United Airlines (UAL)

United Airlines (UAL)

Date of Work: 1996-1998


The United Airlines (UAL) San Francisco Maintenance Center is responsible for performing many high-risk functions 365 days a year.  The facility department is faced with the difficulty of maintaining approximately 5 million square feet of office space, 135 acres of land, seven hangars, and various other buildings.  Traditionally, projects were awarded using the low-bid process, resulting in costly change orders and low quality work.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Quality construction was procured with less management and inspection.
  2. Performers gravitated to UAL. 
  3. By using performance information at the right time, UAL minimized the amount of technical specifications it used.
  4. The best value PIPS can be implemented by non-technical personnel.
  5. High performing subcontractors can work on the same project without a general contractor. 
  6. The high performance projects led to ten years of high performance, more than doubling the expectation of the client, and making their facility envelope/floors maintenance free for over ten years.

PIPS Performance:

The United Airlines maintenance facility implemented PIPS for over 2 years.  During this time period, the project manager ran PIPS on every type of project that he was involved on, including:

  1. General construction
  2. Roofing
  3. Painting
  4. Flooring
  5. High-speed roll-up doors
  6. Elevator installation
  7. Underground storage tanks
  8. Submersible pumps
  9. Environmental projects

Results were far superior to anything that had been procured at the facility. (Table 15.1)

# Criteria Results
1 Total number of projects 32
2 Total award amount $13 Million
3 Users comparison – Low Bid vs. Performance-Based 3 : 9
4 Overall satisfaction of PIPS 100%
5 Overall quality of construction procured using PIPS (10 max) 9
6 Percent of PIPS contractors that would be hired again 95%
7 Percent of project finished on time 98%
8 Percent of projects finished within budget 100%
9 Percent of projects with no change orders 100%
10 Number of companies that were evaluated (PPI) 75

Table 15.1: Results of PIPS Projects at United Airlines