Carolinas AGC announces Pinnacle Awards

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pinnacle awards

On February 1, 2014, Carolinas AGC bestowed the 2013 Pinnacle Awards, the most prestigious recognition in the Carolinas construction industry, to five projects and an individual.

The CAGC Pinnacle Awards competition is co-sponsored by CPA firm GreerWalker LLP and the law firm of Johnston, Allison &Hord, both based in Charlotte. The Pinnacle presentation was made at CAGC’s 93rd Annual Convention in Boca Raton, Florida.

Best Highway Project

The I-85 Yadkin River Bridge, Salisbury, NC

Lead: The Joint Venture of Flatiron/Lane

Partners in Excellence: STV/Ralph Whitehead, Charlotte, NC, HDR Engineering, Raleigh, NC

The project replaced a severely deteriorated, 60-year old bridge eight months ahead of schedule and $44 million below the owner’s budget. The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT)’s RFP required great resourcefulness from the design-build team, as the bridge crosses five current and future railroad tracks, carrying 60 trains per day, including freight rail, Amtrak, and a future high speed rail.

The team’s Maintenance of Traffic plan was key– accelerating an intermediate milestone to open the northbound mainline bridge and temporarily shift both northbound and southbound traffic onto it. The team also saw that by slightly widening the median from 46 feet to 70 feet, they could construct a single work bridge in the center median instead of the two called for in the RFP. This choice not only accelerated the schedule and reduced the total cost, but also reduced the environmental impacts to the stringently monitored wetlands on the site.

The project team worked an impressive three and a half years without any Notice of Violations (NOVs), a huge accomplishment on a project surrounded by environmentally sensitive areas. At its peak, more than 200 people worked 24-hours a day, six to seven days a week. Crews finished the half-mile bridge in roughly 14 months.

Best Building Project

Duke University Baldwin Auditorium Renovations, Durham, NC

The transformation of Baldwin Auditorium into an acoustically superior world-class musical venue was a LEED silver registered project. The existing venue had poor acoustics, and the LeChase team virtually remade it – changing the very shape of the interior, redesigning and relocating mechanical equipment configuration, and renovating the unusual coffered dome. Those were complemented by a focus on intricate structural modifications and special finishes, all through an intricate sequenced process.

The team added wall and floor mass to create an acoustically superior shoe-box shape. To maximize acoustic efficiency, all walls were angled, curved or shaped to avoid parallel surfaces.

While dome shapes are not typically desirable for acoustic excellence, the coffered dome of Baldwin was an aesthetic masterpiece which Duke University wanted to retain. A substantial scaffolding system was engineered to create a “dance floor” high above the finished floor elevation promoting safe access for new plaster finishes, acoustical coffer installations, sprinkler, lighting, carpentry and paint applications.

One-half of the dome required reflection of sound while the other half required absorption, but both halves were required to appear identical.

A common complaint of Baldwin patrons had been noise and vibrations of the mechanical equipment located directly below the auditorium. The new system allows air to permeate upward through 75,000 minute holes drilled in the stage floor to gently rise and cool/warm onstage performers. More than 250 swirl-air diffusers in the floor and under the seating area provide low pressure air to the audience. The result was zero vibration and silent delivery of conditioned air to the auditorium.

For the balcony extension, steel columns along with horizontal beams and corrugated metal decking were rigged inside, through window and door openings, then into final vertical position via a small, high capacity crane that is one of just a few in the U.S.

Numerous installations required detailing beyond the capability of two-dimensional drawings. The millwork scope, in particular, required furniture grade perfection. Balcony railing and the orchestra shell required curved components in three dimensions. Each piece was modeled using Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology and a component was selected for mock construction. Each mock construction piece was reviewed and retained to the end of the project to ensure the target level of quality.

Best Building Project

The Chatham County Courthouse, Pittsboro, NC

The historic Chatham County Courthouse, known to thousands as Chatham County’s front porch, burned March 25, 2010. Carolinians and history buffs held their breath waiting to hear if it could be salvaged.

The entire roof structure and clock tower had burned through to the lower floors, which collapsed. While it was determined that the remaining masonry structure could be salvaged, the skeleton would require “kid glove treatment” in refurbishing damaged exterior brickwork.

The top of the walls were drilledand doweled with rebar and the walls capped with new masonry and concrete to extend higher. Thus, the new upper floors are “in part” supported today by the original masonry walls installed in 1881. A system of fans was placed in the building to help dry out the interior masonry walls; the building remained undisturbed for almost a year during this dry-out.

Once underway, interior reconstruction included a new steel-framed roof system, interior concrete floors, extensive millwork and all new finishes. Parts of the building would be returned to their original appearance, with remaining historical materials protected. Of course, the renovation also included installation of a fire suppression sprinkler system.

Debris removal was tedious, and all pine flooring and beams not permanently damaged were carefully removed and salvaged. To keep as much original detail as possible, modern HVAC, electrical sprinkler and plumbing systems were installed in 130-year-old areas not designed for such systems, often requiting customization. H.M. Kern’s partnership with Mechworks was key.

Among the project’s unique safety threats, the Courthouse is located in the center of town, in the middle of a traffic circle, with continual traffic from two major NC highways bustling around it.

From the start, H.M. Kern entered into an agreement with OSHA’s consultation services to ensure the safety of not only its workers but also the public, who became eager spectators as the project progressed. The result was no injuries, fatalities or citations.

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