Preconstruction Efforts. As a design/build project, our preconstruction team members were integral parts of this project. Our preconstruction manager brought on Beers & Hoffman Architects more than a year and a half before construction began, allowing us to make sure that the owner would be getting exactly what they wanted from the project. Early project meetings helped us select the right team members and subcontractors for the Village Bistro. The commitment to communication and trust established early in the process helped us maintain a level of teamwork with all partners involved, leading to the delivery of an excellent result that achieved all of our client’s goals.
Logistics and Challenges. Occupied campuses are very challenging work environments, and the Village Bistro is part of the Village Center, the main hub of the Brethren Village community. The campus bank, gift shop, library, and pharmacy are all major features of this building, and many other offices and buildings are connected to the Village Center through walkways. Residents and staff would need to walk straight through our job site to go about their day-to-day business. In order to accommodate these needs, we built temporary partitions to section off the undergoing work and allow community members to travel freely through the building. The addition of a skylight to the middle of Village Center also presented a unique challenge. The middle of the building contains a stairwell that leads down to basement offices and activity rooms, so we erected two stories of scaffolding to access the work area. Our construction team set up appropriate precautions to assure the safety of residents and staff while skylight work was ongoing.
Special Finishes and Additions. In addition to the skylight mentioned above, the project included the addition of bathrooms, dining room renovations, bistro renovations, a copper-tiled pizza oven, and upgraded finishes. These finishes have changed the space from a dated, dark coffee shop to a modern, inviting cafe. The addition of a patio, accessible from exterior doors from the cafe, allows residents to enjoy outdoor dining when the weather permits.
Virtual Design and Construction. Our client chose a variety of unique finishes for this project. In order to help them envision what the selections would look like after installation and assist
the decision-making process, our Virtual Design and Construction staff modeled the entire cafe and dining area. Renderings of the completed project were used in community town hall meetings with residents, as well as posted on our temporary partitions outside the construction area.
Schedule. Adhering to our five-month schedule became challenging during construction of this project. Our client made some additional selections and upgrades throughout the process, adding to the initial scope of the project. However, with careful planning and additional work shifts by our construction team, we were able to absorb all of the changes into our initial
schedule, and turned the project over to the owner on the planned date.
Customer Care and Service. Because work took place in the middle of one of the most active buildings on campus, keeping the construction site and surrounding areas clean was incredibly important. We dedicated one crew member to sweeping and maintaining site cleanliness so dust and dirt would be kept at a minimum at all times. Brethren Village staff and residents complimented our team on the excellent customer service they experienced from all members of our team, from friendly smiles and patient explanations of the work in progress, to offers to assist residents with carrying items to their rooms or vehicles. We also scheduled work on the hallways of Village Center to occur at night so it would present the least disruption to Brethren Village residents and staff. This allowed the shops and service areas that are only accessible from Village Center to remain open throughout the project and reduce resident inconvenience.
Resident and Staff Interaction. Brethren Village takes great pride in making sure that their residents are fully informed of ongoing projects on their campus, and the community puts quite a bit of effort into making sure that their residents are excited about improvements and changes to their campus. To make sure that residents knew about the changes that would take place during this project, Brethren Village filmed frequent project updates with Warfel staff and shared them via the campus-wide closed circuit TV channel and the community’s YouTube channel. Our project staff led the resident committee on multiple tours of the project in various stages so the residents could weigh in on the project as it progressed. Our team also engaged with the community by participating in various events, such as the annual golf tournament and a bocce tournament with residents.
Safety. Working in and around a fully-operational facility is always challenging and can be disastrous if not handled properly. Warfel and the owner had numerous meetings to discuss expectations and the best approach to maintaining a safe environment around the ongoing work. To show our respect and understanding of for the senior care campus environment, Warfel required that all workers and project team members obtain the flu shot and be tested for TB. All workers were easily identifiable as they were required to display a visible contractor ID tag. Our Director of Safety and Safety Assistant visited the site each week to as-sure that all safety precautions were followed to the letter and assure that we were OSHA-compliant.
Results. The newly-renovated Village Bistro provides a variety of menu items, including salad, sandwiches and pizza. Not only is it enjoyed by many residents, but the community’s health center staff, who work in one of the connecting buildings, can also enjoy a healthy meal during a short lunch break. The brighter, more accessible space provides residents with a beautiful meeting area where they can enjoy delicious food and time with their friends and families.