To meet the coordination challenges and compressed timeline of an historic building renovation in downtown Philadelphia, A.T. Chadwick turned to Victaulic’s drawing services team. The speed of installation of Victaulic grooved piping systems would also prove crucial to meeting deadlines, as well as reducing costs. Thanks in part to Victaulic, A.T. Chadwick finished on time and on budget.
An Icon on Walnut
One of Philadelphia’s most striking examples of art deco architecture, the 25-story building at 1616 Walnut Street originally opened in 1930 and earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Located in the popular Center City area of Philadelphia, the building attracted the attention of real estate developers who, in 2012, purchased the property and planned a $50-million renovation to create a new luxury apartment building, Icon 1616. The mechanical portion of the project entailed replacing the old HVAC equipment with efficient, contemporary equipment as well as running new piping.
Time & Logistics Crunch in the Heart of Philly
Used to the challenges that come with working in downtown Philadelphia, A.T. Chadwick knew the 1616 Walnut project would present coordination issues. Preparation would be critical for a site with no laydown area and limited time in which to close surrounding streets. Adding the typical bottlenecks of a construction elevator and crane serving multiple trades meant that material would have to be very well coordinated before it even arrived at the site. With labor rates approaching $100/hour in the metropolis, any unproductive time quickly translates to wasted money. In addition, construction began in May 2013 and was scheduled to finish in November that same year.
To solve these challenges, A.T. Chadwick turned to Victaulic for help. At up to 10 times faster to install than other pipe-joining methods, the company’s grooved piping products would help ensure rapid completion of the mechanical system installation. The speed of installation greatly reduced labor costs, contributing to overall total installed cost savings. A.T. Chadwick submitted an option credit for grooved systems when it bid on the project. The owner approved the cost savings credit and agreed with A.T. Chadwick’s recommendation to use Victaulic.
A.T. Chadwick also brought in the Construction Piping Services (CPS) department at Victaulic, which offers drawing and building information modeling (BIM) coordination services. They knew from experience that CPS can help shrink the timeline in the drawing phase. Whereas contractors may be limited by the number of draftsmen or BIM coordinators available to staff a project, Victaulic CPS can assign multiple members from its team of 80 global project coordinators to complete drawings quickly. CPS acts as a partner, offering services such as flagging long-lead-time items during the drawing phase to ensure products are available when the contractor needs them. In addition, Victaulic’s bag-and-tag service enables products to be shipped to the fabrication shop or jobsite for just-in-time delivery, labeled and packaged per the contractor’s direction.
From 1616 Walnut to Icon 1616
With a plan in place for timely completion of the project, preconstruction work began. The existing elevator equipment was to remain in place in the penthouse mechanical room, so the CPS team had to place the new mechanical equipment around it strategically. The Victaulic project coordinator visited the site to take measurements, ensuring the equipment was accurately represented in the contract drawings. Being mindful of clearance for maintenance and egress in the tight space, CPS designed and drew the 2 1/2″ to 10″ condenser water and cooling tower piping systems and the 2 1/2″ and larger cooling tower equalizing system. A.T. Chadwick handled all other systems.
Upon completion of the drawings, CPS produced fabrication drawings with correlating bills of material. “It saved us time for the material take off, for the spooling of the drawings, fabrication, and gave us assurances that everything would fit accurately per the drawings,” Brian O’Kane, A.T. Chadwick project manager, explained. “It took the guesswork out of it.”
CPS also coordinated bag-and-tag product delivery to A.T. Chadwick’s fabrication shop, where pipe spools were cut to length and grooved. Materials and equipment were then consolidated and transported to the jobsite, which allowed the contractor to ensure materials arrived on site perfectly organized and timed for the crane lift date.
O’Kane described how the day progressed: “We blocked down the street, set the crane up, and towed 30-plus cars to have access. We started at midnight and started picking at 7:00 a.m. the next morning. The materials were put in loading containers and picked up to the roof. We picked all the prefabricated piping, cooling towers, pumps, and sent them all up to the mechanical room on the top of the building in a single day.”
Victaulic couplings, fittings, valves and accessories were installed on the 2 1/2″ to 10″ mechanical piping systems. O’Kane reported that the installation went smoothly, with the project finishing on time and on budget. The quick installation of Victaulic products helped A.T. Chadwick meet the tight timeframe, as did the speed and coordination advantages of Victaulic’s drawing services. “It worked out very well,” O’Kane remarked. “CPS is very professional. They’re exacting and very reliable.”
For more information, visit www.victaulic.com.