Background. With both organizations tracing their roots back to the early 1900s, Masonic Village and Warfel Construction have built a longstanding relationship based on numerous successful past projects. As Masonic Village continues to grow, they looked for new and different ways to differentiate their community and better serve their residents. The Burlington development is among the first to offer specialty “age in place” upgrade features, allowing residents to chose to remain in their homes longer before moving into Masonic Village’s continuum of care.
Value Management. Our team performed “rolling” value management exercises at every milestone and between budget updates. This provided the client and community stakeholders with the lowest responsible price point for the project and allowed the client to communicate funding needs to community members with the greatest accuracy. As the design team and owner prepared for finish selections that would be made available to future residents, our team evaluated price points for each upgrade and recommended values that would allow Masonic Village to efficiently, yet cost-effectively, offer a variety of customizations to each future resident’s home.
Site Logistics. Getting the site ready for foundations and pads (depending on the unit type) was a challenging task! Located just off of a developed area of the campus, special care was necessary to assure that runoff from the site did not impact roadways, community parking, or the fountains located on the project site. The team dealt exceptionally well with these site work challenges, including unsuitable soils, difficult compaction, and utility coordination. Despite a significant amount of site work that was done during muddy and snowy conditions throughout winter months, our team maintained the owner’s required schedule. As residents moved into each of their completed cottages, construction traffic was re-routed through the site via alternate roads, providing for minimal disruption for the residents who purchased units with an earlier turnover date.
Virtual Design Modeler. Warfel’s proprietary Virtual Design Modeler (VDM) creates photo-like renderings of each room inside a cottage. VDM technology allowed future Masonic Village residents to select different options and upgrades, and visualize the finished room. VDM also tracked the corresponding price impact of each upgrade and how it related to the total cost of the unit. Upon completion of their interaction with VDM, the future residents were shown renderings of what every room in their home would look like, and the project team received a VDM-generated list of changes to incorporate from the “base” cottage model. This list was shared with all trades and served as a clear checklist to assure that every resident received their requested customizations. As one of the first projects to “test” Warfel’s VDM, the Masonic Village at Burlington project has lead to internal improvements, allowing for faster adaptations and improved renderings for future projects.
Scheduling. Each cottage was given a unique turnover date, allowing the future owners to move in as soon as their new home was completed. The extensive customizations selected using the VDM throughout the project added a considerable amount of work to each cottage. So, to make sure that each turnover date was met, the Warfel project team and our trade partners worked extended hours, occasionally working up to 18-hour days if dictated by the schedule. Through aggressive scheduling and a large team of subcontractors, our team managed to hit every turnover deadline for every one of the 64 units.
Exceptional Teamwork. In partnership with RLPS Architects, the Burlington project is the second Masonic Village cottage development that commenced construction in 2017. The first (a 72-unit development in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania), started a few months prior to the Burlington project and utilized very similar architectural blueprints. The Elizabethtown team shared their intimate knowledge of the project with the Burlington team, allowing each team to take away lessons learned and implement shared understandings in both communities. As a result, the Burlington team benefited from a smooth construction process, submitting fewer than 10 RFIs to the architect.
Safety. In addition to Warfel’s proactive safety staff and standard safety program (including weekly Toolbox Talks to ensure worker safety), Warfel’s safety team conducted monthly site visits to audit the project and assure that all workers were performing their work in a satisfactory and safe manner. Warfel’s rigorous safety program exceeds OSHA standards in some measures, and Warfel safety staff and the project management team ensured that subcontractors understood requirements to work on site. Warfel’s stringent Subcontractor Risk Management Program (SRMP) required additional daily, weekly, or monthly safety check-ins to ensure that any contractors with a weaker safety record had appropriate controls in place to maintain a safe work environment. Any subcontractors who did not meet Warfel’s safety regulations were warned and cited by Warfel management accordingly. The Masonic Burlington project experienced no lost time incidents or OSHA citations.
Quality Control. As a standard practice at Warfel, a team member was assigned to photo document all of the work done at Masonic Village to assure that our guarantee of high-quality work was met by every subcontractor. All photos were uploaded into Warfel’s project management software. Subcontractors, the design team, and the owner were granted shared access to Warfel’s project management software, which expedited corrections, notifications of completed work, and any necessary follow up. To ensure that resident move-in dates were met, a Warfel foreman and carpenter were assigned to full-time quality control duties, where they monitored subcontractor work, made any corrections, and delivered on Warfel’s well-known standards for award-winning quality.
Community Impact. The cottage development at Masonic Village at Burlington is changing the face of independent living in the senior care community. The cottages built at Burlington have been so successful that Masonic Village is currently building similar homes at other campuses. Homes in need of work on other Masonic Village campuses will also be getting upgrades to more closely represent the Burlington models. Masonic Village’s approach to better serving seniors through the use of “age in place” design, while still novel, has already been recognized at national industry conferences.