By Camilla Cok and Mike Meade
The new 800-foot extension of Portland International Airport’s Concourse E is slated to open this summer, the culmination of six years of design and construction. In Oregon, construction is designated an essential activity, allowing projects like these to move forward. But along with construction comes construction administration, or CA, by the design team — an in-person activity. How do you conduct safe site visits while practicing physical distancing?
CA is an inherently collaborative process that requires constant, clear communication. Our team is very large — much larger than many projects, with a design team of more than 30 consultants, including our Denver-based design partner Fentress Architects, and more than a dozen airport stakeholders. So, keeping people engaged and in the loop about what is happening on site each week has always been important.
During CA, owner/architect/contractor (OAC) site walks allow for efficient real-time quality control and problem-solving. When physical distancing guidelines were first rolled out, the OAC site walk was immediately limited to once a week, with a smaller-than-typical group all wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart. To include more team members, we incorporated a virtual meeting component broadcast via iPad and Microsoft Teams. Participants join remotely and interact with the on-site team from their home office.