After breaking ground in October of 2012 and while excavating the 35-ft.-deep building footprint spanning a full city block, the construction team discovered an unknown existing sewer line bisecting the site along with fiber-optic lines feeding the west half of downtown Austin. Both utilities had to remain in place until new lines could be spliced in, bypassing the jobsite.
Another sizeable challenge arose from an omission in design documents relating to 11 different firestopping conditions. This critical issue threatened to create schedule delays if unresolved.
The project team was further challenged to come up with an effective permitting strategy that would move the schedule forward by allowing work on the project to begin in some areas even as final drawings were being completed for permitting by the City of Austin. The complex permitting strategy also needed to accommodate the owner’s delivery schedule for furniture installation, ultimately leading to separate permits for each guestroom floor.
To address the unexpected underground utility issue during excavation and avoid what could have potentially been a three-month delay, the team completely revised its approach. The solution: employ extra ramps to dig four holes rather than one giant hole. This allowed mass excavation, earth retention and concrete subcontractors to continue working as the utilities were rerouted.
The DPR / Hunt joint venture team also took the lead developing a timely solution for the firestopping conditions that had not been addressed in the design documents. Rather than wasting precious time debating who was responsible, they reached out directly to the firestopping subcontractor and manufacturer to help develop a workable solution.
The team drove several cost savings design solutions during preconstruction as well, suggesting alternative building systems that would maximize value for the owner. One major cost- and time-saving solution that was adopted was to change the exterior skin from precast exterior panels to panelized EIFS and GFRC and to prefabricate all exterior features on the curtainwall system.
Finally, the team used BIM to maximize prefabrication on this project – improving quality control and field productivity and reducing the footprint needed to store materials on the tight jobsite. All gang bathroom batteries were prefabricated and delivered in one assembly to the jobsite.
By proactively working to resolve issues such as the underground utilities that were discovered in excavation, developing a tailored permitting and inspection strategy, and myriad other cost and schedule-saving measures, the DPR / Hunt joint venture kept the JW Marriott Austin project continuously advancing towards a successful, early completion.