Pepper Construction Uses Zinc to Build Better, Safer

Pepper Construction was undertaking a $120 million industrial state-of-the-art construction project in Indiana for an international manufacturing brand. The project spans one million square feet across two separate buildings, which are themselves divided by a highway. That distance between key project stakeholders and among tradespeople working on campus made communication a major challenge.

Traditional jobsite communication channels generally include email, text, phone calls and in-person meetings, which –while generally effective – were limiting for a project of this size. There was no way to broadcast critical information, like safety alerts. Emails were easily ignored, and texting was limited to those who had each other’s contact information, especially with a constantly rotating roster with contractors coming in and out week to week. Phone calls and in-person meetings were simply not realistic. Pepper Construction needed a more centralized safety communication platform for the job.

The safety team overseeing the project, consisting of key members from Pepper Construction, Trinity Safety Group, and others, decided to try Zinc, starting with reports delivered daily to team leaders summarizing safety issues. Zinc allowed recipients to receive these reports while they were still relevant and actionable, creating a more continuous learning process rooted in the present. Most importantly, the system allowed everyone to easily contribute to the conversation, encouraging transparency and accountability.

Using Zinc not only made daily reporting easier, but also provided a more effective way of alerting Pepper Construction workers to timely issues: for example, in the event of severe weather, administrative and managerial staff could simply send out a push notification to all on-site teams and alert them to impending danger. Read receipts on the app ensured that managerial staff were aware which team members had received and read the message.

On one occasion, an incident occurred on the project site. Within minutes, a project manager had used Zinc to alert the safety team, and each team member was able to contribute to the solution and suggest immediate action to be taken, despite being in different locations and from different companies. Zinc allowed those responsible for the project to be present and accountable, without requiring everyone to rush to the site and cause confusion.

To better understand how the team was tracking alongside project goals, Pepper and Trinity developed an entirely new role, the Information Analyst, which helped manage the dissemination of information and evaluation of metrics using Zinc. In the first 90 days, the project scored a 98.7 percent safety rating, completed 893 audits, documented 18,448 specific behaviors, and 246 corrective actions took place. These types of insights into day-to-day output give managers and leaders a better understanding of how the team is tracking alongside project goals and metrics.

Safety is incredibly important to every company in the construction industry, and Pepper Construction has always encouraged its teams to actively seek out new technology and solutions. Zinc enabled the company and its safety partners to streamline the flow of information, foster dialogue around safety, and take timely action as they manage a significant project. Forward-thinking companies like Pepper and Trinity are taking the lead for the industry, and showing how the right tools can take safety and project management to the next level.

About Pepper Construction

Pepper Construction is one of the nation’s leading general contracting and construction management firms, and serves a range of markets, including healthcare, industrial, manufacturing, data centers, retail, and others. The company is family owned and operated, and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with additional offices in Indiana and Ohio. Notable clients include Eskenazi Hospital, IKEA, Northwestern University and the Art Institute of Chicago.



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