It’s not exactly rocket science



Long before I was a builder, I was fascinated by space. In fact, my first career goal was to become an astronaut. To help me get there, as a middle schooler I was fortunate to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. – and I still have my flight suit! I commanded a simulator mission in which we had to land in an Iowa cornfield, but like that flight, my space career soon drifted off target. Instead, I’ve put my technical knowledge to use in solving the challenges involved with creating buildings, especially how to enable them to have less impact on the environment. But I never fully let go of the dream of putting on that flight suit again.

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Space has long been a fascination of mine: here’s my Space Camp flight suit from middle school.

With my background and interests, I was surprised and delighted to recently receive an email inviting me to present about sustainability and resiliency at a joint NASA/European Space Agency conference. The worlds of space travel and construction don’t often mix, except for highly specialized work. But I submitted an abstract, which was accepted, and not too long ago I was before a crowd of engineers and administrators at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. I had 25 minutes to share some thoughts to help NASA improve the resiliency of its ground infrastructure against the looming impacts of climate change.

I focused on the idea of advancing systems from being redundant to restorative. Redundancy involves layering on duplicate layers of capacity or protection in case the primary system fails to work, or is overloaded. Think of a back-up generator. Having extra layers is often quite costly, and the additional capacity may be rarely – if ever – used.

Space station as model?

But rather than redundant, what if we focused on creating systems that were resilient: able to flex and withstand stresses without breaking. With buildings, that means facilities that depend on natural systems and strategies, instead of more layers of energy and technology. For instance, in nature things are self-sufficient. A technological equivalent of that is a cogeneration plant, a highly efficient machine that uses natural gas – albeit from off-site – to produce electricity, and it takes what otherwise would be waste heat and uses that to produce hot water or steam for heating buildings. During Hurricane Sandy in New York City, on-site co-generation enabled New York University to heat and power its campus, as natural gas lines remained intact. For true on-site, emission-free power, photovoltaics are a compelling solution, but their use is limited by site area, weather and, of course, darkness.

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The International Space Station offers lessons in resiliency from which buildings on Earth might benefit. (Photo credit: NASA)

Maybe the International Space Station will show us how to combine both of these systems in buildings: The space station uses photovoltaics to create electricity and to drive an electrolysis process that splits water into hydrogen (fuel) and oxygen (air), a space version of cogeneration and a biomimicry of the process on Earth that we call photosynthesis.

Neighborhood-sized solutions

But I believe the best way to be resilient is not through individual buildings, but rather groups of buildings. Collections of buildings known as eco-districts help reduce resource consumption because water, waste, energy and transportation systems can be optimized, each at the appropriate scale. Studies have shown that for every five or so office buildings running off of a district energy plant, there’s typically enough efficiency gain to also power a sixth one without added capacity. This neighborhood-scale consolidation also reduces the dependency on the single, regional systems most communities use.

Benefiting the surroundings

Beyond redundant and resilient you have restorative, which is having a building or system that actually benefits its surroundings. That was the aim of Skanska and our partners in creating Powerhouse Kjorbo, an office building near Oslo, Norway, that will produce more energy over its life cycle than it uses. Photovolatic panels on the roof, geothermal heating and cooling, and a well-sealed and highly insulated building structure – combined with very efficient integrated systems for heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting – all transform what could be an energy-guzzling office building into a supplier of pure and renewable energy. It’s also a beautiful place to work, even if you are above the Arctic Circle.

Transforming from redundant to restorative is a big step – no matter if you’re dealing with buildings or space program infrastructure. Being at this conference reminded me of all the advances that the space program has brought to our everyday lives. It gives me hope that the very organization that has a mission of going to other planets is working together with all of us Earthlings to preserve this one.

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Steve Clem

posted by Steve Clem

Skanska USA Vice president of preconstruction

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Life cycle thinking

Life cycle management, facility information management, BIM for facilities management: whatever you may wish to call it, this practice has huge potential to reshape how buildings are delivered. Just as building information modeling/virtual design and construction was an emerging effort some five years ago but is now common for design and construction, finding ways to smartly and electronically package design and construction data for facilities management uses will similarly be standard practice five years from now, said Mike Clark, Skanska national manager of VDC project support.

