of the EMC 219 8th Street project!