From jobsite safety to green building, to utilizing cutting-edge technology, we are committed to our employees, our clients, and the communities where we live and work.
At Wharton-Smith, our first priority is that our construction teams return home safely to their families every night. It doesn’t stop there. When working on occupied sites, our logistics planning includes measures to ensure the safety of school children, visitors and clients. Safety is a companywide effort, it’s everyone’s job!
Our comprehensive safety program includes written programs for Hazard Communication, General Safety and Drug and Alcohol Abuse. The company also has an extensive project safety manual which contains 33 sections pertaining to all areas of jobsite safety.
Our Safety Department has a goal of “Zero Accidents” and our safety record speaks for itself. We have received numerous safety awards since our incorporation, including national awards for Safety Excellence in Construction, Best Overall Safety Program, and annual Platinum and Gold Awards from the prestigious Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Safety Training and Evaluation Process (STEP).
Our comprehensive safety program includes written safety standards that meet or exceed OSHA requirements. We provide classroom and skills training for all of our field personnel and actively pursue and encourage any specialized training that would be of benefit to ensuring a safe environment on all jobsites. We also offer an in-house monthly incentive plan for projects with the best safety record and performance.
Our in-house Sustainable Design and Construction Department includes LEED Accredited Professionals who are trained in all aspects of green construction. We work with clients and design partners to analyze options, develop strategies, and build consensus so that the projects we build provide long-term cost savings and encourage higher user productivity. Wharton-Smith has been a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) since 2007 and has completed over 20 LEED projects, including seven certified LEED Gold.
Our Preconstruction Services Department offers the resources of many years of construction experience and can help project teams dramatically lower life-cycle costs. Whether the goal is LEED, Green Globes, FGBC Certification, or a sustainable project without the LEED documentation process, Wharton-Smith is committed to helping owners achieve their desired level of sustainable construction. Our professionals work closely with the entire project team to develop a custom plan of action that ensures the project not only meets its budget, but also provides a healthy, efficient, and high performance environment.
Wharton-Smith has embraced the use of innovative technologies to provide more efficient workflows in the construction process. One such technology is Building Information Modeling (BIM) used to provide advanced coordination and collaboration during construction. Simply put, BIM applications imitate the building process. Instead of creating two-dimensional (2D) drawings, buildings are modeled from construction elements such as walls, slabs, and roofs. This allows architects and engineers to design projects in the same way they would be built. Where in the past we might have used a light table to layer the drawings and identify conflicts, today we can create a realistic virtual model. This gives the decision makers the ability to see and communicate their ideas and solutions.
We can also add the fourth dimension of time to our drawings by showing the progress of the structure as it relates to the schedule. We call this Value Stream Production Planning in the Wharton-Smith Production System. Now project leaders are able to see the workzone and all of its physical limitations long before we send a crew out. We also use Navisworks Manage, which allows us to bring in fabrication drawings from outside subcontractors, take a virtual tour, and holistically review the integrated model for clashes with all of the stakeholders. Most importantly, it’s the people behind the software that make the difference. We have a seasoned team of professionals in our Virtual Construction Department ready to bring your project to life.
Other technology tools in the Wharton-Smith construction toolbox include drones that give our clients first-hand visual progress, PlanGrid software which allows real-time coordination in the field, and FaceTime technology used to interact virtually with field inspectors. By utilizing these advanced technologies, we are able to streamline our production processes and provide more efficient workflows for a productive jobsite.
Production Planning System
Like any great team, exceptional things are achieved by focusing on the fundamentals. Wharton-Smith believes the fundamentals take place at the crew level. The crew level is where raw materials like concrete and steel are converted into what the Owner and Designer have painstakingly put to paper. And, it’s this conversion process that creates the value that the Owner is looking for.
At Wharton-Smith, when we say “Operations Excellence,” we are talking about our vision for how our work should look at the crew level. It’s summed up in the statement that “every crew on every project effectively and efficiently completes their daily work assignment and production goal free of incident and defect.” It’s about creating a high quality workzone and a high quality crew assignment.
From the beginning of a project, before we even mobilize, the team is assembled to develop the best approach to putting the work in place. Coordination efforts between trades and crews are understood. This in turn allows us to develop those crew assignments and make certain that the workzone is well prepared before they ever start the work. Because it’s so important to start the work out correctly, we are not satisfied to stop with just a good plan. It’s imperative that we go out and observe the work against that plan and take immediate corrective measures when necessary.
In order to capture what we’ve learned, when the activity is completed, it is followed up with an “After Action Review.” This feedback from the crew, along with media content such as videos and pictures, sets the table for continuous improvement. A library of past work is being compiled and accessible to other team across the company.
Owners, designers and subcontractors are benefiting from better pricing, safer project sites, higher quality, and faster project delivery resulting from our Operation Excellence.
“Our Quality Management Program is designed so that a quality culture is instilled in the company. The program is based on the premise that we must plan to produce a consistently high quality product. This culture is something we will always work to maintain and improve upon. Just as our Safety Department has a goal of ‘Zero Accidents’, our Quality Program always strives for ‘Zero Punchlist’ projects.” – Ron Davoli, President, Wharton-Smith