Key to such solutions is that they’re simple to use, flexible to accommodate evolving needs, customized to each client’s demands, and that ideally the efforts start as early as possible in the project. Here are some examples of how Skanska is helping clients prepare to better manage and maintain their buildings:

Electronic O&M delivery

This approach’s initial step is electronically providing in a convenient format such operations and maintenance information as equipment manuals and warranty information. For instance, with the 293,000-square-foot Montlake Tower project for the University of Washington Medical Center, our team created a PDF-based interface, in addition to supplying the required voluminous paper documents. This electronic portal is an alternative way for UWMC to access key O&M documents, while manual entry of the full paper-based information continued.

Now, UWMC has developed a standardized approach for electronically delivering O&M materials, the use of which is required on projects. Furthermore, for an upcoming project the medical center will be having the BIM data created and commissioned for direct import into their facility information management system, providing even greater potential for short- and long-term cost savings through operational efficiencies.

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Linking the BIM model with O&M data

For a 350,000-square-foot new bed tower for MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital – also in Washington state – we led the effort to integrate the BIM model with O&M data. This is even more powerful a solution than just electronic O&M delivery, as the model enables a more intuitive way of working. Our BIM approach involved assisting the hospital with identifying its facility information needs; determining the scope of this effort and the needed hardware and software; organizing the BIM models and O&M data; and training the hospital’s team. With this solution, O&M documents, drawings and training videos can all be easily accessed by pointing and clicking on a single model-based interface.

Developing holistic BIM facilities standards

George Washington University decided to create a holistic set of BIM facility management standards to be included in the contract documents for all designers and contractors working on its campuses. At the conclusion of each project going forward, GW’s intention is to receive what it needs to electronically manage that building or space: a BIM model complete with all design details and as-built information, with separate files for all operational data, including warranties.

What has typically happened – at GW and throughout the building industry – is that the designers create one BIM model, while the construction team creates at least one other model, leaving the building owner with multiple models at the end of the project, none of which fully provide what is desired.

“We realized that as owners, we had to take leadership to shape the outcome that we wanted,” said Eric Hougen, director of technology and information management for GW, located in Washington, D.C.

GW’s creation of its FIM Procedures Manual is a pioneering undertaking, as few owners have done this. Skanska led the development of this manual, and we’re now providing similar consulting services to other clients.

“This kind of information will assist us from day one, and it gets incredibly valuable during the life cycle of the building,” Hougen said. “Obviously, we’ve existed without it for years, but I think we’re at that point where the next evolution of our facilities management organization is dependent on us having quality building information.”

 

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From the State of the Union: a brighter light for U.S. infrastructure

U.S. infrastructure, from our roads and bridges to our courthouses and water systems, is in great need of investment. So the White House’s recent effort to increase private sector participation in public infrastructure projects through Build America, a government-wide initiative to increase collaborative infrastructure investment and economic growth, is an encouraging step towards increasing public-private partnerships in the U.S. – and I’m looking forward to further P3 announcements that I’m expecting President Obama to address tonight during the State of the Union address.

As you may know, in a P3, public money is leveraged with private investment to fast-track critical projects, for which the long-term responsibility to maintain that infrastructure falls to private partners.  Skanska is currently working on two of the nation’s largest P3s – Elizabeth River Tunnels in Virginia and I-4 Ultimate in Florida. Both these projects will help transform transportation and accessibility in their respective regions, while generating many well-paying jobs. P3s are a leading way to get major infrastructure done in our country today.

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The Skanska-led consortium behind Orlando’s I-4 Ultimate public-private partnership project will widen and reconstruct 21 miles of interstate highway, greatly improving that region’s mobility.

Initiatives like Build America are a positive indication that the federal government supports states, municipalities and private enterprises that work collaboratively to create partnerships that benefit the American public by improving core infrastructure. In a fact sheet released on Friday that previews some of what President Obama might address in his State of the Union address tonight, the White House laid out new steps that federal agencies are taking to bring private sector capital and expertise to help improve U.S. roads, bridges, ports and drinking water systems. These steps include a new Water Finance Center at the Environmental Protection Agency, driving the Rural Opportunity Investment Initiative at the Department of Agriculture and leveling the playing field for municipalities seeking P3s by proposing the creation of a new kind of municipal bond, Qualified Public Infrastructure Bonds, so that governments can more easily work with the private sector to advance the public interest. All these efforts will go a long way to helping get more P3 projects off the ground.

