News - Page 2

Contegra Construction Co. Completes Largest Distribution Facility at Liberty Commerce Center in Liberty, Mo.

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One Million SF Facility is Fifth to Emerge at 337-Acre Industrial Park Since 2021

Liberty Commerce Center in the Kansas City suburb of Liberty, Mo. added its fifth and largest distribution center since the 337-acre industrial park was launched in 2021 by NorthPoint DevelopmentContegra Construction Co. built the 1.049-million-square-foot distribution facility – called Project Luna.

Emerging at 2361 S. Withers Road, Liberty, Mo., Project Luna is built with tilt-up concrete panels and features a 40-foot clear height, 108 dock doors, two drive-through doors and 20,000-square-feet of office space.  It is topped with a TPO roof and includes 56 rooftop HVAC units to maintain temperature control in the warehouse.

Contegra built four retaining walls around the project site ranging from a few feet tall to nearly 40 feet.  It also sequenced the installation of water, storm water and electrical infrastructure in conjunction with the retaining wall construction.  Storm water control features two large underground detention systems.

Liberty Commerce Center was launched by NorthPoint in 2021 and will ultimately host 3.4 million square feet of industrial space. It is located near the Liberty city border with Claycomo, south of Liberty Parkway between Hughes and Campbell roads.

Based in Edwardsville, Ill., Contegra is one of the St. Louis area’s largest general contractors and serves a national customer base that includes industrial, institutional, municipal, multi-family, office and retail projects.  Its capabilities include building developer- and owner-driven projects and site development.  Learn more at www.contegracc.com.

Trivers Brings New Transit-Oriented, Multi-Family Development to St. Louis with Expo at Forest Park

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Architecture, planning, urban design and interiors firm Trivers, in collaboration with associate architect HOK, general contractor Brinkmann Constructors, and interior designer RD Jones, was commissioned by Tegethoff Development to transform the area northwest of the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Transit Center into a transitoriented, multi-family development in St. Louis’ historic Skinker-DeBaliviere Neighborhood.

Sited at the convergence of the MetroLink Red and Blue Lines and designed to enhance access to the St. Louis region’s Metro Transit system and the St. Vincent Greenway, Expo at Forest Park includes two multi-family buildings with 287 apartments, parking, extensive amenities and 30,000 square feet of retail space.

“Since even before the 1904 World’s Fair, the Skinker-DeBaliviere Neighborhood developed as a dense, diverse residential community along the former Wabash rail line,” said Trivers Principal Joel Fuoss, AIA, LEED AP. “This new transit-oriented development designed to accommodate nearly every mode of modern transportation will help create an active node of energy at the convergence of these transport pathways.”

While the north building, which will soon feature a ground-level, full-service grocery store, began welcoming residents in August 2022, the seven-story south building opened in December. It features an extensive vegetation amenity deck with bocce ball, a pool, fitness center and lounges that overlook the Missouri History Museum. Many of its top-floor units are two stories and include private patios and expansive views of Forest Park and beyond.

Trivers engaged in conversations with Bi-State Development (operator of Metro Transit) and the area’s residents throughout the planning process to ensure the development would be a welcomed addition to the community. The firm designed the Expo’s entrance to keep streets private and created walk-up style townhome units and stepping of the massing to help the development better nestle into the single-family homes surrounding it.

“The Expo is visionary and transformative, not only as a development, but also for transit in our region,” said Taulby Roach, Bi-State Development president and CEO. “The impact here is dramatic. It will be exciting in the coming years to see how this project demonstrates transit-oriented development’s vibrancy and function on a daily basis.”

With groundbreaking occurring in 2020 during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire project team overcame health and safety issues as well as supply chain snarls and material shortages to complete the Expo project.

“Brinkmann, the design teams and subcontractors worked very hard to overcome obstacles and adversities, which were far from what anyone had expected, and were committed to the success of this project,” said Jeremy Dotson, project director for Brinkmann Constructors.

Trivers, an architecture, planning, urban design and interiors firm, was founded in 1975 on values that still characterize it today: creating architecture of lasting positive consequence. By establishing a reputation for thoughtful design that responds to context, Trivers’ early focus on historic renovation and adaptive reuse grew to include ground-up construction. Based in St. Louis, Trivers works with a range of clients across the country providing expertise in civic, education, hospitality, housing and workplace architecture. More information is available at trivers.com.

