Turner Hosts Panel on Lean, Prefabrication, and Modularization, at the Whitney Museum

December 05, 2016

Turner’s office in New York recently hosted its inaugural Innovation Series panel discussion titled Lean Construction: Prefabrication and Modularization. More than 200 Turner business partners and industry thought leaders attended the event at the Whitney Museum of American Art – a Turner project, and a striking architectural setting for a conversation among construction professionals.

Charlie Whitney, vice president and general manager of Turner’s office in New York offered introductory remarks. Then, following a cocktail reception during which guests were invited to tour the museum, the formal program began with a screening of a short documentary film on Turner’s Niarchos Foundation-David Rockefeller University River Campus project. The project is an excellent recent example of how modularization and prefabrication can make the seemingly impossible, possible: the 900-foot-long, bridge-like structure was delivered to the project site in 19 prefabricated segments, and lowered into place over a major highway on the East Side of Manhattan using a barge crane. For perspective, the heaviest segment weighed approximately 790 tons, or more than two full-loaded 747s.

Regional Lean Manager Doug Cooper moderated the evening’s main draw, the panel, made up of four industry experts, each of whom brought a unique perspective.

Robert Sanna, executive vice president, ForestCity Ratner Companies, talked about quality control as one of the most important, tangible advantages of modularization, in addition to the ergonomic advantages for workers building off-site. Sylvia Smith, senior partner at FXFOWLE Architects talked about overall efficiency, saying particularly “I think you have a great option of eliminating waste in effort, but also waste in material.” Mitchel Simpler, managing partner at Jaros, Baum & Bolles (JB&B), emphasized efficiency and pace, saying, “For me, it’s all about schedule. The beauty of the concept of doing modular construction and off-site construction allows you to do parallel processes.” And Turner’s own Rob Barbera, vice president and general manager of the Turner Engineering Group, focused on safety, noting that activities completed off-site can be competed in more controlled and reliable environments, reducing risk. 

Missed the event? Check out the recording, here: https://youtu.be/fvC1OoiH-HE

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