Now and into the future, P3s will be essential for fixing our crumbling infrastructure. There is such a tremendous need for repair and little public money to pay for it, and meanwhile there’s plenty of private money on the sidelines waiting to be invested.

These latest initiatives to boost P3s hopefully generate many critical projects and elevate the conversation in Washington to find creative, alternate solutions to simply raising taxes or doing nothing.

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Richard Cavallaro

posted by Richard Cavallaro

President and CEO, Skanska USA

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How this architecture grad came to love construction

Amanda Hu has had a busy year-and-a-half since joining Skanska after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, with an architecture degree. Having planned to be a designer, this Texas native didn’t know what to expect from construction – but she’s come to love its fast-paced ways, teamwork and constant learning. During a break from her estimating work at our Oakland, Calif., office, she spoke with us:

When I joined Skanska, I didn’t know what I’d be doing. I wound up in preconstruction, and I really like it. Rather than dealing with one project, I’ve worked on estimates for probably 10 projects. It’s been a great way to get introduced to construction.

I’ve realized this field requires you to be a jack-of-all-trades. You have to know about economics, politics, science and logistics, not just cost, materials and labor. The cool part is you’re always learning. In preconstruction, while the estimates have a similar structure, each project is different. That’s been the fun part for me – it’s such a dynamic field.

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Hu at the Transbay Transit Center site in San Francisco

In some ways, preconstruction gets to be a scramble because owners always throw more stuff at us as the deadlines get closer. But what makes it manageable – and enjoyable – is the team atmosphere here.

I’m amazed at the talent of some of my preconstruction colleagues. With their years of experience, some of them are such pricing experts that their “shooting from the hip” estimates are usually close to the full estimates, which we arrive at after much work and trade contractor input. How do they do that?

One of the unexpected opportunities my first year was estimating a small exterior improvement project for a children’s clinic, and then going to the field to help build that project. While on site, there were times I thought to myself, “Did I give myself enough money to do that?” In the end, we wound up in the black. That experience was really helpful in terms of learning how what we do in preconstruction impacts operations.

I learn so much every day from those around me, but two people have been especially helpful. Project Manager Greg Roth is really good about getting me to think more critically about every task that I do. So rather than just putting quantities and costs into spreadsheets, I need to think, “What’s the best way to clearly organize that information to reflect what’s important to the client?” Business Development Director Julie Hyson is also great about challenging me. Until recently, I hadn’t spent time in operations nor in client interviews, so I wouldn’t have raised my hand for opportunities in those areas, especially as I’m still relatively new. But Julie was instrumental in my being selected to be the project engineer for the children’s clinic, and then she gave me the chance to go in front of that client and sell Skanska during a pursuit– that was a really special opportunity.

Northern California is such a hot building market, especially with technology, healthcare and biopharmaceutical companies. The next best-selling technology or pharmaceutical breakthrough may come from a facility that we build. That’s a great reason for being here – and so is the weather.

I really enjoy site visits and being out in the field. So for my next step after preconstruction – in five years or so – I see myself being an assistant superintendent. That way, I can really learn how to interact with craft workers and see the day-to-day operations of how a building is put together.  Not exactly your traditional career path for an architecture grad!

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How do you move a fragile 15-ton painting?

With the recent opening of our Harvard Art Museums renovation and expansion project in Cambridge, Mass., it’s worth recapping one of the most significant activities of this landmark project. That was moving and lifting a 76-year-old, 13- by 12-foot irreplaceable painting that’s integral to fragile plaster affixed to a 16-inch-thick masonry wall. Rarely do lifts personally matter so much to all involved, as this painting – called a fresco – depicts the builders of the original art museum in action in the 1920s. The fresco had to be moved for the project to proceed, and our team was determined to protect their predecessors’ legacy.

Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Mass.

Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Mass.

