• Overall design scheme,
• Price ranges for materials such as fabrics, entertainment equipment and appliances
• Modifications to floor plans or furniture that will be required
• The entertainment system that is desired
• Work besides the interior refurbishment that will be accomplished, such as avionics, paint and maintenance
If these issues are not addressed at the beginning of the job, then you are setting yourself up for increased charges later in the job. Further, if the complete work scope is not articulated in the beginning, the time frame for the job may be affected because rework will be required. Also, if you intend to have work completed in addition to the interior refurbishment, this must be communicated so the refurbishment center can coordinate with other departments or vendors. During this stage of the project, consensus building is an important skill for the corporate operator to use.
Finally, during the planning stage, the time frame for the project must be clearly defined. Do not force the time schedule as this will only result in rushed work that will disappoint everyone involved. Interior refurbishment projects take time. Determine a realistic time frame and then have the refurbishment center commit to that timeframe. Do not schedule a trip for the airplane within a week of the original delivery date. One of the nuances of corporate jet refurbishment projects is the unknown. Something may be found during the project that will have the potential to delay the project. Also, make sure the refurbishment center has scheduled a cold soak test flight and included time after the FAA visit and test flight to repair squawks prior to delivery. This should typically take three days.
Pursue the highest regulatory compliance
In today's market of intense regulatory compliance and inconsistencies in the implementation of FAA regulations, the corporate operator must choose a refurbishment center that has the highest regulatory, certification, and documentation standards. Yet, it is very common for corporate operators to choose refurbishment centers that are not an FAA-certified Repair Station. When choosing who will perform the work on your aircraft, several issues are important in future dealings with an FAA audit, aircraft inspections, or sale of the aircraft. Will the modification be performed and documented to current FAA regulations or policy? Has all testing for fireblocking and flammability requirements been met? Was the modification performed to FAA-approved data or received FAA FSDO approval? Did you receive all necessary approval documentation, logbook entries, weight/equipment list changes, engineering reports, and FAA forms 337, 8130-3 or 8110-3? A certified Repair Station will not be the cheapest route, but in the long run, it will be more economical, safer, and smarter.
Manage the project during the job
You can help the refurbishment center deliver you the highest quality product within a reasonable time frame by doing the following:
• Request a delivery schedule at the beginning of the job and request that this schedule be updated should anything change
• Have all key milestones identified at the beginning of the job, including dates for these key milestones
• Request regular updates on the project which should be at least twice a month, possibly weekly
• Require that all change orders or additional work be submitted for a signature, but you also must be ready to address the change order quickly
• If a milestone or the schedule is not met, require that you are given the reason in writing along with an action plan and a new date,
• Visit the facility throughout the project
• Answer questions the refurbishment center has as quickly as possible
• Ask for continuous updates regarding the refurbishment centers communications with the FAA
• Have an action plan for interior maintenance and warranty after the airplane leaves the refurbishment center
Refurbishment projects are complex and difficult to manage. As such, if the corporate operator requires information and structure during the project, it will help the refurbishment center manage the project. It is also typical for a refurbishment project to end with open items. These are typically minor but do require follow-up by the refurbishment center. As such, it is important that an action plan is created for each open item with dates for the resolution of the items.
Steve Denny brings more than 20 years experience to role in re-completion center.
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