How to Inspire Quality: A Lesson from the Students of Iolani Schools, Hawaii

I recently had the good fortune to visit a number of our Nordic PCL projects in Hawaii. Nestled at the center of the Iolani Schools main campus in Honolulu you will find not only the site of the new Sullivan Center for Applied Studies, but the answer to inspiring a quality construction project.
Construction of the new four-story building, consisting of laboratories and classrooms, coincides to the school’s 150th anniversary. I found that the close human connection that the Nordic PCL project team formed with the school sparked a focus on quality that will inspire the team until the very end of the project.

The Writing is on the Wall  

An inspirational message found on the inside of the
only access door leading from the work site to the
school campus.

The only access to the project site is from this
narrow path through the center of the campus.

The viewing portals allowed students to peer into
the project site activities.

Since the safety of the faculty and students is paramount on this job, the Nordic PCL project team limited trade worker access to the site to only one access door and one construction delivery gate. Etched on the inside of the access door to the site reads an inspiring message crafted by the students for all the workers to see: “Iolani Schools loves you.” Imagine such a positive message greeting you every day as you come and go from your workplace. Do you think the workers will be inspired to do their best on this project? I believe so—the writing is on the wall!

Inspiring and Beautiful

Surrounding the project site, a standard 8-foot barrier fence is in place to protect the staff and students from the construction work on campus. Each panel of the barrier wall was given to one of the various grade levels in the school to decorate according to their creative spirits. The students have shown their appreciation for the Nordic PCL project team and dedicated subcontractors working on the new facility by decorating the walls with colorful expressions and designs. These designs account for just one of several points of inspiration for the Nordic PCL project team. If they were not moved before, they certainly, from my perspective, were now. 

Rousing the Next Generation of Builders  

Motivated by the students’ curiosity and appetite for learning, the Nordic PCL project team created viewing portals around the barrier walls that allow students to peer in on daily construction activities. This simple gesture may inspire the next generation of builders, engineers, and architects—one can only imagine. 
The faculty at Iolani Schools have seized on this unique educational opportunity in their own back yard.  On the day of my visit, a science teacher was conducting an experiment with a sample of grout from the school’s foundation so her class could conduct chemical analysis on the material.
It is clear that workers cannot help but do their best for the students and faculty of Iolani Schools. Their motivation is a direct result of the personal connection they have formed with those who will occupy the new school facilities. They have been inspired, and without a doubt will “Build it Right and Build it Once.”
TAGS: Quality



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