One Building or Five Hundred – PPM is Ready to Handle Your As-Built Surveying Needs
Our last case study took readers through the extensive process of Precision Property Measurements’ As-Built surveying work on the historic and iconic Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, KY. With this post, we thought we’d discuss another significant project that PPM was honored to be a part of recently —our year-long, almost 550 store, nationwide As-Built site surveying program for a well-known quick service restaurant chain.
The planning and resources required to complete a project of this magnitude are obviously different than when we work on a single store or location, but our attention to detail and desire to exceed our client’s expectations are still our #1 priority, no matter how many buildings we’re surveying.
So take a look and see what it’s like to go behind the scenes in PPM’s office and on our job site!
The Restaurant Searches for an As-Built Survey Partner and Finds PPM
We first heard from our new client in June of 2017. They were on the hunt for a reputable As-Built partner to capture all of the physical store information needed for some upcoming strategic initiatives. A member of their vendor procurement team contacted our office to discuss their upcoming project and wanted to see if PPM would be a good fit for their site surveying needs. I personally spoke with several members of their internal architecture and construction teams over the next month and learned as much as I could about their most important requirements for this project.
The company needed accurate As-Built plans of all of their restaurants for 2 primary initiatives:
(1) They were looking to remodel their kitchens in order to expand capacity for preparing carryout and catering orders. As part of this initiative, an update to the area used for their digital ordering system was also required.
(2) The client wanted a comprehensive update of their physical store information for facilities management and other future store planning projects.
Upon learning how they intended to use the information collected on the site surveys, we worked with the client to develop a detailed Scope of Work for the As-Built surveying program. The architectural As-Builts included a detailed Floor Plan with Kitchen Layout, Reflected Ceiling Plan, Roof Plan, and Electrical Plan. They wanted us to provide them with an electrical line diagram as well, which included tracing and mapping of their panel schedule to show the connections between each individual outlet to the corresponding circuit on the panel. For photography, we agreed to provide both still photos as well as a 360-degree “Virtual Walkthrough” of each location using the Matterport platform.
About 6 weeks into these discussions, our client was gaining confidence in PPM’s capabilities and decided to test us with an initial batch of 33 locations in California, Colorado, and Texas. They wanted the surveys completed in 10 weeks, between August and October of 2017, so we developed a schedule to meet this deadline while also allowing for several rounds of feedback on the Deliverables to make sure the final product was exactly what our client needed.
The company was very impressed with our ability to deliver on schedule, as well as our service, communication, and incredibly precise As-Built drawings. After further internal planning through the end of the year, they awarded us 334 locations in January of 2018, and we were off to work.
Breaking Down Our Process for a High Volume, Nationwide As-Built Survey Program
Our first order of business was to create a program schedule. We were provided the list of 334 locations all over the country and a deadline of June 15th to deliver all of the surveys. With a few weeks of time to ramp up, this meant we would need to average about 20 completed surveys per week. To complicate the logistics a bit more, the client had different deadlines within these 4 months for each of the 6 geographic regions in which the stores were located. The client allowed us to determine the specific order and schedule to meet the deadlines, which was extremely helpful as it enabled us to group the surveys together by location and proximity, allowing for more efficient travel and the flexibility to work with each surveyor on a schedule that best fit their availability.
Second, we had to get the resources in place to handle that kind of volume for a sustained period of time. This required additional field surveyors, drafters, QA staff, and dedicated project management. Our team quickly determined what would be needed, and then we started hiring and training new people right away. Over the course of the program, there would be as many as 50 different people that worked on the surveys in one capacity or another. In additional to human resources, we also had to make sure that we had the specialized equipment needed to perform the survey at every location, including surveying tools, Matterport cameras, and electrical testing gear.
Finally, we had to develop a scalable and repeatable process that would consistently deliver a high-quality As-Built product that met the client’s exact specifications for every location. We had already worked out most of the process in the pilot round of 33 locations, but now with a higher overall volume and weekly output, we had to tighten things up even more.
