Many images come to mind when you think about an automobile showroom in general. Most involve a clear, crisp look that showcases the vehicles for sale. You might also think about a comfortable, modern feel that invites a buyer to explore their choices. Now think about that showroom again, but this time imagine it is for one the most highly respected and customizable brands available, Ferrari. Does the image in your mind change? What new factors might come in to play now? These are the questions our team at New England Construction had to consider when we found we were partnering with Boch Enterprises to update their Ferrari and Maserati showrooms in Norwood, MA. We also faced the task of completing this project without disrupting the day to day business of this dealership. With a solid portfolio of auto work under our belts we knew we were up to this challenge, but we also knew that this project might require a different approach from the usual “bid-design-build” construction course. In order to get a closer look at this project and its overall planning processes I spent some time talking to the New England Construction site superintendent, Ron Brouillette, and the project engineer, Amanda Marques Callahan.
It was Ron who introduced me to the core difference in how the Ferrari/Maserati project needed to be set up. He first broke down the challenges:
- It was essential the dealership stay open and function with minimal impact on staff and customers. (Including a keen eye towards safety at all times!)
- The project required intense attention to detail, not only from the standpoint of Boch Enterprises as owners but from the brand offices of Ferrari and Maserati themselves.
- The project’s plan had to have built in fail safes that allowed for mid-stream course corrections from all parties involved so that potential roadblocks and design errors could be avoided.
Taking all of this into account, the owners determined that they wanted the NEC team to take a “phased planning” approach to this venture. “Phased planning” involves constructing the project in steps with each addressing major milestone moments and containing logical stop points as needed. A phased plan keeps the end goal in mind but segments the bigger picture objectives to meet the owner’s ongoing goals. Because this type of construction plan answers build questions as the project progresses, it is therefore a more expensive approach to take; as opposed to bid-design-build’s clear roadmap from the start.
Both Ron and Amanda felt that this process did protect the dealership’s integrity and operations but requires a flexibility and willingness to “adjust as you go” on the part of the general contractor and all subcontractor’s involved. When asked how they made this possible on such a project they presented the following key points:
- Strong Multidirectional Communication. Be it from client to the NEC Team, the project engineer to the architects in the US and Italy, or the site superintendent to subs, solid communication was essential. This was accomplished through weekly group meetings, email and phone communication, and clear precise paperwork. The showrooms here are like galleries presenting truly exquisite options and must meet exceedingly high standards. A breakdown in communication could have led to significant delays.
- Constant Supervision on Site. Because the project’s path involves more in the moment directing, it was essential for the NEC Superintendent to keep a close eye on each step of the plan scrutinizing the details of each trade. Ron’s presence allowed for items such as dust control during installation to be handled with ease from the perspective of those in the showrooms, while he was aware of the minute details that had to be accounted for and addressed.
- A Secure and Safe Jobsite. It is enough of a challenge to manage a closed site filled with OSHA trained workers, never mind keep a handle on a job site that must allow untrained staff and customers the ability to move about with ease. The entire team involved with this project had to be active participants in ensuring that the predetermined safety plan was followed and that any hazards that presented themselves could be addressed efficiently and with the client’s operational goals in mind.
In the end, the heightened sense of process and phasing that permeates this project allows for one major goal to be met, the satisfaction and happiness of our client. The Ferrari side of the dealership is now complete and we are well underway on the Maserati side. The team in place has no concerns about the overall success of the entire project now as their systems are in place and they are prepared for any bumps in the road. The transformation at the dealership is quite the sight to see and we encourage you to check out our progress page here.
If you’d like to take a look at our guide for auto dealership renovation, click the button below.