Skanska’s sophisticated approach involved encapsulating the fresco and its supporting wall in a massive steel frame, then using a diamond-bladed cable saw to cut the 15-ton section free of the surrounding structure, and finally using a crane – with its boom towering 140 feet in the air – to land the fresco in its final location. At every step, the loading on the fresco needed to be constant so the artwork wouldn’t crack. Thanks to our team’s unrelenting precision, it didn’t.

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Creating one of the world’s greenest buildings

Solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal wells, rain cisterns and composting toilets – you don’t often see those all in one building, if you see them at all. But these are central to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center, which was recently dedicated in Virginia Beach, Va.

After three years spent planning, designing and building this facility, it was great to see local residents exploring what is possible with green building during the open house.  The Brock center is targeting not only LEED Platinum certification, but also the even more stringent Living Building Challenge that requires net zero environmental impact. Some of those residents seemed to be in awe of what was accomplished by this team, which includes not only CBF and Skanska (as CBF’s representative) as key team members, but also SmithGroupJJR, Hourigan Construction and WPL Site Design.

I’m still a bit in awe myself as to what this great team achieved: an international model for energy and water efficiency and climate change resiliency, and Virginia’s greenest building.  The team reached these tough goals because of open minds and much collaboration amongst team members. (This video of the eco-charette shows us all engaging in early discussions about this project – this session was at the beginning of a great adventure!)

The challenges were many, as this team was a green pioneer. Take, for example, that the 10,000-square-foot building collects rainwater, then filters and re-uses it as drinking water to help achieve net-zero water use. As far as we know, that’s a first for a commercial-scale building in the U.S., and it required the facility to be certified as a water treatment plant. Early in design, the project team engaged both the City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Department of Health to make certain that they could legally re-use water in this way. After much constructive back and forth, that system is running today – and that water tastes great!

Ensuring that only proper materials were used on this project was another considerable challenge. With the Living Building Challenge, materials must be locally sourced and must not contain any of the 22 potentially harmful materials or chemicals on the Challenge’s Red List. The Brock center is Skanska’s second Living Building Challenge project, following Seattle’s Bertschi School Science Classroom that we completed in 2011. (The Bertschi classroom was awarded Living Building certification in 2013, becoming the world’s fourth Living Building.) Being able to tap the resources of our Bertschi School team was a great starting point and ongoing resource for the Brock center team. However, Brock involved different materials and a later Living Building Challenge version, so the Brock team still had to do substantial legwork to ensure that all products met requirements. You can never start early enough on materials research, but thankfully for this project our committed partners of SmithGroupJJR and Hourigan did great work in this regard.

Brock Center

As with all Living Building Challenge projects, though construction is complete the project team will keep close watch over the building. Living Building certification requires the building to be monitored over the next year to ensure it operates as intended, including meeting net zero energy and water goals. You’ll be able to see for yourself how this building’s green features make it independent of outside energy and water sources: starting in February, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is opening the Brock center for regular tours. As the building is home to CBF’s local staff and environmental education programs, it has the potential to inspire thousands of students to expect and aspire to a future populated by living buildings. Imagine how such a world would help protect the magnificent Chesapeake Bay.

I live in the neighboring city of Norfolk, so I definitely plan to come back and see this important resource in use. I hope to see you there.

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Megan O’Connell

posted by Megan O’Connell

Senior project engineer

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Leadership lessons from Skanska USA’s new president and CEO

RichCavallaroHorinzontal

On January 1 Rich Cavallaro became Skanska USA’s president and CEO, replacing Mike McNally who retired after 16 years with us. A New York City native who grew up with five brothers, Cavallaro graduated from the City College of New York and, after some stints elsewhere, joined Skanska in 1996 as an estimator. His first major field assignment was on the $1.2 billion AirTrain to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. From there, he worked his way up to be the CEO of Skanska USA’s civil business unit, which specializes in large infrastructure projects and projects in the power and industrial sectors. During the five years he held that position, Rich brought our regional civil operations together to work as a unified national contractor, enabling us to best pool our resources to execute the most challenging projects, regardless of location. Now, Rich oversees collaboration between our U.S. construction and development units and the operations of those construction units, both building and civil.

Here, he discusses the power of teams, why our values are so important, and that achieving zero lost-time accidents is within our grasp.

