After 15 years of use, the carpet in the Geico Corporate Center in Lakeland, Florida was beginning to show its age. It was time for a much-needed update. And when embarking on the planning process for their flooring replacement, the Geico engineering team had three goals:
- Freshen up the dated interior to boost employee morale. After all, happy call center agents make for happy customers.
- Continue upholding safety standards. Aging carpet can ripple and warp, creating trip hazards that disrupt office flow.
- Minimize disruption to their 3,400 call center employees throughout the process. In a 24-hour call center, productivity needed to remain unaffected by construction.
Facility managers wanted flooring that looked and felt modern. It also needed to fit the company’s design scheme. Ultimately, they chose a 24×24 carpet tile by Shaw Floors called Empress. But picking new flooring was easy. The biggest challenge?
Replacing 130,000 square feet of carpet tile on two levels full of cubicles, desks and sensitive computer equipment while minimizing disruption to 3,400 call center employees … in just six weeks. Three flooring contractors submitted bids for the job. And we were one of those contractors. We had replaced Geico’s carpet tile 15 years earlier and wanted to secure their continued business. Our detailed bid offered competitive pricing and specific proposals for reducing interruption to the call center. While all our services — on-site supervision, dedicated support staff and experienced installers — sounded nice on paper, the decision ultimately came down to price for Geico. And because our team offered the lowest bid, we were chosen.
Next, we ordered and prepared the materials. This process took about two months. Shaw manufactured the carpet, and then we sent it off to fit the raised flooring framework. Once the finished raised flooring system was finished and delivered, we got to work. Communication and coordination were key to this project’s success, and allowed us to finish on budget and in less than a month — a full two weeks ahead of deadline.
Choreographing an occupied install
This $600,000 carpet job depended on six highly skilled laborers with 10+ years of flooring installation experience. They were also familiar with the Vertical Installation Technology (V.I.T.) system used to speed occupied installs. Instead of breaking down cubicle walls, our team simply lifted them piece by piece. This made replacing the old tile easy — and with minimal displacement to furniture or the communication cables below.
Though agents work at the call center 24 hours a day, night crews tend to be smaller. We worked from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. to reduce disruption. This avoided any loss in call center productivity. A detailed daily installation schedule also made coordinating with facility managers easy. As the project progressed, our team alerted Geico staff about oncoming construction in phases. This prevented delays by giving employees time to secure loose items like personal knick-knacks and computers.
These may all seem like common-sense solutions. But if an occupied install is poorly choreographed, plenty can go wrong. Clear schedules prevent confusion, delays and increased costs. The ease of this project was deceptively simple — and made possible by consistent, transparent communication between our team and theirs.
We originally estimated six weeks. Here’s how we did it in four.
Excluding material shipment and preparation, our bid estimated that the active install would take six weeks. But our team saw several opportunities to shrink that time to just four. Usually, flooring crews transport materials from a warehouse to the job site every day. But Geico’s loading dock could store the entire inventory of carpet tile. This freed installers just to show up and get straight to work without wasting time stuck in traffic between the warehouse and the call center.
We also ordered an on-site dumpster and scheduled multiple pick-ups a week. Not only did this keep the Geico site neat and orderly, but it also reduced any delays related to the disposal of old and used materials. And frankly, the experience of our crew was key to the installation’s speed. After 10 years of working with Spectra, they knew exactly how to operate the V.I.T. system. And because installers get paid by the square foot, the efficiency wasn’t undermined by overtime hours that would drive up costs. By the end of the first week, they were far ahead of schedule.
A typical flooring crew of the same size might complete 4,200 yards daily. But in this project, our team moved at almost twice the speed: 6,300 yards every night. Once finished, Geico’s facility managers were thrilled with the flooring results — and so were their customer service agents.