By Lindsey Mikeska, GROW Houston Communications, Houston, Texas
Members of GROW Houston recently participated in Girls Inc. of Greater Houston’s first-ever Project Playhouse, an event that challenges area businesses to design and build small playhouses to be auctioned off for charity. Founded in 1995, Girls Inc. of Greater Houston is a nonprofit organization that provides programs for area girls ages 6-18 focused on math and science, health and wellness, economic literacy and leadership.
In true One Fluor fashion, volunteers from GROW Houston and AMECO joined forces to safely and efficiently deliver this worthwhile – not to mention fun – project.
The team approached the playhouse design with a construction-driven mindset, paying particular attention to the logistical effort required to safely transport the finished playhouse to its final destination. Once planning was complete and the team entered the construction phase, it was faced with productivity challenges commonly seen on some of Fluor's larger scale projects. For example, the team was reminded of the importance of sequencing. Volunteers noted that they could paint posts and beams much more efficiently before assembling the panels rather than afterwards. The team also quickly learned the importance of Workface Planning – an industry term for the creation of small, well defined, Field Installation Work Packages for the construction workforce – and being smart about where the work was done. Painting ceiling panels, for example, is much easier and more efficient when performed on the ground, prior to installation.
As one might imagine, a small playhouse filled with volunteers can make for quite a congested site. Worker density issues arose, but were mitigated by planning the work fronts and monitoring each craft discipline to make sure that one was not making progress at the expense of another.
In addition to providing tools and equipment to execute the project, the AMECO team safely executed a series of moves, each posing unique logistical challenges. The AMECO team relocated the finished playhouse on four separate occasions: from the off-campus build site to the Fluor campus for display, from the Fluor campus to downtown Houston for auction and display, from downtown Houston to the AMECO warehouse and finally, from the warehouse to the winner’s backyard. AMECO’s responsiveness and ability to bring the right resources to solve problems was invaluable.
As with any of Fluor's projects, the ultimate goal is a happy Customer. In this case, after a spirited auction, the playhouse was purchased by a member of the Girls Inc. board who was so pleased with the finished product that she is already asking for repeat business.
Special thanks to Katie Menegaz for leading the team of volunteers, Denis Menegaz for his guidance and for providing a location to complete the build, and the entire team involved in the effort.
- Katie Menegaz (Lead)
- Denis Menegaz
- Mickie Kamp
- Mandy Kamp
- Janet True
- Nancy Kralik
- Shilpa Devela
- Craig Wright (Lead)
- Carlos Hernandez
- David Grace
- Eric Luna
If Project Playhouse sounds like something you would be interested in, please contact Janet True at ext. 2118 for more information on future community outreach opportunities our visit the GROW Houston Connections Community.