What’s your leadership style? I’m definitely a team builder and a cheerleader. I completely believe in the power of teams, as there are so many examples of teams delivering remarkable results that could never have been achieved individually.

What’s a key leadership lesson you’ve learned? One of the key things I’ve learned is that as a leader, you need to have a steady hand. You shouldn’t overreact to ups and downs, because they’re always part of the business. Another valuable lesson I’ve learned is that you should never play the blame game. Problems come to you all the time but it’s important to get the team focusing on the solution, instead of trying to assign blame.

What trait do you admire most in other people, and why? Selflessness and loyalty. Selflessness refers to the team being more important than the individual, and when people act that way you get a more powerful result. Sports have millions of examples of this. Take, for example, the 1980 U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team: they were basically a bunch of kids playing professionals from the Soviet Union. How the U.S. beat them nobody can explain, but everybody did what they needed to do to deliver for the team – they put that ahead of their own needs.

What can employees expect from you? I’ll do whatever I can to help individuals succeed. I’ll be a steady influence. I’ll be a team builder. I’ll be loyal to a fault. Those are the kind of things people can expect from me.

What do you admire about Skanska as a whole? I admire the way we do business. The Five Zeros is our North Star, as it guides decision making. Having this tremendous foundation of safety; ethics; sustainability; diversity and inclusion; quality; and profitability really separates us from most of our competitors.

What are your top priorities? We’re going to continue stressing safety, ethics, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability – all the things that McNally has been emphasizing. A really big priority for me – and the one we have the most work to do to achieve – is to become better integrated to deliver even more powerful solutions for clients. While we’ve made strong progress toward being One Skanska, we have further to go.

Looking ahead, what are Skanska’s greatest U.S. opportunities? Public-private partnerships will be huge in the U.S. There is such a tremendous need for infrastructure repair and little public money to pay for it, and meanwhile there’s plenty of private money on the sidelines waiting to be invested. What better place to invest your money than in U.S. infrastructure? Also, low-cost energy in the U.S. will accelerate and create significant opportunities for us. Healthcare continues to grow at a rapid rate, so it’s great that we’re so strong in that market. And there’s much potential to expand our work in commercial development.

How do you see Skanska in five years? We should be larger, we should be more profitable, and we should be even more of a leader in safety, ethics, sustainability and diversity and inclusion. Achieving those will require us to be a more integrated organization that can better take advantage of all our strengths.

What advice do you have for a new college graduate starting out with us? Knowledge is power. We do so many really interesting projects that offer such tremendous opportunities to learn. Soak in that knowledge as part of your job, and later put it to use. I guarantee you that will advance your career.

 

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Our top 10 blog posts of 2014

Between the MetLife Stadium we constructed hosting the Super Bowl, completing a Santiago Calatrava masterpiece and making major progress on one of the largest U.S. public-private partnerships, it’s been an exciting year for us! As we close out the final days of 2014, we’re taking a look back at our ten most popular posts here on Constructive Thinking. We can’t wait for what 2015 will bring.

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Here are those posts, in order of popularity:

1.  Ever wonder how an underwater tunnel is built? Check out this step-by-step guide to the process currently underway at our joint venture’s Elizabeth River Tunnels P3 in Hampton Roads, Virginia: How we’re submersing 16,000-ton segments to create Virginia’s newest tunnel.

2.  This year’s Super Bowl saw the Seahawks and Broncos face off in MetLife Stadium, which we completed in 2010. The Seahawks took home the Vince Lombardi trophy inside one of the nation’s most technologically-advanced and energy-efficient stadiums. Here’s How to build a stadium that can tackle the Big Game.

3.  Before we could immerse the tunnel tubes for Elizabeth River Tunnels, first we had to float the 16,000-ton hollow concrete segments 220 miles down the Chesapeake Bay. We recapped the incredible journey in photos: Virginia’s latest highway tunnel begins with a trip down the Chesapeake Bay.

4.  Our high-stakes concrete pour at Miami’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science required 25 hours of non-stop placement to complete the suspended, martini glass-shaped 500,000-gallon seawater aquarium tank without any cracks. Gizmodo was impressed by our team’s precision. Watch teamwork in action in a stunning time-lapse: Our team was neither shaken nor stirred on this epic concrete pour.

