When scheduling a construction project on a college or university campus, there are many concerns that come to mind. Will capital campaigns raise enough funds to cover the cost of the project? Where will displaced community members be housed, learn or teach while construction is ongoing? How will traffic flow be interrupted? But ultimately, the top concern for all stakeholders will be safety. What will it take to assure that students, faculty, staff and visitors remain safe during a construction project?
That’s where the Preconstruction process comes in. By carefully planning for and reviewing a project before the work starts, students, facility and staff members, as well as visitors, can stay safe and disruptions can be minimized during construction. Below are some of the top considerations to keep in mind while preparing for your construction project.
Fencing/Restricting Access to Site
First, assure that access to the site is restricted to keep community members from walking through an active construction site. This usually starts with construction fencing, but may include enforcement by campus security or other methods of discouraging non-construction personnel from accessing the site. Construction fencing can take many forms from standard chain link fencing, to screened fencing to help it blend into the background, or even tell the story for the future work being completed beyond the boundary. Your construction management firm should assist with development and implementation of the appropriate screening for their specific project.
Utilize Appropriate Signage
Signage is one of the most important aspects of a comprehensive safety program. Signs should be clear and concise, giving readers instructions on alternate routes, dangers ahead, etc. They should be placed in obvious locations along the routes that were utilized prior to commencement of construction activities since this disruption will be the main cause for confusion. Signs are an excellent way to keep your campus safe and provide information to your students, facility, staff members, as well as visitors. The signs should be large, easy to read, and in multiple languages, depending on the requirements of your student or community population requirements.
Construction traffic directional signage will prevent workers or delivery drivers from driving down roads where the campus population is not expecting moving vehicles.
Safety signage prominently displayed at site entrances will assure that anyone entering your construction site has the appropriate personal protection equipment.
Do not enter signage warns community members not to access a potentially dangerous area.
Finally, communication is a key piece in maintaining a safe campus. Keeping students, facility, staff and visitors informed of any changes to normal schedules, closures of buildings or road, and utility shutdowns is vital to maintaining safety as well as maintaining trust within your community. These communications can take a number of forms, such as being posted to your website and social media platforms, information on campus media outlets, or attendance at campus group gatherings. Whichever form it takes, your construction management firm should work in close contact with you to make sure the information is given to the appropriate people to ensure timely, clear and consistent communications.