Alberici Constructors, Inc. Promotes Fred Biermann to Executive Vice President

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Firm Also Launches Integrated Project Support Services Departmentto Strengthen Operational Efficiencies

As it begins its 105th year of building, Alberici Constructors, Inc. has promoted Fred Biermann to executive vice president and strengthened operational excellence with a new Integrated Project Support Services Department to be headed by John Smith.  Alberici is one of the largest privately-held companies in St. Louis and one of the nation’s largest construction firms.  Alberici reported revenue of $2.7 billion in 2022, including $330 million from St. Louis area projects.  It employs 3,500 companywide.  

Biermann leads Alberici’s nationally-ranked civil, marine, and heavy industrial markets. He has orchestrated several highly complex projects including the $1.9 billion Olmsted Lock and Dam on the Ohio River; the nearly $600 million in improvements to the Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay, Ga. for the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC); and the $400 million Fermilab Long Baseline Neutrino Facility/Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment project in Lead, S.D.

Biermann serves on the board of directors for the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, where he chairs the Union Contractors Committee and is an active member of the AGC of Missouri Labor Policy Committee. He also serves as a management co-chair of the Saint Louis Construction Cooperative (formerly PRIDE) and is an active member of the Waterways Council and Inland Rivers, Ports, and Terminals, Inc. Biermann previously served on the AGC of America’s U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Acquisition, and Marine Contractors committees. He earned an MBA from Webster University, a marketing degree from Maryville University and has completed advanced management studies at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Integrated Project Support Services Department Launched

Meanwhile, Alberici Vice President, Market Leader John Smith has been tapped to lead the firm’s new Integrated Project Support Services team. This new department will bring quality, scheduling, virtual design & construction and Lean expertise together to enhance collaboration and provide clients with the best building solutions in the industry. Additionally, Smith will continue to lead the energy market while expanding the company’s portfolio of renewable energy projects.  Smith earned a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology.

“Our success is only possible because of our dedication to promoting from within and fully capitalizing on the incredible talent assembled at Alberici,” noted Greg Hesser, president and CEO, Alberici.  “Fred and John have the experience and leadership that is needed to deliver complex projects safely and with the operational excellence Alberici is known for.”

Alberici is a leading North American construction company serving the civil, energy, institutional, commercial, heavy industrial, manufacturing, water/wastewater, and automotive industries. Founded in 1918 in St. Louis, Alberici is a recognized leader in the construction industry focused on providing clients with rock-solid reliability, the highest standards of quality and safety and innovative solutions for the most complex building needs. Alberici is ranked the 35th largest domestic builder (Engineering News-Record, May 2022) with annual revenues of over $2.7 billion. With approximately 3,500 salaried employees and craft professionals, the firm is headquartered in St. Louis with offices throughout North America. More information about the company is available online at www.alberici.com or by following the company on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

Construction Commences on New, $13.5 Million Public Safety Center at the Emerson Park Transit Center

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Project is Being Made Possible by “Rebuild Illinois” Grant

One year after Illinois Governor JB Pritzker awarded St. Clair County Transit District with a $9,975,000 “Rebuild Illinois” Grant, dozens gathered at the Emerson Park Transit Center to mark the official start of construction on the new, $13,584,000 Public Safety Center at the site. This space will play a key role in further enhancing the safety and security of public transit – which remains a top regional priority.

The state-of-the-art, two-story, 16,000-square-foot facility will house the backup Metro Transit Operations Control Center and the St. Clair County CENCOM West 9-1-1 Emergency Dispatch Center, and will include office space for St. Clair County MetroLink Sheriff’s deputies. The goal of the new space is to help bolster communications and security collaboration among Metro Transit, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, Metro Transit Public Safety, the Bureau of Transit Police and other public safety partners. The building will feature improved rider amenities, including public restrooms for riders and operators of the transit system.

“This project is a critical public safety investment for East St. Louis, St. Clair County and the entire St. Louis metropolitan region,” commented Chair of St. Clair County Transit District’s Board of Trustees and Director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency Herb Simmons. “It will bolster communications and security collaboration among Metro Transit, the St.  Clair County Sheriff’s Department, Metro Transit Public Safety, the Bureau of Transit Police and other public safety partners.”

The project is valued at $13,584,000 and is being funded by a $9,975,000 “Rebuild Illinois” grant received from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker in January 2022, along with funding from St. Clair County Transit District and Bi-State Development. It will be owned and operated by St. Clair County Transit District. The project team includes FGM Architects, Poettker Construction, Southwestern Illinois Building Trades, BRiC Partnership, LLC, Kreher Engineering and Gonzalez Companies, LLC. Construction is expected to be completed in 2024.

