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80 • March 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL Monument Creation Overview The steps you need to take to get from the drawing board to construction Since 1985, Matt Charboneau has owned and operated Charboneau Signs in Loveland, Colorado. He is a consultant and designer for monument, channel letter and pylon sign projects. His book, "The Pre- Sale Sign Survey Field Guide—The how-to guide on sign surveys for the professional sign salesperson" can be ordered on his website: www. CharboneauSigns.com or by emailing him at Matt@ CharboneauSigns.com. B Y M A T T C H A R B O N E A U Designing Award Winning Signs Step 1: The pre-fabrication planning meeting This is the most important step to ensuring a smooth process. This is where each team member discusses their role in the project, their fears and doubts, complaints and ideas. Each team member gets the chance to know when their role is complete. At that point the job is handed off to the next department or team member to work on, and passed along to the next depart- ment, etc. The act of openly discussing the steps to be taken by each department allows for input from individuals who may see opportunities that might save time, money and avoid potential problems down the road. By investing 30 minutes to review all the steps of the job, you will eliminate the lion's share of the problems you could experience. Step 1a: Creating a timeline for on-time completion Creating a realistic timeline for each phase of the project is one of the most important tasks for an on-time completion. This can be done with a gravity board, or by using an in-house sign tracking system you may already have in place. Knowing where you are in the fabrication process is key to isolating and fixing problems as they occur. This timeline is what you will use to gauge your progress along the meandering path to completion, called "the process." The project manager will use this timeline as the project's roadmap. Make sure it's doable. Step 2: Verify twice, build once This is where your assigned project manager takes the lead and manages the many aspects of the project – mak- ing sure every detail is completed on time and correctly. Just for review, let's first talk about the most important fabrica- tion step there is, and that is a second verification of the installa- tion site. Can it be installed as planned based on the notes from the first survey? Before you start on the sign, take the time to send experienced fabricators/installers to the install site to verify that the sign location is going to be ready for installation. The project manager will be asking questions such as: • Is the mason prepared for this job and will the foundation be ready for the sign attachment? • Where will the foundation be poured and the footers or caissons placed? • Is that location exactly right and who said it was the right spot? Can it be proven? • Does the center-to-center pipe measurements match up with the saddles inside of the sign cabinets? Are the masons following the engineers plans exactly as shown? Building a monument sign – An overview of the process The customer has approved the design, the deposit has been paid and permits and approvals are in place. You are ready to build a monument sign. However, the last two major projects you built didn't go quite as planned and thus it cost the company several thousands in lost profits. You realize you didn't have a step-by-step, compartmentalized process to follow, which was one of the reasons you had problems. You were no doubt handling the process in much the same way you build a simple set of channel letters. Monuments involve dozens of steps that if "shoulda-coulda-woulda" had been followed, the previous projects may have been more successful. By planning ahead—before you start fabrica- tion—you will improve your chances for a successful project. ELECTRIC SIGNAGE Investing 30 minutes to review the steps of the job with each department head can eliminate the lion's share of the problems you might experience.