The Creative Use of Precast (CUP) Awards Brings out the best in Precast Concrete Manufacturing
The National Precast Concrete Association’s Creative Use of Precast (CUP) Awards program honors innovative projects that reflect the best qualities of precast concrete, including flexibility, durability, cost savings and aesthetics. A resort casino, a village of precast modular buildings and a driver tunnel for one of NASCAR’s most popular tracks are some of the standouts from this year’s competition. Entries are divided into two categories: Above Ground and Underground. The CUP judging panel was comprised of professionals in the precast industry and academia. If you have an exciting project where precast concrete helped to provide the solution, send an e-mail to [email protected].
First Place – A Winning Hand
Project: Turtle Creek Resort and Casinos
Location: Williamsburg, Mich.
When the words “casino gambling” come to mind, we may not think immediately of Michigan. However, the Great Lakes State boasts nearly 30 casinos scattered throughout the state.
One recent addition is a 120-room resort being built on the site of the existing Turtle Creek Casino in Williamsburg, a town situated near Traverse City. There, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (owner of the Grand Traverse Resort and Casinos) built an $80 million, 347,000-square-foot facility featuring a patented precast concrete truss system, among other major precast pieces for a total of 843 precast pieces. The project includes a 64,000-square-foot gaming floor, along with hotel rooms, restaurants, shops, concert/entertainment venues, a parking garage, and living and office space.
Part of that construction involved the patented precast concrete truss system manufactured by Kerkstra Precast of Grandville, Mich. Known as an ER-POST system, it provided a durable, sound alternative to other building materials but with a lower price tag and much faster timetable. The ER-POST system provided a solution for retail on the main level, parking below and living or office space above with no column penetrations.
The system utilizes precast, prestressed concrete trusses that support two levels simultaneously. The trusses span approximately 60 feet and are positioned to maximize column spacing, which allowed several columns to be eliminated from the original design. The alternate levels are wide open with no structural elements, allowing complete flexibility in layout of interior walls and partitions. Parking levels with column-free spaces result in approximately 15 percent increased capacity. High fire ratings and sound transmission also are inherent in this system.
The precast also allows for future changes to the structure, which can be gutted and renovated relatively easily because there are no interior columns to work around.
Kerkstra Precast Inc.
3373 Busch Drive
Grandville, MI 49418
Phone: (616) 224-6176
Second Place – A Step Up
Project: Diane von Furstenberg Studio Headquarters
Location: New York
The new 30,000-square-foot Diane von Furstenberg Studio Headquarters located in the Meat Market District of Manhattan was born of an old dilapidated building that had been gutted out and dressed up with modern design and flair. The focal point of the building is a fan-shaped, 12-foot-wide white precast stairwell adorned with approximately 3,000 Swarovski crystals on tension cables. The effect is so dramatic that the 77-riser stairwell has been dubbed “Stairdelier” in an architectural magazine.
In 2006, Bethlehem Precast Inc., Bethlehem, Pa., was tasked to redesign and fabricate the stair system. The stair structure design had been modified from the original modular riser/tread units to solid precast stairs. As a result, the contractor saved 13 percent from the overall stair budget. The changes not only saved the owner and contractor valuable time and money, it also allowed for the completion of the whole project in time.
The solid precast stair design provided immediate access to different floor levels. Precast stair design, fabrication and erection took only three months from start to finish. Crane time to erect five stair sets and five landings through the hole in the yet-to-be-completed roof was only two days – a time savings of approximately two weeks from the original plan. This was achieved by reducing the precast units from 82 smaller units to only 10 full-span units. Consequently, with fewer erected pieces, connections to steel structures were also reduced dramatically.
The $27 million project began in February 2005 and was turned over to the owner in August 2007.
Bethlehem Precast Inc.
PO Box 247
Bethlehem, PA 18016
Phone: (610) 691-1336
Third Place – It Takes a Village
Project: Fort Story Iraqi Village Portable Training Units
Location: Virginia Beach, Va.
