Preconstruction. Foulkeways at Gwynedd contracted with Warfel early in the design process for construction management services. Our team collaborated with RLPS Architects for nearly 7-months throughout the design and preconstruction stages. All elements of the building were scrutinized and evaluated to ensure that the owner was receiving the best value for their dollar. During preconstruction, a great deal of time and effort was spent on site logistics, phasing plans, and determining the best approach to erecting the building. Our Virtual Design and Construction team studied the site and calculated crane reach to determine how to best manage the process to ensure safety on the property and minimize disruptions. The building was actually constructed using these exact crane locations – avoiding unnecessary and time-consuming coordination in the field once the crane arrived.
Site Logistics. With the addition located immediately next to the main entrance and driveway, the site allowed us very little ‘wiggle room’ for construction laydown, deliveries and parking. Because this was the main entrance to the health care facility, we had to maintain 100% egress to comply with Department of Health regulations. If an ambulance was needed, they would need full access to drive up to the front door at all times! With a constant flow of resident and visitor traffic, Warfel was challenged daily to keep this very busy (and tight) parking lot fully accessible while maintaining a clear, clean, and safe passageway to the entrance. Large project deliveries were coordinated by our superintendent for Just-in-Time (down to the half-hour at times) delivery to minimize campus traffic inconveniences. Each delivery was unloaded immediately upon arrival to minimize parking lot congestion. Signage, cones, and construction tape were all used at different points throughout the course of the project to alert residents and visitors to the work and maintain a safe path to and from the building at all times.
Phasing. Although the ‘main’ aspect of this project was the new addition, it was also comprised of six separate renovation and two small addition projects. Creating a feasible phasing schedule that limited the impact of construction throughout the existing, and fully-occupied personal care and health care buildings was challenging. Special attention was given to the interior logistics and how to best stage and phase this work, allowing the owner to maintain daily programming and activities with minimal disruption. Each renovated area was fully gutted; ceilings were removed and floors were stripped down to the concrete. A comprehensive schedule was created that encompassed each area in detail. Especially loud and disruptive work was performed only with notice and scheduled around activities that might be affected. In order for the whole project to flow without interruption, every aspect of each phase had to be finished on time to avoid a chain reaction, delaying all subsequent phases. While completing each phase of work. Warfel erected temporary partitions to maintain a safe, clean environment adjacent to construction areas. With each renovated area, these partitions were removed and reinstalled at the next location. Warfel’s Superintendent maintained constant, at times hourly, communication with Foulkeways staff to coordinate activities. Although most activities were scheduled weekly, we had to be aware of special events to make sure our ongoing work would not affect any resident activities.
Schedule Challenges. During the start of the Abington North phase, our sitework contractor encountered heavy rock. In order to complete the basement excavation, we had to remove over 1,000 cubic yards of rock. This process required a heavy dewatering operation in order to keep excavations clear and ready for concrete foundations. While construction for this phase was underway, Foulkeways requested that Warfel expedite the schedule to be open for their 50th anniversary celebration. In the spirit of “Clients for Life”, Warfel accommodated the client and compressed the project schedule by nearly a month. Not necessarily an easy task, but with collaboration from the subcontractors, by resequencing some of the work, overlapping trades where possible, and adding some extra long shifts, the we were able to complete the work in time to meet the celebration date.
Building Tie-in Coordination. Shut-down in service of any kind, or at any time, was not an option for Foulkeways, therefore a fail-safe plan had to be devised for all utility connections. To maintain full operation, our team coordinated a ‘wet-tap’ and live electric tap. This required a detailed outline of the connection process and coordination with the owner, the utility companies, and maintenance staff to ensure all systems were prepared and that a back-up was ready should something not go as planned.
Department of Health Inspections. Scheduling DOH inspections can be difficult to coordinate, but this project required five of the six renovated areas to be inspected! With the phasing planned down to exact days, and staff prepped for moves, it was imperative to stay on track so that these DOH inspections would occur as scheduled. With their vast experience in similar facilities, our Superintendent and Project Manager are very familiar with the Department of Health inspection and approval processes. With pre-inspections (75% complete) no longer offered by DOH, it was up to our team to ensure every element was complete. We therefore created on our own pre-inspection walk-thru with the Foulkeways staff. These precautionary efforts helped alleviate stress for the owner, knowing that all items for DOH approvals were taken care of ahead of the inspections. We are happy to note that all five areas passed with no issues!
Customer Service. We made every effort to go above and beyond the expectations of our client. If an event was scheduled at the campus, we scheduled construction around it or halted activities if needed. Prior to construction, our team made a presentation to the residents. We explained what areas would be renovated and how the project would be phased. We discussed circulation and assured them that they would still be able to get east to west and north to south. To help communicate progress, we created weekly updates that were distributed to the residents. Due to the length of time spent in the facility, our team established great relationships with the people living and working at Foulkeways. Members of our team became ‘family’ interacting with residents and staff, and were included in community events such as the annual scarecrow dress-up contest. Our crew participated and residents and staff even created a Warfel superintendent as an entry.
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 a flu shot and be tested for TB. All workers were easily identifiable as they were required to wear orange safety vests at all times and had to display a visible contractor ID tag. Our Director of Safety and Safety Assistant visited the site each week to assure that all safety precautions were followed to the letter and assure that we were OSHA-compliant.