Moving dirt, digging holes, and stringing fiber on poles to build a new fiber network should be drama free activity, but the real world doesn’t always map to desires and expectations. Having a proactive strategy to understand and mitigate the risks of construction before starting a network build is essential and delivers considerable benefits by avoiding delays, improving construction time, and getting customers connected faster.
“You need to step into damage prevention early,” said Steve Sellenreik, President, Sellenreik Construction, Inc. “Public or private investors need to understand that work will be safely done, and the community needs to understand that as well. The safest contractors will build faster. A better customer experience on building will mean more customer signups.”
Sellenreik said success in preventing damage is in the details of the process. Project managers need to understand the unique nuances of each state’s construction regulations, like how they work and are enforced. On top of that, municipalities may have their own regulatory requirements that limit construction activities and/or the number of crews that may be brought in at any time.
Transparency is important, a contrarian view to some builders who want to flow under the radar hoping to gain a competitive advantage. “They show up and go from zero to 20 to 25 dig crews,” Sellenreik said. “People get upset by the unannounced activity and cities will pull back, making the project more expensive."
Being transparent and proactive as a part of damage prevention can be a competitive advantage, with construction crews being the first to meet with potential customers and educate them on their activities as well as talking about the ultimate benefit – high-speed connectivity – that will result from their activities.
On the other hand, causing damage will only slow progress. “You start tearing up concrete, causing electrical strikes, a natural gas strike that blows up a house, people will get scared and they do not want you,” Sellenreik said. “That’s not what you need for a good successful project.”
To learn more about the best practices in damage prevention and how it can result in better financial results, listen to the latest Fiber for Breakfast podcast