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Rapid Renovation of Post Office Destroyed by Fire Wins Mellon Award for Excellence

February 16, 2012

MAULDIN, S.C., Feb. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Just two days after fire destroyed the Healdsburg, Calif., Post Office north of San Francisco, a temporary counter was set up to serve customers and provisions were in place to expedite renovations, thanks to its Job Order Contracting process. A new, permanent space was completed five months later, and residents hailed the swift, extensive renovation. Today, industry experts recognized the rapid renovation as winner of the 2011 Harry H. Mellon Award of Excellence in Job Order Contracting.

The destructive force of fire can leave facility owners with few repair options to restore business as quickly as possible. The exception occurs when a facility owner, like the United States Postal Service, routinely uses the Job Order Contracting construction-procurement system to complete repair and alteration projects.

Postal Service officials in Healdsburg needed to move quickly to restore services that included mail delivery, post office box rentals and sales of stamps. The renovation included the outfitting of a nearby postal delivery unit with a temporary space to provide these services in 48 hours. Within five short months, it also became the town's permanent post office.

Working from notebook paper sketches drawn by administrators and contractors, the Postal Service was able to begin consulting with renovation and repair contractors the day after the fire due to the Job Order Contracting agreements in place to provide construction services and materials at specific prices.

The United States Postal Service's Job Order Contract accelerated the creation of a temporary space just two days after the fire, so services remained virtually uninterrupted. In less than two weeks, Job Order Contracting allowed the Postal Service to redesign and submit a proposal for the work totaling over $242,800. Twenty-seven days after the fire, the work order was issued, and nearly five months later in mid-January 2011, the refurbished post office was completed.

Representatives of Job Order Contracting providers, facility owners and construction and engineering services served on the voluntary panel that chose the Healdsburg Post Office entry for the 2011 Harry H. Mellon Award of Excellence. The project won the honor due to its exceptional representation of three Job Order Contracting principles: Use of pre-priced construction tasks and specifications; unique application of the system; and whether the project's elements could be applied to other projects.

Two elements of the restoration were key in the Healdsburg Post Office being selected as the best example of Job Order Contracting excellence. First was the fact that all of the necessary tasks to restore the facility were listed in a database of construction tasks and specifications. This factor meant Postal Service administrators were able to understand immediately the costs and requirements of all renovation work.

The second key factor was a change in the scope of the project. After the initial design was complete and work had begun, it was decided that the parking area needed to be reconfigured to add parking spaces and to better accommodate traffic flow. As a postal delivery unit, vehicle access to the facility was designed for large trucks used to make large deliveries of mail.

According to award judge Bridger Howard, project manager for Amarillo, TX-based Talon/LPE, successfully accommodating changes to a project is a hallmark of Job Order Contracting. It allows contractors "to coordinate with the client in order to adapt to a project's changing needs and allows for an analysis of the project budget during construction in order to monitor project costs."

About the Harry H. Mellon Award of Excellence 
The Harry H. Mellon Award of Excellence in Job Order Contracting recognizes excellence in principles and practices while identifying unique and innovative ways of using Job Order Contracting to complete construction projects. Repair, alteration, and maintenance work – the core of the Job Order Contracting system – is essential for the safe and efficient use of public buildings and infrastructure. While essential, this work is often not glamorous. This award recognizes the facility owners and managers who perform this important function in an efficient and effective way.

The award is named for Harry H. Mellon, the inventor of Job Order Contracting. He devised the system in 1982, which fostered a multi-billion-dollar industry that provides facility owners with a process to complete repair, alteration, maintenance, and small new-construction projects more efficiently and effectively, while saving time and money. The award was established in 2008.

The Gordian Group (www.TheGordianGroup.com) sponsors the award. The company is the pioneer of Job Order Contracting and other construction sourcing systems. It is the only full-service Job Order Contracting firm in the nation. It provides all products and services necessary for rapid deployment and long-term cost savings.