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Incredible Structures & the Project Management that Helped it Happen

If you take one look at the great American cities and stop to think that every single one of those buildings required a tremendous effort, we begin to realize how truly innovative human beings can be. It was in the midst of America’s worst economic depression that one structure was erected that exceeded all expectations and set a new bar for what was possible. We thought we’d take a quick look at some of these projects and think about how they represent the wonderful spirit of creation that we here at Constructors, Inc evoke every day.

Out of a Rivalry Emerges History

What happens when you have an intense rivalry and an incredible will and determination to win the fight? Well, countries do things like build sophisticated aircraft to fight wars, put men on the moon, and build things like the Empire State Building. The story begins with a rivalry between John J. Raskob and Walter Chrysler. These two were engaged in a race to the sky when Raskob found out that Chrysler had started the Chrysler building set to stand 1046 feet.

Raskob set off by gathering well-known and prominent investors and joining forces with the best architectural firms of the time. He sat them down, threw some plans on the table, and said, “I want it done bigger, taller, better, and finished first.” Ok, that’s a dramatization. We’re not sure if he really said that, but it must have been something to the effect, for the project came underway promptly. The project, it was initially said, would be finished in only 18 months.

A Marvel of Project Management

Due to the tight deadlines, every facet of the construction effort had to be efficient, dependable, and exhibit the utmost discipline. The construction company who won the bid for the job decided that much of the equipment would have to be specially made, given the fact that there existed no equipment designed to handle this type of construction project.

In order to maintain all the different parts of the machine moving as smoothly as possible, there needed to be a tight project management strategy implemented. This was relatively new at the time and the project manager took on a gargantuan task. This construction project was the first to use what we call the fast-track construction strategy, which means that work begins before the plans are fully completed.  This helps to reduce costs and keep things moving at all times.

The Project Begins

The preparation of the land begun the same day after the demolition of the building that previously occupied the space, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. There were two shifts of 300 men working day and night to build the foundation. The entire project became a model for efficiency and good project management through innovation and manpower. A railway was even moved to the construction site to move materials quickly. Because the project called for millions of bricks, the old method of transfer would have been laborious and time-consuming. Instead, the construction company devised a chute that allowed the bricks to be dumped down the shoot as they arrived. As the outside of the building was worked on, electricians and plumbers went in and installed the utilities.

The project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Instead of taking the full 18 months, the entire building was erected in about 15. The project managed a workforce of 3,500 men. While there were some deaths during the construction, the project was truly an astonishing undertaking for the time that given the lack of proper equipment could have been far more disastrous without proper management and skilled labor.  In the end, the building would eclipse the rival Chrysler building and come out the victor in the race to the sky. It would hold that position until the early seventies when the World Trade Center towers were erected.

Manage Your Project with the Best

Project management is a key part of any construction project. There are many moving parts to any operation and a strategic, innovative, and diligent strategy is needed to keep things running smoothly, avoid accidents, and finish on time. Here at Constructors, Inc, we offer project management services to make sure that someone is overseeing the entire operation of a construction project. If you’re looking to build something and need some help in managing the project, give us a call.


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