When officials at Fort Story decided to construct a replica of an Iraqi village in order to provide a realistic training environment for logistics troops there, they approached Smith-Midland Corp. for a single precast concrete building. In time, the original order grew to 35 buildings of various sizes, which were customized and configured to realistically depict what troops would find in a Middle East village – from smaller enclosures to the larger structures typically encountered there.
Fort Story, located on the lower Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean in southeast Virginia, is a sub-installation of Fort Eustis, home of the U.S. Army’s Transportation Corps. The two bases provide specialized training in land and sea transportation.
The existing mission of the installation plus the new U.S. military strategy that began to take shape in Iraq in late 2007 created an enhanced need for the realistic training of forces that would be part of the “surge” of combat troops going into the country. Ultimately, the ability to make the environment as realistic as possible helps troops to train the way they would fight. Various aspects of Smith-Midland’s precast concrete buildings, the centerpiece of the village, enhanced this realism while helping the Army deliver the training on time and on budget.
The buildings meet bullet-resistance standards and are rated for wind loads of 130 mph, both of which are important considerations for live-fire training in the hurricane-prone Fort Story area. The patented post-tensioned building system provides even greater weather tightness and impact resistance for the precast roof and floors.
The Easi-Set buildings cost substantially less than equivalent in-place construction, and they can be installed the same day they are delivered. Because of the precast “floating slab” foundation floor slab, no foundations or footings were required beyond level, compacted sand or gravel.
5119 Catlett Road, P.O. Box 130
Midland, VA 22728
Phone: (540) 439-8056
Honorable Mention – Great View on Fairview
Project: 3120 Fairview Park Drive
Location: Falls Church, Va.
Architect Noritake Associates and owner Fairview Property Investments created a strong and cost-effective Class A office building located in the well-established Fairview Park South Office Park in Falls Church, Va. The eight-story office building was constructed with architectural precast concrete panels, which reduced the cost and duration of the construction project while allowing a broad range of architectural design concepts to be executed.
The 185,000-square-foot office building was clad with 27,840 square feet of architectural precast colored panels manufactured by Smith-Midland Corp. of Midland, Va. The panels incorporated a smooth acid-washed finish and a medium sandblast finish, and were faced with green reflective glass and accented with a granite wainscoting. The south facade and main entrance elevation is constructed on a radius and features an aluminum curtainwall system with green tinted glass. Color-matching aluminum metal panels and architectural precast concrete complete the elevation. The main building entrance is connected to a three-story parking structure with an arcade and covered walkway.
The precast panels were chosen largely because of their low maintenance requirements and the cost savings realized from shorter erection and construction time. The schedule for erecting 3120 Fairview Park was very tight at 10 weeks.
In addition to the time saving benefit, the precast panels were made in a closed, factory-controlled environment that ensured a uniformly high-quality facade in the desired shapes, colors and textures. The panels are exceptionally resistant to impact, corrosion, weathering, abrasion and other ravages of time, making it virtually maintenance-free and resulting in preservation of the building’s original look. Architects find that precast concrete panels provide unlimited opportunities allowing design concepts to be executed in a broad range of architectural styles, shapes, and sizes.
P.O. Box 300
5119 Catlett Road
Midland, VA 22728
Phone: (540) 439-3266
First Place – Railway Crossing
Project: San Clemente Pedestrian Underpass
Location: San Clemente Beach, Calif.
The City of San Clemente, Calif., had a goal of creating a pedestrian boardwalk along its pristine Southern California coast and providing safe year-round access to its landmark beach. This popular community improvement project had some daunting barriers, however. First, the beach has limited access due to the natural cliffs that impose themselves right up to the edge of the surf. Second, one of the busiest Amtrak rail lines in California running parallel to the ocean prevented safe access to the popular public beach, requiring people to reach it on foot by crossing the unguarded tracks. Third, 75 percent of the region’s fiber optic lines run the length of the track, and severing communications service to more than 20 million people was not an option.
