In the spring of 2019, the National Grid Electric Utility Company needed to replace approximately 50 distribution poles in Buffalo, NY to increase the reliability of their grid. When the company realized they would need a third party QA/QC team on the project, they called Valiant Group to help.
- Establish a common ground objective with the lineman team
- Integrate QA/QC system within the existing team
- Replace distribution poles
- Increase reliability of the grid
- Build trust within the tightknit lineman community
- Ensure safety for everyone on the team
How Valiant Group Overcame these Challenges:
Those who work in the high-voltage electrical construction industry are a close community… with good reason. Crews continually work on and around voltages ranging from 12kV through 745kV. These men and women are highly skilled crews who often stay together for many years because the work requires complete trust. Shared values, technical competence, and adherence to safety procedures are inherent components of safe work practices.
The first step in building trust with the existing lineman team was to listen to their concerns and goals. The line crew told Valiant Group that their goal was to ensure success through adherence of the specifications. And their biggest concern was that issues wouldn’t be communicated in a forthright manner, which could pose a risk to the safety of the team and quality of the work.
The solution for these concerns was to establish open communication channels that could be accessed by both parties on the project. Valiant Group’s QA/QC team demonstrated the system they would utilize to track daily reports, nonconformance, safety audits, etc. The line crew was given access to the database to ensure all the data entered was accurate. This arrangement also enabled the linemen to comment on files or add assets as they saw fit.
After the initial communication was established to build trust and the database was set up, the final step was to create a simple process to resolve conflict. Valiant Group worked with the line crew leadership to establish a proactive approach to any personal or professional disagreements that could surface during the project. The solution they reached was to address any quality deficiencies face to face with the onsite foreman. If there were still differences of opinion, the issue would be elevated to the general foreman to review the drawings and project specifications. The last step would be a formal meeting to review the issues with the lead project manager, general foreman, and the onsite construction manager.
By following the system set in place by Valiant Group, the project was completed on time, within quality specifications, and free of any safety incidents.