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Case Study

Illinois Copper Service Replacement Project, Chicago Suburbs

Copper Service ReplacementOur customer is one of the largest gas utility providers in Illinois. Because of an old infrastructure that was corroding, our customer had 3,800 copper services that needed to be replaced. The corrosion increased the risk of gas leaks on both residential and commercial properties. INTREN met all scheduled deadlines and budget targets. Twenty-five to thirty crew members worked 200,000 hours without any safety incidents and with minimal customer impact.

The Challenge

The 3,800 copper service replacements were projected to be completed within a five-year period. The INTREN team faced three main challenges:
  1. Large Service Area: The work scope covered a very broad service area. Communication between the utility customer, office staff and field personnel would be crucial.
  2. Infrastructure Obstacles: Most of the copper infrastructure was covered by landscaping, patios, and brick which had been put in place by the property owners making it extremely difficult to navigate
  3. Communication: Knowing that the owner’s property was going to be affected, communication was going to be key in putting their mind at ease during the construction

The Solutions

INTREN put the utmost focus on communication between the utility customer, the office support team, field leadership and the crews. The general foreman was in daily communication with the utility customer’s project manager, who made frequent visits to the field. He was alerted immediately with any problems or questions.

The team put together an effective communication plan on how to address the property owners when their landscape, patios, or brickwork had to be disturbed.

The leadership team consistently monitored gas qualifications and conducted continuous quality and safety audits for the life of the project.

The Results

  • The constant communication with the utility customer led to mutual trust, full transparency and quick response
  • Outstanding field leadership drove the productivity and scheduling for the crews. The team stayed together over the course of 5-years with minimal change to the field team and completed the project on-time, on-budget and without any safety incidents.
  • As expected, property owners were initially nervous and upset by the disturbance, but crews calmly and proactively discussed the risk the utility was eliminating by performing this maintenance. Once they understood the reasoning behind the upgrade, they were happy to have the work completed.
  • The crews performed so well and professionally that the utility wrote a letter thanking the company for their dedication to this project