Illinois State Senator Christopher Belt added, “This project proves that public transportation can, and will continue to, serve as a catalyst for change in St. Clair County and, more specifically, East St. Louis where new development and jobs have been absent for a long time. And, I wanted to give a special thank you to Citizens for Modern Transit, AARP in St. Louis, St. Clair County Transit District and Metro Transit for their work in 2021 to help transform the Emerson Park Transit Center as part of its Transit Stop Transformation projects.”

About St. Clair County Transit District

Founded in 1981, St. Clair County Transit District contracts with Bi-State Development to provide public transportation services in St. Clair County, Ill., by way of 11 Metro Transit Centers; 12 MetroBus routes; on-demand, shared-ride services and more – connecting individuals to jobs, education, healthcare, entertainment, the MetroBikeLink and other destinations. Those with questions about service, they can call (618) 628-8090 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit www.scctd.org

Mia Rose Holdings Expands ‘The Prairie’ with New Mixed-Use Building

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Taps Midas Construction as Design/Build Partner

St. Louis, Missouri-based Mia Rose Holdings has announced the expansion of The Prairie luxury multi-family community in Dardenne Prairie with the addition of a 45,000 square foot mixed-use building. The three-story building will include 24 two-bedroom, two-bath apartment units on the second and third floors and nearly 15,000 square feet of space on the first floor.  The team will break ground in February and the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023. Mia Rose Holdings has partnered with Midas Construction as their design-build contractor with Fox Architects providing architectural services and Engenuity providing the engineering services. 2B Residential is the property manager and St. Louis Commercial Realty is providing retail leasing. 

Conveniently located at the southwest corner of Bryan Road and Missouri Route 364, the mixed-use building is part of the larger $75 million development that includes five, three-story apartment buildings with 120 one-bedroom units and 60 two-bedroom units, 60 three and four-bedroom villas and existing retail space featuring Imo’s Pizza and Twisted Sugar.  Three of the residential buildings are open.

“This is our fourth project with Tom and the Mia Rose team, and we look forward to starting construction. This will be the only mixed-use building on the property and will bring value to the community. We’re proud of how the project has taken shape and look forward to partnering together to bring more great developments to the area,” said Tim Flacke, Principal at Midas Construction.

The Prairie supports the “live, work, play” lifestyle with amenities such as a heated saltwater pool with sundeck and outdoor lounge, a modern clubhouse with pool table, conference/meeting room, fireplace, coffee bar, a well-equipped fitness center with free weights and Peloton Bike, bike racks, dog park, garages and more.

A beautiful palette of building materials gives the development an attractive, high-end appearance. Features include cultured stone, brick masonry veneer, cast stone architectural accents, architectural shingles, ornamental balcony railings and decorative exterior lighting sconces. Each unit features a quartz kitchen peninsula and countertops, subway tile backsplash, vinyl plank flooring, full-sized washer and dryer, a private patio or balcony with storage, large bedroom and linen closets, stainless steel appliances, granite bathroom vanities and nine-foot ceilings. 

“The City of Dardenne Prairie has been wonderful to work with at every step of the process,” said Tom Kaiman, Founder of Mia Rose Holdings. “We are very excited about bringing our mixed use vision forward to the community and following through on our commitment to do what we said we would do!’ 

Prospective residential tenants can find more information about the residential leasing at www.theprairieapartments.com and retail tenants should reach out to Brad Bush at brad.busch@stlcorealty.com


ABOUT MIA ROSE HOLDINGS, LLC
Mia Rose Holdings LLC (MRH) is a Chesterfield, MO-based commercial real estate development company that actively acquires and develops real estate to support the needs and vision of local communities. MRH provides comprehensive, first-class development services through partnerships with the best and brightest in commercial brokerage, engineering, architectural and construction services. Mixed-use and luxury multi-family developments include The Junction in Wentzville, PURE Springdale in Northwest Arkansas, 44 West Luxury Living in St. Louis County, The Prairie in Dardenne Prairie and The Meadows in Lake Saint Louis. MRH was formed in 2014 by Tom Kaiman who oversaw more than $1 billion in development during his previous 15 years of design and construction experience. In addition to multi-family and mixed-use developments, MRH has a strong niche developing and consulting for ice rinks and other youth athletic facilities, including Maryville University Hockey Center, Pacific Ice Rink and Chesterfield Sports Complex. For more information about Mia Rose Holdings, visit www.miaroseholdings.com.

