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How Hybrid Remote Community Engagement Built a $12.5 Million Infrastructure Project.




Construction project management embraced a delicate balance between onsite presence and offsite support decades before zoom.  No where was this more evident than on one of my recently completed projects for the supply and installation of electrical and communications utility services for a major highway bypass ring road valued at $12.5 million dollars. The project not only exemplifies efficient project delivery but also showcases the triumphs of a hybrid remote work arrangement that seamlessly integrated onsite construction contractors with offsite engineering and project management support.


The key to the project's success indeed lay in adopting a hybrid remote work approach but as is often the case it was the “how” that was more important. For my team and I to succeed we knew we needed to put our feet into the shoes of the community and this is exactly where we started. 


We took the time to thoroughly discuss the project with the municipality, citizens, businesses and stakeholders to ensure we not just understood their needs but also became invested in ensuring those needs were met.  


We were initially consulted because this small city was located approximately three hours from a major center, posing challenges in securing capable resources. Through meeting with community leaders we also learnt that a primary concern revolved around the potential negative impact of constructing a bypass, diverting traffic away from the city and affecting local businesses. We strategically addressed this by upgrading the bypass to invite smaller communities on the outskirts of the regional city, providing them with easier access while exposing them to historically unavailable traffic. This not only mitigated the hesitations but also contributed positively to the economic development of both these satellite communities and the primary city. 


It’s no secret that smaller communities are constantly looking for investment so we knew local spending needed to be as high as possible. The hybrid model proved instrumental in overcoming this hurdle by setting local engagement spending targets, the project engaged and managed most resources from local businesses and subcontractors while technical and commercial delivery aspects were efficiently managed offsite.


The successful delivery of this major infrastructure project can be attributed to the collaboration among key stakeholders, including subject matter experts, the clients - citizens, and an alliance of major infrastructure contractors and state government bodies. This collaborative effort not only mitigated design conflicts arising from engineering standards conflicting with functional requirements but also fostered an environment conducive to innovation and problem-solving.


The hybrid remote and onsite work arrangement implemented in the supply and installation of this $12.5 million infrastructure project is a shining example of adaptability and resilience in the face of challenges. By addressing potential hesitations and leveraging the strengths of a diverse team, the project not only met its objectives but also contributed positively to the regional development. This stands as a testament to the efficacy of hybrid work models in the realm of construction project management, showcasing the potential for success even in the most complex and remote environments no matter the size of the budget. 


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