Modular construction has been heralded by many as the next big thing in building structures quickly and cost effectively. By being able to construct parts of the building in a controlled environment, like a factory, workers can perform more efficiently, comfortably, and safely, ideally translating into shorter schedules and smaller costs. That theory got one of its biggest tests on a new 32-story residential building that recently opened in Brooklyn, NY.
461 Dean Street, being heralded as the world’s tallest modular building, is a 363-unit residential tower located directly adjacent to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Designed by SHoP Architects, the tower design was expected to reduce construction costs by 20% and trim 10 months off of the proposed 30 month schedule, according to City Limits. Each modular section, of which there were 930, were built at a new factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and shipped to the site in a 10 foot high by 15 foot wide by 30 foot long chassis. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in December of 2012 and the building was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.
Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go as smoothly as everyone was hoping. For the past 4 years, the project has been plagued by delays, lawsuits, alleged design and construction issues, and water damage. According to documents obtained by City Limits, half of the first 39 apartments suffered “significant water damage,” which then lead to accusations from both the builder, Skanska, and the designer that the other was at fault. In the summer of 2014 reports surfaced that floors 2 through 8 all “suffered extreme water damage.” The damage caused considerable on-site rework, some mold growth, and additional delays. At one point, the factory left off some of the drywall of the new units, in fear that more water damage would occur. Other reports showed that the modular units were misaligned, even causing loose façade panels to visibly flap against the side of the structure. In September of 2014, Skanska closed the Navy Yard factory down, after the developer, Forest City, refused to pay additional costs for delays and other design problems, according to reports. You can read Skanska's 146 page contract termination letter here.
In January of 2015, around 4 months after the factory closing, Forest City reopened the factory and began building the modules again. In May of 2016, the tower’s final modular unit was set into place, according to Curbed. Though the schedule took around twice as long as originally planned and media outlets have projected budget overages of millions of dollars, the building is almost ready to welcome its firs residents.
As of November, leasing options are available for potential residents and media members were able to tour the new building. You can check out a virtual tower of some units, put together by Inhabitant, below this article. Many of the units boasts some impressive views of both the city skyline and the Barclays Center green roof.
Through it all, the 32-story building still managed to open and currently have apartments available for lease. Although your company should be counting its blessings that they didn’t have to be involved with this project, this isn’t a story that should discourage modular construction from continuing in the future. Though modular construction has been talked about for a long time, it’s still a fairly new concept in implementation, especially on the level of 461 Dean Street. Contractors, developers, and designers alike can use this project as a learning experience for additional modular buildings. As the concept becomes more commonplace, we should expect project timelines and costs to shrink considerably.
More Information: Documents Reveal Woes at Pioneering Atlantic Yards Building | City Limits
On Tuesday, June 20, OSHA is set to propose a delay on new requirements for cranes and derricks in the construction industry at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH).
Trenches are dangerous, but many companies and workers continue to deny it. Or their actions make it seem like they do, at least. There’s never an excuse to let someone into a hole if it hasn’t been properly sloped, benched, or shored. Nevertheless, dozens of construction workers are killed and injured by trench collapses every year.
In order to get the bad taste of last week’s botched demolition, in which an adjacent building also got destroyed in the process, we needed to share a highly successful one. Priestly Demolition, a Canadian demolition contractor, has been the subject of our articles in the past and the company has even won awards for the best demolition in the world.
Traffic in Atlanta sucks, there’s really no other way to say it. So imagine the tough position commuters and city officials were put in when a bridge of a major highway on the north side of the city caught fire on March 20, 2017 and was damaged beyond repair. 243,000 motorists were forced to find alternate routes to work for the estimated 3 months that it was going to take to rebuild it. Now, imagine how thrilled they were when the highway opened back up one month ahead of schedule.
The worst day on the job is when someone on site gets injured. The 2nd through 500th worst days are the legal battle that follows many of those injuries. Nobody expects accidents to happen, but it’s best to be adequately prepared if one does. That not only includes knowing how to react to injuries with a safety plan, but also making sure your company’s documentation is in order in case lawsuits start flying.
Tracking employees instantaneously is a dream scenario for employers. It gives them tons of data to analyze to determine where money can be saved and where resources can be placed to be most efficient. The struggle is convincing the employees that tracking their every move is not going to get them in trouble or fired. There’s a balance in there somewhere and that’s the challenge facing both employers and tech companies right now.
There’s no doubt that the construction industry is behind when it comes to technology, but things are beginning to change. In the past few years, our industry has seen millions of dollars poured into new technology, including smartphone apps, advanced construction materials, and advanced safety equipment. One of the struggles –and perhaps the main struggle- with introducing new technology to the field staff is that many of them have been managing their jobs the same way for a long time. It can be difficult to convince them to change, especially if they have been successful with their current process.
The following article was written by Miami Construction Lawyer Alex Barthet
In a court of law, a contractor’s daily reports are critical. In many instances, they are considered key evidence showing what actually occurred at specific times on the job. And since people’s memories fade, a court will likely rely heavily on what the daily reports say happened (especially when presented with a corroborating witness).
Many could argue that peanut butter and jelly or spaghetti and meat balls go together about as well as cursing and construction job site. Sometimes I find myself surprised that there are more curse words written into construction proposals.
Originally set to be enforced on June 23, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration new rule regarding silica dust exposure limits has been delayed an additional 90 days, to September 23, 2017. Many construction industry groups were upset by the new rule, as they deemed it “technologically and economically infeasible, but also unnecessary.”