ABOUT MIDAS CONSTRUCTION
Midas Construction is a leading commercial construction company based in St. Louis, MO. The firm specializes in high rise hotels, luxury multifamily, mixed use and senior housing. Projects under construction for 2023 exceed $300 million in the St. Louis metro area thus fulfilling the mission “Building great communities in which we live and work.” Notable projects include AC Hotel in the Central West End, The Prairie at Dardenne Prairie, Residence Inn in Clayton, the MILA apartments in Ellisville and Element St. Louis Midtown. For more information about Midas Construction visit https://midas.build

Leaning in: Construction Team Embraces Takt Planning on WUSM Neuroscience Research Building

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Each morning at 8:30 a.m., foremen and crew leaders working on the Neuroscience Research Building under construction at Washington University School of Medicine gather on each floor of the 11-story structure.

During this 15-minute huddle, team members review the daily crew schedule, address potential conflicts, and ensure the $616 million project remains on track. 

Guiding these discussions is a Takt plan, a lean construction scheduling tool that visually documents all work activities scheduled to take place each week throughout the project’s duration.

“The beauty of a Takt plan is that it makes everything visual,” says McCarthy Project Superintendent Josh Kreitler. “It consolidates a 170-page conventional P6 construction schedule onto a single color-coded page so that all of our trade partners can quickly understand where they’re supposed to be.”

A primary goal of Takt planning, in lean construction terms, is to create “flow.” In other words, the objective is for each project phase to progress in a logical sequence with no interruptions, delays, or bottlenecks. “Essentially, we want to eliminate waiting on workers or workers waiting on work,” explains Kreitler.

Maintaining flow can be a tall order, particularly on a large, complicated building with an ambitious schedule and dozens of trade partners. The key is establishing a consistent rhythm in the schedule (“Takt” is a German word that translates to rhythm, beat, or cadence.)

On the Neuroscience Research Building, a five-day rhythm directs the activities of all work crews: from mechanical, electrical, and plumbing contractors; to metal stud framing and drywall contractors; to carpenters and painters. “We have defined areas, a distinct sequence of work, and crews move every five days,” says Kreitler. “That creates stability for planning and a defined schedule for each team of specialty contractors.”

The consistent rhythm also helps facilitate the just-in-time delivery of materials and components to the job site. “The Takt plan is very detailed and systematic, which helps ensure our floor crews have the materials and tools they need to do the job. We also make sure they have them when they need them,” says Dan Blanton, project executive of the Murphy Corrigan joint venture overseeing the mechanical system components.

While the Takt planning process is highly structured, it’s also flexible to accommodate the inevitable shifts during construction. “We’re constantly negotiating in the field, but changes don’t happen on the fly. Instead, we make sure we incorporate them into the overall plan,” says Kreitler, noting that superintendent-level team members gather each afternoon to discuss project logistics and big-picture activities. “We all have to agree before adjusting, such as shifting a sequence or adding a buffer week,” he says.

Prefabrication and Collaboration Drive Efficiency

As one of the nation’s largest neuroscience research centers, the 609,000-square-foot building will bring together nearly 100 interdisciplinary research teams to study Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other nervous system disorders. The project, which includes an adjacent 1,800-space parking structure, also ranks as the largest in the history of Washington University in St. Louis.

Efficiencies gained through Takt planning have helped accelerate the installation of mechanical and electrical system components, which represent the most extensive scope of work in the research building.

About 90 percent of the M/E/P systems are prefabricated and pre-tested in several local prefab shops before delivering them to the job site for installation. “Prefabrication was only possible because of the detailed 3D modeling and intense coordination we did early on,” says McCarthy’s Chris Fava, who serves as M/E/P superintendent on the project. “This enabled all parties to understand the spatial constraints and generate fabrication drawings they could follow in the shop.”

Constructing essential components offsite has significantly reduced the number of onsite laborers required to install M/E/P components and decreased the amount of waste generated at the job site.

“Because of the way crews progress through the building, the Takt plan allows us to manage our overall manpower on the project much more efficiently,” says Ryan Freeman, president of PayneCrest Electric, the project’s electrical contractor.

According to Blanton, the Takt plan provides a systematic process for crews to install their project scope most efficiently and economically. “For too long, it’s been left up to the guys in the field just to figure it out, which ends up burdening the company with the largest scope of work,” he says. “Takt planning eliminates 95% of that inefficiency. It creates a collaborative team environment from day one.”

And because every team member interacts with the Takt plan — from the foreman to the person installing the material — project leaders believe everyone takes more ownership and pride in their work.

The process also helps crews pinpoint potential issues before they lead to costly delays, according to PayneCrest Superintendent Joe Wilmes. “We’re able to identify so many potential conflicts and problems long before we install a product, so the owner has more time to make informed educated decisions,” he says.

Freeman credits McCarthy’s expertise in overseeing trade relationships for the smooth execution of work. “Our success depends on the construction manager’s ability to develop the plan and coordinate all of the trade partners to execute the work efficiently,” he says.

