Construction Management During Times Of Covid

By Don Poletski, P.E., and Molly Nause-McCord for the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services; Rick Attanasio, P.E., for Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.

A successfully executed project comes down to its team. Close coordination among contractors, construction managers, inspection and safety staff, and suppliers is key to a successful, safe, efficient, and innovative project. However, it is 2020, and COVID-19 dictates that social distancing requirements be met, which means the traditional in-person weekly, construction, safety, and planning meetings must be replaced with virtual ones. These requirements compound in the field, where close site coordination and physical work must still be done. How does a construction team adapt management techniques during a pandemic?

The City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) began planning and design in 2012 for the rehabilitation of the 114-year-old brick sewer known as “Taggart Outfall” in Portland, Oregon. This project rehabilitated 3,700 feet of large-diameter brick tunnel — from 58 to 120 inches in diameter with depths varying from 20 to 100 feet — that occasionally runs under buildings and other features. The project was designed by Jacobs Engineering Group, with construction management and inspection provided by the City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services. The rehabilitation of the pipe was achieved via sliplining using a fiberglass-reinforced pipe (FRP). Only one viable location existed for the pipe insertion shaft; from that single point of entry, sliplining sections needed to be threaded through three major bends and a section of previously installed tunnel liner plate.