Austin, Texas, is home to one of Senior Quality Lifestyles Corporation’s luxurious senior living communities, The Querencia at Barton Creek. This 38-acre campus encompasses residences, a pool, art gallery, bistro dining and a multi-use fitness center. Their quality of living and resident care recently won recognition as a Masterpiece Living Certified Center for Successful Aging. Chamberlin’s Querencia Balcony Repair project included waterproofing and restoring the exterior balconies and windows to rejuvenate the prestigious life care community and will continue to serve the facilities and their residents for years to come.
While installing nearly 190,000 square feet of waterproofing products, Chamberlin met challenges such as terrain obstacles, unknown conditions and time constraints. This scope was completed in 20 months with a total contract amount of nearly $5,700,000. Teamwork, innovation and proactive planning gained this project the 2018 Associated Builders and Contractors of Central Texas Merit Award. This level of achievement qualifies Chamberlin's work on Querencia for the 2018 National Excellence in Construction Award.
As Chamberlin began their waterproofing scope, crews discovered damage and deterioration in the wooden balcony decks. French Engineering, a specialty engineering firm with 30 years of national consulting experience, investigated the issue and went to work to find a solution. They issued supplemental sketches detailing the resolution, and Chamberlin executed the plan. Glulam beams in the decks of four stacks of balconies were so severely rotted that they needed to be completely demolished and rebuilt. After demolition, only the skeleton of steel beams remained in place. Since there was no deck left to stand on, a plan was created to allow crews to safely install the new decking while being tied off 100% of the time. Crew members working from scaffolding surrounding the balcony framework used multiple anchor points depending on their access point, such as the top of the building and the balcony structure above. Additionally, the balconies’ framework was shored to prevent any possibility of the structure collapsing, as crew members had to move about on the steel beams as well. Despite the additional scope, Chamberlin was determined to keep on track and had up to 50 crew members working at once to meet the original schedule. Chamberlin Waterproofing Assistant Project Manager Brett Schropp cites teamwork and safety as the main contributing factors to their success saying, “This project had unforeseen obstacles that could have not only added time to the project but also created safety hazards for the crew. Our team was prepared for these challenges and stepped in to cover any extra time. With further deterioration to the base of the balconies, safety was the top priority for the crew and also the residents at The Querencia at Barton Creek.”
Creating a Direct Path
To minimize disruption, Chamberlin’s on-site job trailer and parking location for the crew was located on the opposite end of the 38-acre campus from the residential facilities. In between the jobsite and the trailer were hiking trails for the residents and a beautiful landscape of trees, valleys and creeks. This terrain made it difficult to reach further areas of the jobsite. Chamberlin was approved to utilize other paths and entrances to reduce mobilization time to and from the jobsite trailer and material storage yard. Since the terrain is rather hilly, the walk from the jobsite to the trailer approximated 10-15 minutes. Using a van to shuttle crew members to and from the jobsite saved up to ten man-hours per day in production time. This also allowed Schropp to be readily available to observe, oversee and mentor the crew when needed within minutes from the on-site trailer. Furthermore, the material storage area was made out of crushed limestone called caliche that is biodegradable and will break down on its own over time.
On Time, On Budget
The Querencia was still a functioning and active senior living facility during the renovations. Chamberlin was conscious of the residents’ schedules and strove to keep interruptions to a minimum. Work only commenced from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Crews began their work by sealing the windows on the exterior side with window film to help mitigate dust penetrating the tenants’ living space. When needed, insulation was added to muffle noise as well. Weekly progress meetings were attended by Chamberlin, French Engineering and the owner’s representative. During these meetings, the upcoming week’s schedule was broken down daily, the residents’ event schedule was reviewed and work was planned accordingly to maintain comfort for the residents. Chamberlin also presented a productivity schedule for the next six weeks. The jobsite plan was posted in the facilities to make residents aware of the project progress. In June of 2017, lumber costs in the United States skyrocketed 17% (CNN Money). Chamberlin Project Estimator James Clements stays informed of anticipated fluctuation in material pricing and was prepared for this development. Chamberlin bought lumber and pavers in bulk prior to the increase, avoiding the 17% rise, and also negotiated discounted pricing for buying in bulk. Likewise, Chamberlin implemented material buydowns to reduce the interest rate for the materials bought in bulk.
Quality is Key
French Engineering and Chamberlin worked together on quality control to successfully deliver watertight balconies with a refreshed look for The Querencia at Barton Creek. Each week, the engineering consultant conducted quality assurance inspections and Chamberlin completed any outstanding items discovered. This process was noted in reports exchanged between the engineering consultant and contractor, totaling 75 throughout the course of the project. In addition, Chamberlin conducted their own daily quality control inspections to be proactive and meet the owner’s needs. In the end, The Querencia representatives were extremely pleased with Chamberlin’s quality work delivered professionally in a timely manner.