For faster and more detailed data collection, we used a 3D laser scanner on approximately half of the locations, and the resulting “point cloud” data that we captured was converted into highly accurate As-Built plans by our CAD teams. For the other half of the restaurants, our professional survey crews used laser distance meters and laptop computers onsite to capture, record, and draw the As-Builts.
Prior to delivery to the client, every single plan was extensively reviewed by our QA team here in Long Beach by comparing each plan to the digital photography to make sure nothing was missing or drawn inaccurately. The final step was to place the drawings into the client’s CAD template and make sure we met all of their specific standards and preferences.
All of this planning and teamwork paid off, and we were able to deliver all 334 surveys before the required deadlines. Our client rewarded our strong performance by giving us another batch of 175 locations in early July. This batch came with a September 28th deadline, which meant that we would once again need to maintain a delivery pace of about 17 locations per week. We streamlined a few more parts of the process including field scheduling and QA, and we once again delivered all of the surveys on-time and to the client’s exact standards.
Challenges are an Opportunity to Provide Great Service
Even a single As-Built survey can run into unexpected challenges. When you’re surveying 500+ locations, you better be prepared for a few surprises, changes, and other potential obstacles. When these challenges arise, it’s a great opportunity to see if your partners are up to the task. At PPM, we approach every challenge as an opportunity to show how committed we are to helping our clients achieve their goals.
The first challenge, which was not necessarily unexpected, was the program timeline. We didn’t know how many locations we would receive and what the deadline would be until the day it arrived in my email. Then it was our job to make it happen! The timeline was so important to our client that we wanted to be 100% certain we would be able to meet every single deadline. This commitment to timeliness was so critical that it actually caused us to make the difficult decision to turn down an additional 30 locations in the final batch. When we crunched the numbers we realized that we just couldn’t make it work within the deadline, so we stuck with 175. Our client was very pleased that we were honest about our capabilities and didn’t over-promise.
This program required that we meet a consistently high pace, often approaching 20-25 deliveries per week, with a highly detailed, labor-intensive scope of work. Because we didn’t want the process to come down to the wire, we front-loaded the schedule with field surveys, which allowed more time for our quality assurance team to inspect everything and make any necessary revisions before it was too late.
The additional staffing that the program required, both employees and vendors, was also a major challenge. The more people that you have working on a project, the more coordination is required to make sure that everyone is on track and working together efficiently. Because of this, we created custom project management tools to make sure the status of every location was tracked, work segments were clearly assigned, and that the client was always updated with the survey status of each location.
Another challenge was working in the restaurant environment. Our client’s stores got really busy around 11:30 AM and stayed busy for most of the day. Because of this, we had to complete the surveys before business hours, meaning we would typically start around 3 or 4 AM so that we wouldn’t interfere with their customer service and could finish up with most of the interior work before the doors opened.
No matter if it’s a single location or several hundred, we always make sure that communication with our partners, as well as our client, is a major priority. This, along with working around our customer’s schedule, were opportunities for us to provide top-notch service, and this program was a definite success in that regard.
Results for Our Client are Our #1 Priority
PPM is incredibly proud to have been a part of this strategic initiative for our client. By delivering all As-Built surveys on-time and with the exact information required, we were able to help them keep their kitchen remodel program right on track.
We did such a good job, in fact, that the Director of Architecture of the company shared these words about PPM’s performance: “Thank you for your continued commitment to excellence in delivering accurate and complete data. I appreciate your honesty and your desire to not compromise your company’s integrity. We are thankful for you and your team’s continued diligence as we complete this very important project.”
That’s excellent feedback for all of our hard work and dedication on this project!
Planning a Remodel or Expansion? PPM Can Help You Too
I hope you enjoyed another one of our case studies where we give readers a behind the scenes peek at what we do here at Precision Property Measurements. Our As-Built surveying job for this nationwide quick service restaurant chain was quite an intensive program, but our team met every challenge with the professionalism and high-quality service that we expect here at PPM. If you think your company can benefit from this kind of service, I’d love to speak with you about your needs.
As always, thanks for reading!