QuieterHome—Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport

Detroit QuietTrack application

A sound insulation program is intended to enhance the relationship between the airport and the community. Unfortunately for Wayne County, owner and operator of Detroit Metropolitan–Wayne County Airport, it had become a liability for the elected officials by 2001. Approximately 600 of the 2,500 eligible homes had reached the construction stage. More than 500 homes were open for construction for extended periods (as much as 800 days), calls from the homeowners to program consultant were not being returned, the trust of the community had almost completely eroded, and the FAA had ceased issuing grant funds for the program. Upon selection, C&S immediately conduct a ‘SWAT’ evaluation of the program. A team of our most experienced staff interviewed homeowners, building code officials and municipal inspectors, contractors, and Wayne County staff. The program was examined with the concept that there were no existing policies and procedures that could not be changed. The result was a comprehensive policies and procedures manual that retained the successful aspects of the program and added many new features designed to avoid delay and homeowner dissatisfaction. Simultaneously, we positioned several of our most experienced construction management staff in Detroit to help close-out the homes that were left unfinished. The QuieterHome team worked closely with the homeowners, contractors, airport staff, and local municipal officials to expedite closing the homes. By mid-summer 2002, a total of 576 open homes were complete. A tool that C&S used to organize the homeowner information, status, and eligibility was a customized database application called QuietTrack. This database program was instrumental in keeping the large number of applicants and program participants organized. QuietTrack stores information, tracks communication, generates letters, lets users view maps of the area, and summarizes program statistics. The next challenge in the program emerged when FAA alerted the county that an update to the FAR Part 150 Noise Compatibility Study was necessary. Realizing that the contours would likely shrink, the FAA and the Airport Authority agreed to accelerate the program pace to accomplish as much as possible prior to the completion of the study update. C&S immediately responded to the task and launched a design and construction administration strategy that treated up to 800 homes a year. Working from the office we established in the program area, our design and construction teams worked seamlessly to achieve a homeowner satisfaction rate of over 95% throughout the entire program. A measure of success of the program and a source of pride for airport director Lester Robinson was the remark by the FAA regional manager that the Wayne County program had “gone from worst to first in the region.” The Wayne County program was completed in late 2006 and as part of the closing ceremonies for the program, County Commissioner Ed Boike remarked that “C&S had delivered on their promise—after they took over the program, my phone stopped ringing.”