5.  The Calatrava-designed Innovation, Science and Technology Building at Florida Polytechnic University is one of the most striking and challenging buildings we have built. This fall the university, the first STEM-focused college in the Sunshine State, welcomed its inaugural class of students. You don’t want to miss these pictures: This Calatrava masterpiece comes to life exactly as envisioned.

6.  At Skanska, we’re engaging with our clients to find ways to use building information modeling to improve the whole life cycle of buildings, not just during design and construction. For a facility owner, utilizing BIM for operations and maintenance uses can have substantial benefits. Here are Five ways virtual modeling can improve facilities management.

7.  Airports play an essential part in our economy and our lives. And yet, in the U.S. many of our airports have gone decades without major upgrades. MacAdam Glinn, national director of our Aviation Center of Excellence, examined the economic and consumer forces shaping our airports in the infographic The evolution of airports: trends in aviation construction and on NPR.

8.  Public-private partnerships are becoming increasingly important financing solutions for the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. While much attention has been focused on how P3s can help cities and states move forward on transportation projects, there’s growing interest in using P3s to improve such social infrastructure as courthouses and hospitals. Learn more in P3s aren’t just for transportation – here’s how they can help with public buildings too.

9.  As we work toward an Injury-Free Environment®, it’s essential to understand the potential hazards and the kinds of behaviors that can lead to harm. For Safety Week 2014, we crafted a visual reminder of what is at stake and what can be done to prevent accidents: It’s work, not war: How to prevent deadly harm in construction.

10.  From tunnel-boring machines to laser scanners, our teams get to build with some rather incredible equipment and technology. In downtown San Francisco, for example, we’re using two giant crawler cranes to assemble 24,000 tons of structural steel for the Transbay Transit Center, known as the Grand Central Station of the West. That steel weighs about the same as 111 Boeing 747-400s! Learn more in: Get to know the newest additions to the San Francisco skyline.

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Our team was neither shaken nor stirred on this epic concrete pour

In Miami, Skanska just successfully executed one of the world’s most unusual concrete pours: creating a martini glass-shaped 500,000-gallon seawater aquarium tank through a non-stop 25-hour, 1,200-cubic-yard placement.

The stakes were very high for this aspect of our new $101 million Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science project: The tank can’t have any cracks large enough to let water pass through, which essentially means no cracks at all, and certainly not any construction joints. Yet concrete, as we all know, is prone to cracking. When the science museum opens as expected in summer 2016, visitors will be able to walk below the suspended, conical tank and view sharks and other aquatic life through a 30-foot-diameter, up to 18-inch-thick acrylic lens at the center of the base.

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Fireworks didn’t distract our team from their 25-hour assignment.

To enable a successful pour, the project team – including program manager Hill International and trade contractor Baker Concrete – took every precaution to guard against potential issues. This meticulous planning dates back to when we joined the project this past May, taking over the work at about 30 percent completion. For the last three months, this effort included a daily 2 p.m. planning meeting. Our team considered nearly everything:

• Multiple mock-up pours were done to ensure the proper concrete mix. The concrete needed to work with the tank’s challenging geometry, including angles of up to nearly 44 degrees that could cause concrete to slide. The mix also had to fit between dense layers of hefty rebar and post-tensioning cables to create sections up to nearly five feet thick.

• Mechanics were on site should one of the three concrete pumps break down, and also at the concrete plant. Both a concrete pump and a conveyor belt at the plant went down for 30 minutes during the overnight pour, but our team didn’t break a sweat. “Those were hiccups that we had anticipated and that we had back-up plans for,” said Scott Davis, senior superintendent. Even more, if one of the pumps had failed beyond repair, a wrecker truck was on site to tow it out of position so a replacement could be brought in.

• Fire department rescue teams came to the project on three days the week ahead of the pour to do drills with the project team, in case there would be a catastrophic form or shoring failure that trapped workers. Six concrete columns and a myriad of shoring supported the suspended tank during the pour.

Ready to go

But whether this pour – requiring 150 people for each of two shifts and 131 concrete trucks – should go ahead came down to an afternoon meeting the day before the scheduled event: Was everything – including the weather – ready for the pour to proceed? The team decided that it was.

