The Ojai Valley School (OVS) is a private college prep day and boarding school in Ojai, California. It offers a curriculum for primary through high school grades. Multiple buildings on the OVS Upper Campus were destroyed in the Thomas Fire, the largest wildfire in California history.
OVS engaged Watchdog to manage ground-up construction replacing the girl’s dormitory, commons building, and science center on the occupied campus. The project scope of work quickly increased to include analysis of the insurance claim resulting from the forest fire. The team was familiar with the project from its oversight and management role, so OVS retained Watchdog as an industry expert to assist with the forest fire insurance claim evaluation.
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With the insurance settlement being a significant source of funding for the reconstruction projects, it was vital the cost assessment be correct and corroborated. The Watchdog team calculated the cost to rebuild the three buildings in today’s dollars since current material and labor prices were higher than the original construction budgets. The team compared construction estimates received by the general contractor, the insurance carrier, and a third-party general contractor to look for discrepancies. The updated cost assessment helped to substantiate OVS’s claimed impact due to the fire.
Watchdog supervised the construction of the replacement buildings from conception through completion, coordinating with stakeholders and reporting directly to the school’s internal team. The team created an all-encompassing budget and schedule to track the construction progress of multiple buildings instead of treating each building as a stand-alone endeavor. The Watchdog project managers assisted with subcontractor selection by making best value recommendations based on the firm’s expertise and past project history.
During the construction phase, Watchdog provided a consistent on-site presence. The team analyzed the general contractor’s cost performance, reviewing monthly pay applications and preparing project status reports. Due to Watchdog’s knowledge and skill set, the team also served as an industry resource for the owner.
To overcome challenges with the connection of materials on the building’s exterior, the team recommended a building envelope consultant to overcome difficulties with installation. Watchdog monitored the project schedule and accommodated OVS’ desire to host a public walk-through of the space before final completion.