Additionally, the design team had to create a system that would maintain the structural integrity of the tracks without shutting them down for any extended period of time. They settled on a system of 20 unique pieces of structural precast with colored textures designed to blend into the natural sandstone surroundings of the beach and its trademark cliffs. These sections had to be installed within a 40-hour time frame that Amtrak allowed its trains to be parked. The sections were to be cast with integral colored white cement with a medium etched finish. The walkway system was designed with handicap access with an entry from the boardwalk to the beach having three 45-degree turns and 20 feet of elevation changes. Because of the proximity to the ocean, epoxy-coated rebar was used with 7,500 psi concrete.
The contractor called on StructureCast of Bakersfield, Calif., to design and build the precast sections, and expected all 20 of the sections to be prefitted and ready for installation when the 40-hour clock started ticking. Erection started on time, and construction crews completed the job on time, resetting the tracks and placing new riprap along the track’s ocean side.
8261 McCutchen Road
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Phone: (661) 833-4490
Second Place – Downhill Racers
Project: Pine Glades Vehicular Access Tunnel
Location: North Cache Street, Jackson, Wyo.
Pine Glades is a luxury townhome development tucked into Snow King Mountain at Jackson Hole, Wyo., and has full ski-in, ski-out access. In order for the developers to gain approval for construction, they had to create their own access to the property. This may sound easy, but the only solution was to create a 600-foot vehicular tunnel that makes three 90-degree turns as it climbs up a 15 percent grade and twice crosses the face of Snow King Ski Resort.
To add to these challenges, the top of the tunnel sits 45 feet below the surface of the ski run. The developer was required to have the tunnel installed and backfilled by Oct. 15 in time for ski season. It took all spring and summer to brainstorm, design and negotiate the details of the project. The actual manufacturing of the concrete components began in early September and was completed in record time.
It was clear that precast concrete would be the solution. Precast enabled the contractor to excavate the trench, install the precast components and backfill in a matter of a few weeks versus a few months. Time was especially critical: For each day spent constructing the tunnel beyond Oct. 15, the owner incurred a $5,000 per day penalty from the Snow King Ski Resort. The last precast components were delivered Oct. 13.
It took a team effort in engineering and manufacturing to make this happen. Three Oldcastle plants – Idaho Falls, Idaho, which led the charge; Nampa, Idaho; and Littleton, Colo. – combined efforts to meet the developer’s schedule.
The post-tensioned beams used in the project included lightweight foam fill for the first 12 feet of cover above the beams to reduce the dead load. The concrete beams rest on a concrete cap supported by micro-piles, soil nails and shotcrete installed by others.
Oldcastle Precast – Idaho Falls
2240 South Yellowstone Hwy
Idaho Falls, ID 83405
Phone: (208) 522-6150
Third Place – Fast-Track Construction
Project: Bristol Motor Speedway Media/Driver Tunnel
Location: Bristol, Tenn.
Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., is a highly recognized sporting venue. The Saturday night race in August is known as “The Hottest Ticket in NASCAR.” In the past 10 years, the track has grown from 71,000 seats to its present capacity of 165,000. So when alterations to the track become necessary, construction – like the cars racing on it – needs to move fast. That’s why BMS turned to Permatile Concrete Products Co. twice in the past seven years to provide precast concrete improvements to the “fastest half-mile of racing.”
In 2001, BMS installed an 8-foot-by-9-foot pedestrian tunnel in turn three of the track. The site was not fully accessible by crane, so the 222 linear feet of tunnel, which had two grade changes and a turn, had to be partially installed by forklift. The precast box culvert was installed in just one day. It allows spectators, workers and drivers easy access from the driver’s staging area and parking lot into the center of the track.
In 2007, BMS began plans for a new media building behind turn four, so another tunnel was needed to move media personnel and drivers from outside the track to the infield. Again, BMS contacted Permatile. The project couldn’t be started until the completion of the spring race and had to be completed by the start of summer race festivities, leaving a small window of time to complete all tunnel, grading and drainage work.
