Duke Construction

The Cincinnati team of Duke Construction, a sector of Duke Realty Corp., is continuing its long-term relationship with GE Aviation as it builds the company’s new 404,000-square-foot, $55 million office complex, which is intended to absorb staff from other nearby GE facilities. Duke has completed work on similar facilities for GE in the past, and GE accounts for more than 1 million square feet of leased space in Duke Realty properties throughout the country. Duke’s history of delivering above and beyond expectations helped it win this job, its employees say.

Preconstruction Director Jay Smith says that delivery continues to be on pace for the latest GE project. “From an execution standpoint, we’ve hit every milestone we set out to achieve,” he says. “We’ve been a total real estate solution for the customer on this project.”

Top-notch customer service has been Duke Con­struction’s focus, Smith says, driving its efforts to identify and prevent prob­lems early. “We talk to the customer a great deal to understand their needs and re­quirements, and have worked with their ven­dors to make sure everything meshes,” he says. “We don’t have the ‘it’s not my job’ at­titude. Even if an issue may not be our direct responsibility, it’s still our responsibility to make sure everything happens smoothly.” Duke Construction

This level of service has been essential in bringing such a complex project to fruition. The corporate office campus will in­clude two, four-story, L-shaped buildings, where GE Aviation will merge 1,400 office personnel, including more than 1,000 engineers.

The 43-acre site will accommodate the two planned buildings, each of which is 201,900 square feet, and provide room for future expansion. Duke will aid GE in 16 moves altogether. It has already completed seven, which have gone “without a hitch,” Duke’s Senior Vice President of Cincinnati Operations Jon Burger says.

The Schedule Prevails

Duke has stayed on schedule since breaking ground in August 2008. “We planned it out carefully from the start,” Vice Pres­ident of Construction Mark Hen­nessey says. “We’ve encountered a few hic­cups along the way, but due to our in­tensive project management, we’ve identified issues before they be­came problems.”

For example, heavy rain had the po­tential to put the project behind schedule, because of the time required for the soil to dry. “To maintain the site schedule, we stabilized one area of the parking lot so that we could meet our time frame for getting the final asphalt down,” Hennessey says. “We waited as long as we could to let the soil dry naturally, then we pulled the trigger and decided to sta­­bilize the ground using lime and ce­ment.”

Duke Construction has kept a careful eye on the budget, as well. “We pretty much have been right on target with costs from the onset and, truthfully, the economy has actually helped some of the budgetary pressure we might have had,” Smith says. “Some fallen material costs have worked in our favor along the way.”

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