Smart Owners

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Credit: Original article published here.

Smart Owners?

Everyone has had one… but what do you do when your Owner is smarter than you?

**  AppreciateAcknowledgeAcceptApplyAbsorb  **

The design of the new Broomfield Community Center – in a northern suburb of Denver, Colorado – began in early 2018.  I had the opportunity to employ what I call the “5-A’s” of managing not only the design and construction phases of the project, but also the expectations of my very experienced“smarter than me” Owner.

APPRECIATE:  My Owner – Ben Nance, a former general contractor and former precaster turned Project Manager for the City and County of Broomfield (Ben used to work for Metromont Corporation, one of our Precast Concrete Benchmarking Partners in the southeast U.S.).

ACKNOWLEDGE:  The Broomfield Community Center had several challenges to overcome:

  • Construction was scheduled to begin right after the 1st of the year in 2019;
  • The total precast concrete enclosure of the Recreation Center needed to be structurally complete, dried-in and climate controlled by the end of 2019 to support a hard 2020 end-of summer opening;
  • Concept Design had been completed and budgeted as a Type I masonry and steel structure;
  • A free-span Gymnasium with two full-size basketball courts and an all-around cantilevered, three-lane running track;
  • Multi-level Fitness and Locker Room programs – all constructed on expansive soils;
  • Two separate, indoor competition swimming pools with thermal, humidity and corrosion considerations.

ACCEPT:  With the prospect of starting vertical construction in a tough Rocky Mountain winter, the Architect, Engineer and Contractor immediately supported the Owner’s request and brought Wells Concrete in to study and budget (and ultimately select) insulated, architectural precast concrete walls for the Recreation Center in lieu of hand-laid masonry walls.  Not only would this assembly meet and exceed the City and County of Broomfield’s stringent Municipal Code and Architectural Design Criteria, it would provide durable, “ready-to-finish” interior surfaces that would meet the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code.

This VALUE-BASED DECISION to change the façade assembly
cut months off the construction schedule AND
saved costs associated with weather protection allowances.

Wells Concrete was quickly engaged – directly with the City and County of Broomfield – to provide preconstruction and design assist services (our preferred contracting method that has historically resulted in some of our most successful projects) – with one caveat: that Chuck Gilkey – one of Wells Concrete’s long-time superintendents, who Ben had worked with previously – erect the job.

APPLY:  While everyone recognized the potential struggles of constructing almost 40’-0” tall hand-laid masonry walls and the associated trade coordination during the winter, only Ben, with his precast concrete experience, had the vision and foresight to imagine a total precast concrete building envelope system for the Recreation Center.  It was at this point that Ben asked the AEC Team to investigate precast concrete double tees floors and 108’-0” long, free-span precast concrete double tee roofs.

Two of my favorite team partners, Sean Trottier, P.E., Wells Concrete’s Project Manager, and Tom Gabbert, P.E., consulting precast concrete design engineer and Owner with FDG, Inc. were brought in to manage this very challenging project.  The three of us, with a myriad of other talented Wells Concrete and FDG employees, took Ben’s vision, learned from his experience and thoughtful project approach and executed the project.

ABSORB:  My “smarter than me” Owner immediately understood the value of early teaming and the advantages of precast concrete to optimize project results – and Wells Concrete, by presenting the Owner and Design Team with a predictable sequence and schedule, delivered and erected the City and County of Broomfield’s total precast concrete Recreation Center in less than 8 weeks.

Not only is Ben Nance a terrific advocate for our industry, but one of the most knowledgeable, understanding and reasonable Owners that I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my 30+ years in the design, construction and precast concrete industry.  Thank you, Ben, – you’ve made me a better architect, listener and sales person – and I’ve completely enjoyed the collaboration!

Owner:  City and County of Broomfield, Colorado
Architect:  Davis Partnership Architects
Engineer:  Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers
General Contractor:  Adolfson and Peterson Construction
Precast Concrete Engineer:  FDG, Inc.

Scott Maclay
Client Services

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