O&G Industries Uses the Latest Technology and Draws on Decades of Expertise
At the top of its class: O&G Industries maintained tight schedule on the 180,000-square-foot middle school in Connecticut.
Completing a $75 million 180,000-square-foot middle school in 15 months is an aggressive schedule. But add in the challenges of building on a possible Native American burial ground, monitoring the endangered box turtle’s habitat and coordinating with an arborist during tree removal, and it becomes one of the most complex projects in Groton, Conn.
“Taking on complex projects is definitely part of what we are known for,” Project Manager Ryan Benoit says. “There isn’t a project we won’t go after or perform. O&G and our partners have experience in every aspect of the construction industry from educational and office buildings to police stations, power and water treatment plants.”
Founded in 1923, O&G has an extensive base of construction project experience spanning various conditions and environments. A family-owned company now in the third generation of ownership, O&G has become one of the leading providers of construction services and products in the Northeast.
“O&G has that old mentality of thinking that if you take care of the people who work for you, they will take care of you back,” Benoit explains. “When I think of O&G that’s what I think of — how well they treat their employees.”
O&G Industries is divided into three divisions: building, which includes anything that comes out of the ground; heavy civil, focusing on bridge and road work; and a materials division. The company maintains one best practice throughout all of its divisions: investing in the latest technology.
“We incorporate newer technology into our processes of managing jobs,” Benoit says. “The big thing we do now is 3-D modeling of every job and for mechanical, electrical and plumbing coordination. It’s no longer a 2-D model and then everyone gets in the field and you have 500 issues. We take care of all that ahead of any work being performed through the coordination process.”
The company also implemented Oracle’s Aconex construction management software to house all of its documents in one place. “We were able to get rid of BIM 360 because through Aconex we can send any size file through the system, which is accessible on iPads in the field,” Benoit explains. “The Groton Middle School project was the first job we rolled Aconex out on.”
O&G is responsible for overseeing the successful completion of Groton, Conn.’s brand-new middle school that will consolidate two middle school buildings into one that meets the needs of the current education system. “Schools are our niche,” Benoit says. “We have done more than 200 throughout our company’s history, including brand-new, remodeled and renovated buildings.”
Groton Middle School sits on 42 acres and is nestled into a hillside so that the second floor of the four-story building serves as the building entrance on the east side. The lower-level floor is the building entrance from the west side and the two are connected by a main concourse.
“This project is roughly $75 million and it’s a 15-month schedule, which is the most aggressive schedule I’ve worked under,” Benoit says. “The Stanford, Conn., police station we recently completed was a $43 million job and we had 24 months to complete it. We are doing twice the work for the middle school in nine months less time. It’s extremely aggressive and we are working a six-day week to meet that schedule.”
The town of Groton was a great partner, Benoit says. “They have a good amount of money for this project, so they planned on additional staffing and supervision costs so we could run six days a week,” he adds.
Benoit says combining the power of Aconex with the buy-in from the town of Groton, the design team, O&G and the subcontractors made the project successful. “To maintain the schedule, we have to keep the flow of the job going so everyone works well together,” Benoit says. “We use the Last Planner System to ensure we aren’t stacking the work and have six subs working the same area, for example. We meet twice a week to review the week’s activities and plan out the next four to six weeks of work and address most problems ahead of us.”
The Groton Middle School site was believed to be a possible Indian burial ground, so O&G had to coordinate its efforts with archaeologists to monitor the area. Although the construction site didn’t turn up much, archaeologists did come across a few artifacts.
Groton is the tree capital of Connecticut, but the middle school project required quite a few trees be removed to open up the space. O&G worked with an arborist to identify which trees could be taken down and which ones had to stay. Benoit said this also required significant coordination.
The site also has wetland areas where the endangered box turtle lives, which O&G had to constantly monitor. “They have been found on our site and we can’t impact them,” Benoit says. “We haven’t found any yet, but they are known to be there.”
As a result of its work on the middle school, O&G will oversee two new elementary school projects for Groton.