The 62nd annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show took place this past October in Broward County as the world’s largest in-water boat show.
For Florida-based contractor Power Design, this would not be the first electrical scope completed for a convention center of this magnitude. However, it would present new challenges amidst a global pandemic, impacting everything from labor to supply chain management. “Our successful completion of the West Expansion project really came down to three things,” said Regional VP at Power Design, Sandra Alfieri-DellaRocco. “Talent, timing, and technical expertise.”
Talent Prior to the pandemic, construction was facing surmounting labor shortages that made hiring and retaining top talent a top priority for Power Design. Construction Executive, Juan Barrios, credited his team as the most crucial resource. “All of our foreman and superintendents assigned here worked in unity to achieve this,” explained Barrios. But with the size and complexity of the new convention center, the company turned to local hiring efforts to build labor resources further. Hosting multiple career fairs resulted in Power Design’s hiring of 20 local community members, in addition to subcontracting 30% of eligible project activities to local, minority-owned certified business enterprises. With support from former mayor Dale Holness and current local officials, best faith hiring efforts created mutual benefit for those involved. “As a smaller firm, having the opportunity to work on this project with this team has provided us a wealth of knowledge, that we were able to bring back to our home team and make us a better company,’ said Daniel Ortiz of Empire Electrical Contractors. “We were exposed to what it takes to successfully work together and cohesively coordinate all efforts on a project of this magnitude,” added Ortiz.
Timing The time-sensitive need for increased meeting space was driven by the FLIBS bringing thousands of attendees to the late October boat show event. While General Contractor, Balfour Beatty, expedited the start of onsite work through early Design-Build solutions, Power Design was one of the first subcontractors onsite to provide electrical service.
Once construction began, challenges with supply chain caused by the pandemic led Barrios and team to take proactive measures. “We were able to plan ahead, ordering and storing goods like PVC onsite so when it came time to install, we were not held up by supply chain delays,” Barrios explained. “We spent a lot of long hours, weekends and holidays to stay ahead, to where even as we experienced water intrusion and setbacks beyond our control, we overcame them.”
The timing of COVID impacted essential workers everywhere, adapting to new and changing safety measures while abiding by CDC guidelines to keep workers safe. “At the end of the day, our priority is to send each team member home safely to their families at night,” said Aliferi-DellaRocco. “So, we made time for daily safety meetings on all of our jobsites and consistently sent out field supplies like masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer to support our teams.”
Technical Expertise With talent and timing handled, Power Design pushed the needle further by leaning on in-house technical expertise to produce innovative solutions.
Barrios and crew created new methods of pulling feeders and installing floor boxes that increased efficiency. “We developed a support system for floor boxes that was steady and adjustable, which had proven to be an obstacle in the past for other contractors. Our new installation method was so successful that the factory has now adopted it for all future installs,” said Barrios.
Another win came from Director of Fire Alarm, Shawn Daniels, who led the life safety team through a series of challenges associated with a complex distribution system. “From the massive EMT infrastructure required to overall testing requirements, we pushed the team to stay ahead of the curve and pass those inspections,” said Daniels.
As the massive public event approaches, the FLIBS will bring thousands into the new West Expansion of the Broward County Convention Center. “We’re proud to be a part of bringing events and our economy back to life,” concluded Barrios. “Looking forward to more project like this in the future.”
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