A Week in Review

 

Last week the Growing Green Design Project Build Team had one eye on the task at hand, and another firmly fixated on weeks to come. Hard work get projects done. Solid planning gets projects done right. Planning ahead gets projects done on time.

Welding jigs for the design’s nine primary trusses were built, tweaked and rebuilt—setting in motion the fabrication of the outer frame, stacks of steel plates were cut and drilled for the frame that will eventually support the outer skin, and mock-ups of the major shelving units were cut, grinded and assembled—a mock-up that project coordinator Tim Gray called beautiful.

Achieving build goals, and hitting deadlines this early on will prove crucial in the latter stages of the project. Given the scale and timeframe of the design, setbacks now could spell serious trouble down the line. As one team member put it,

We want to make good decisions early on, so that when it comes to the end of the build we aren’t worried about cutting corners or trying to hurry. We don’t want to have to worry about having enough time or materials.

Many on the design team spent last semester working on the design elements for this build project, meaning that once the project is finished they will have put nearly a year’s effort into designing and assembling. With so much time already invested into the build, the team knows the designs inside and out, and although many of them have little experience with some of the tools and machinery, they are able to make quick progress by delegating tasks and tackling big decisions as a team.

At one point last week things hit a snag. Work was beginning on the first of nine trusses. The outer frame was complete, and the team was preparing to weld the last of a four smaller lengths of steel along the top of the truss.

One piece however, was backwards. It had been cut at the wrong angle. Quickly it was quick-solve-crisis-mode. A five-minute break was called as everyone gathered in the center of the workshop, hands on hips, looking up at the near-completed truss.
The issue: whether to cut a new piece of steel, follow the original plans and waste the material from the first cut or alter the design to accommodate the ill-cut piece of steel and save on material.

Ideas were tossed out, pros and cons were weighed. At one point the buck is passed to Project Coordinator Tim, who notes that the original way was chosen for its structural integrity, before deferring back to the build team.

Three minutes into the five minute break a vote is cast. The original design prevails. In an instant two team members break off to measure, cut and grind a new piece of steel, two more break off to adjust the jig and place the existing truss, others file off to drill holes, grind ends or touch-up drawings. No time is wasted.

Efficiency is key for the Growing Green Design Project Build Team. The clock is always ticking.

 

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