This is one of the most modular projects DPR has had the opportunity to work on to date. Typical for Southern California residences, the original concept for the structure was wood framing. However, as the project began, a recent update to the California Building Code stated that if combustible building materials were used—given the building height and nature of the occupancy—then the number of non-ambulatory and/or bedridden residents were restricted to the lower two levels. The owner did not want to place this restriction on their residents. The goal accomplished was to provide a true “aging in place” environment so residents could remain in their apartments and not have to move if they required more care and staff support.
To remedy the code change, as well as the owner and end-user needs, the team suggested using prefabricated light gauge structural frame (LGSF) panels for the four-structure project, which saved time and resources.
The LGSF system offered an option to prefabricate much of the project. Within the controlled environment, the prefabrication process allowed greater precision and quality control versus building the panels in the field. The panels were delivered by 284 trucks. More than 3,200 wall panels and 1,300-floor panels (as well as the 2,000-plus trusses) were erected by two 65-ton rough terrain mobile cranes. Weighing less than 2,000 pounds each, the panels are uniform in shape and size, resulting in a highly efficient installation.
Only slightly more costly than wood, the 274,000-sq.-ft. LGSF system and use of prefabrication save an estimated $4 million and shaved four months from the schedule when compared to a non-prefabricated metal stud system.