A special-projects team of several hundred employees and consultants at Johnson Controls was growing quickly and needed new space. This project repurposed a 130,000-sq-ft former factory as administrative space for the company on a five-month, fast-track schedule, in which the owner, contractor, architect, engineers and subcontractors were fused into a seamless team working seven days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day.
The challenge of this project was the extremely fast-tracked schedule. When the general contractor mobilized on site, the design was not complete but subcontractors had to be brought on almost immediately, project officials note. Initial demolition was completed by working two shifts; within weeks, the crews had transitioned to their seven-day-a-week schedule.

That schedule demanded innovative construction methods. Within two weeks of starting the initial demolition, the electrical contractor was installing an underfloor plug-and-play electrical distribution system that allowed the general contractor to complete all the electrical installation before design completion and just ahead of access flooring. With the plug-and-play boxes randomly placed throughout the under-floor, work was able to progress to prepare the space for the office build-out while the design was being completed. This method cut six to eight weeks from the construction schedule.

The project management team was highly efficient because it maintained close coordination with the architect on site, who addressed questions and adjusted the plans in real time. This arrangement, while extraordinarily efficient, is a bit unusual in that this was not a traditional design-build contract. Further, the exceptionally close relationship continued through the project’s completion, project team members say.

A feverish schedule can open the door to safety lapses, but the project logged 66,000 work hours in just five months without a lost-time incident or even an OSHA-recordable incident.

Johnson Controls Inc.
Hawley Road Facility

West Allis, Wis.

Key Players

Owner Johnson Controls Inc.

Lead Design Firm Eppstein Uhen Architectural Inc.

Contractor Hunzinger Construction Co.

Structural Engineer GRAEF

Electrical Engineer Leedy & Petzold

MEP Engineer Ring & DuChateau

Subcontractors Uihlein Electric; Bart Wellenstein Construction Inc.; JM Brennan; Ace Iron & Metal Buildings; TA Mason