Permatile provided the concrete pipe and structures for the new infield drainage as well as a 9-foot-by-8-foot box culvert with a varying fill height of up to 8 feet. It incorporates multiple post tensioning points and includes five grade transitions and two stairway landings. The precast units also allowed installation between existing concrete columns that hold up the spectator stands. The 170 linear feet of precast box was set in two and one-half days.
Permatile Concrete Products Company
100 Beacon Road
Bristol, VA 24201
Phone: (800) 662-5332
Honorable Mention 1 – First in Line
Project: I-35W Pedestrian Tunnel
Location: Downtown Minneapolis
With an eye on promoting future bicycle and pedestrian activity, the state of Minnesota wanted a tunnel that runs beneath the south side of the new Interstate 35W bridge. In constructing the tunnel, the city paved the way for a bike path that would link the University of Minnesota to downtown Minneapolis. It would connect with Bridge 9, a bicycle and pedestrian bridge on the school’s campus, and then weave its way underneath the I-35W bridge into downtown.
At the heart of the project is a 20-foot-wide by 11-foot-tall precast box culvert that comprises 63 pieces of 4-foot box sections, each weighing 49,000 pounds. The completed tunnel is 252 feet long and incorporates cast-in-place end treatments to accommodate the slope and angle of the freeway. The other end treatment includes slightly flared precast wingwalls.
With a tight time schedule, Hancock fast-tracked the project within a short six weeks from the signed order date. This created some challenges for the precaster, whose largest overhead crane can safely lift only 30,000 pounds. To get the huge pieces manufactured and moved, Hancock had to cast them, tip them up, and then use its largest (62,000-pound) forklift to pick up the sections and take them outside. The unusual maneuvering took time and required Hancock to limit its other production in order to complete four sections daily.
Precast was a natural fit for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it will be around for 100 years or more. Precast also helped to keep the project on track, since Minnesota’s limited number of “outdoor workdays” creates the perfect environment for products that can be manufactured indoors.
Averaging 15 to 19 loads delivered per day, Hancock got all of the pieces on site for installation within six days.
Hancock Concrete Products Inc.
2020 County Road 29 Blvd.
Cannon Falls, MN
Phone: (507) 263-3935
Honorable Mention 2 – Let It Flow
Project: Westport Sewer Treatment System Expansion
Location: West Baton Rouge, La.
In the past, West Baton Rouge Municipalities’ first choice for sewer treatment plants was large, steel, above-ground municipal systems that cost $4 to $6 per treated gallon. However, the tide has changed in favor of precast systems as developers of smaller community sewage systems repeatedly choose precast for its excellent performance, below-ground aesthetics and lower cost.
In September 2007, West Baton Rouge Municipalities came under compliance orders from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The municipal systems were overburdened from the rapid population growth following Hurricane Katrina. Restricting the ability to continue development, DEQ stopped approving discharge permits until the systems could increase capacity. This feat seemed nearly impossible, because the municipalities were limited by tight funding. That is when DEQ recommended Gainey’s Concrete Products Inc., Holden, La., for an economically viable solution.
After initial discussions, the group hired an engineering firm to work hand-in-hand with Gainey’s to meet the more rigorous demands of a municipal system. The public bid process allotted 120 days for project completion. Knowing that the construction schedule would be tight, the precaster produced tanks in advance of the contractor receiving the notice to proceed. Gainey’s was not allowed on site for 45 days while two cast-in-place clarifiers with a holding capacity of 8,000 gallons each were formed and poured in place. Only three days after receiving clearance to the site, Gainey’s delivered and installed all 44 precast structures with a combined holding capacity of 110,000 gallons.
The engineer’s budget was $750,000, but the project cost totaled only $675,000 – a savings of $75,000. The precast treatment plant cost only $220,000 versus the estimated cost of a steel treatment plant of at least $400,000 – a $180,000 difference. The expansion is being completed on time and under budget, and is freeing up the parish to continue its rapid development.
Gainey’s Concrete Products Inc.
28021 Coker-Vail Road
Holden, LA 70744
Phone: (225) 567-2700