At 4:35 p.m. on Friday, December 12, our team proceeded with their approach: Beginning the pour at the base and proceeding both clockwise and counterclockwise, they worked as the arms of the concrete pumps reached out like praying mantises above them. The collaborative quality assurance/quality control process that had been integral to all aspects of preparing for the pour continued, with our team checking every truckload of concrete that arrived on site, even tracking graphically where in the tank each load was placed should any issues be identified during ongoing testing.

“This is a remarkable team that volunteered when called upon and not only helped but succeeded in performing an extremely difficult coordination between the pump trucks, the work in the tank and documenting each and every truck load placement,” said Frank Longo, project director.

As the pour progressed, cruise ships docked in the adjacent Biscayne Bay, and fireworks exploded ahead from nearby South Beach. Not that our team had time to notice. This great time-lapse video shows the pour as it unfolded:

Aquarium Pour Time Lapse from Multivision Video & Film on Vimeo.

At 5:25 p.m. that Saturday, the pour was done.

“All in all, it was a great day and night, with no safety issues,” said Nicole Heran, senior project manager.

Next challenge

Our team is already onto its next unusual and significant challenge: erecting a spherical planetarium made out of precast concrete segments shaped like orange peels. These significant lifts require a 550-ton crane.

Besides the aquarium and planetarium, the 250,000-square-foot museum will include exhibition halls and indoor and outdoor science exhibits. The museum – in downtown Miami’s Museum Park – is targeting LEED Platinum certification.

tank-for-Hub

Visitors will be able to walk below the conical tank and view the aquatic life through a 30-foot-diameter, up to 18-inch-thick acrylic lens.

 

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How our Stone34 project demonstrates sustainable leadership

When Brooks Sports, the running shoe and apparel company, needed a new global headquarters and a Seattle-area home for its growing staff of shoe designers, marketing experts and product managers, it turned to Skanska USA. They wanted their new home to reflect the company’s commitment to wellness and sustainability and our team worked with Brooks to develop an incredibly compelling vision for its new home. That vision has come to life at Stone34, a 129,000-square-foot building along one of Seattle’s most popular multi-use trails, enabling Brooks to craft a new trailhead and stronger relationship with those who engage on many levels with the company.

full bldg NW nite

Today, Stone34 has been nominated in the category of “Transforming Spaces” in Sustainable Seattle’s Sustainable Leadership People’s Choice Awards. The Sustainability Leadership Awards celebrate inspiring sustainability efforts accomplished in the Puget Sound Region and winners and nominees are nominated and voted on by the community.

int Brooks cafe lakeview 1

So what makes Stone34 an example of sustainable leadership and a transformative space? Being environmentally and socially responsible is important to Brooks, and Skanska responded with a building that creates brand value for Brooks while helping the company manage energy risk in the future.  Stone34 is the first-market rate project and second building overall to participate in the City of Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program, a partnership between Skanska, tenants and the surrounding community to grow a smarter neighborhood through green, sustainable design. Stone34, on track to receive LEED Platinum certification, is situated and designed to reduce heat gain and energy use, this includes operable windows to enable natural breeze to help cool the building.

full bldg SW

The building captures and reuses at least 50 percent of storm water on the site and using 75 percent less energy than a typical Seattle commercial building. This is in part thanks to an innovative hydronic heating and cooling system, which uses circulated water to control temperature. The centerpiece of the building’s facade is a glass-enclosed staircase to encourage walking between the five floors, rather than riding elevators, reinforcing the activity and movement inherent in the Brooks’ brand. Activity is further encouraged through the building’s connection to Seattle’s Burke Gillman trail, encouraging employees and visitors to commute and exercise on foot or bike.

For more information on Brook’s new home, check out this New York Times feature.

In addition to conceiving, financing and developing Stone34, Skanska also built it. We relied on our in-house craft workers and expertise with lean construction processes to ensure the highest quality construction on a very aggressive schedule. Skanska is also guaranteeing the building’s energy performance for ten years.

Check out this video on the Stone34 vision and click here to cast your vote for Stone34 by December 19th.

Stone 34 | Skanska from eric becker on Vimeo.

 

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