Though most team members had no prior experience with Takt planning before working on this project, many have become enthusiastic supporters. “I’m a huge fan,” Wilmes says. “I would sell this system to anyone, and that’s coming from a skeptic.”

Blanton believes Takt planning may even become the standard scheduling method for commercial construction projects in the next five years. “A caveat is that you’ve got to have talented people running and organizing the project,” he says. “When done well, the way it is here, it’s the only way to build a project.”

The Neuroscience Research Building team remains on schedule, and construction is expected to wrap up in June 2023.

Emerging Trends Report ID’s Top 10 Real Estate Trends in 2023

By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE

PwC (PricewaterhouseCooper) and the Urban Land Institute’s 44th-annual edition of “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” points to 10 emerging trends that are anticipated to reign over 2023.

They are:

  1. Normalizing property market fundamentals
  2. Structural shifts in how and where U.S. professionals live, work and recreate
  3. Capital moving to the sidelines or to other assets
  4. Overpriced housing, both ownership and rental
  5. Commercial real estate investment demand gravitating to quality, niche assets
  6. Countless existing buildings and properties rendered redundant or obsolete
  7. Sun Belt states’ growing pains/rewards continuing
  8. Increased infrastructural spending for smarter, fairer cities
  9. Climate change’s increasing impact on real estate
  10. Action through environmental and economic regulation

The 2023 report, accessible via https://knowledge.uli.org/-/media/files/emerging-trends/2023/emerging-trends_uscanada-2023.pdf, reflects one-on-one interviews with 617 individuals and survey responses from more than 1,450 individuals.

In response to the national 2023 report, ULI St. Louis offers a list of 40 planned and ongoing St. Louis construction projects as the chapter’s “Reasons for Optimism.”

The projects are: 21c Museum Hotel; The Armory STL; AT&T tower; Brentwood Bound; Brickline; Chesterfield downtown; City Foundry STL; City Stadium; Clayton hotels; Clinton-Peabody reinvestment; St. Louis County’s equitable/sustainable plan; Delmar DivINe; Doorways; Economic Justice Action Plan; Expo; Home Repair Network; The Hub; IISTL; Jefferson Connector; Katherine Ward Burg Garden; MLK Cultural Boulevard; Midwest Climate Collaborative; Nee Kee Nee; new public sector leadership; NGA’s N2W; Pillars of the Valley; Riverpointe; RUNG; Sado; SLSO (Powell Hall) expansion; SLU Hospital; stadium hotels; Summer High School; Target on Grand; Top Golf expansion; UMSL’s North STL County Business & Workforce District; Veterans Community Project; WU Med Center; and St. Louis Zoo expansion.

For more information on ULI St. Louis’ 2023 initiatives, see https://stlouis.uli.org/.

Wiegmann Associates Completes Work for St. Louis’ First Ferrari Dealership, Cavallino Rosso

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Wiegmann Associates has completed work on St. Louis’ first Ferrari dealership, Cavallino Rosso, located at 3000 South Hanley Road. Wiegmann designed and installed HVAC systems to serve the new $6 million, two-story, 28,000-square-foot dealership including a high-end showroom, customer lounge, management offices, reception area, service department and upstairs indoor vehicle storage. In addition to providing value engineering, Wiegmann served as the installing mechanical contractor. Brinkmann Constructors served as the general contractor. The architect was Goree of Houston, Texas.

Wiegmann collaborated with the general contractor to value engineer a cost-effective, yet high-quality system that is reliable. By streamlining the ductwork distribution and layout as well as eliminating unnecessary and expensive rooftop unit accessories, Wiegmann reduced project costs to bring it within budget.

Wiegmann furnished and installed the constant volume rooftop units (RTU) and split systems to service the entire facility. Wiegmann also installed a ventilation and gas monitoring system in the service garages to minimize harmful chemicals and contaminants in the air, ensuring compliance with safety and health regulations.

Wiegmann Associates is a St. Louis-based mechanical contractor and a national leader in design/build HVAC projects. Since 1995, Wiegmann Associates has engineered and installed innovative, energy-saving and cost-efficient HVAC solutions, refrigeration systems and automation controls for clients in a wide range of industries, including senior living, food and beverage distribution, warehouse, healthcare, commercial and industrial. Wiegmann also provides 24-hour preventative maintenance programs and service in the St. Louis region. For more information, visit www.wiegmannassoc.com or call (636) 940-1056.

Western Specialty Contractors, KBS to Complete Extensive Curtain Wall Restoration at Award-Winning, 42-Story Mixed-Use Tower in Chicago

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Four-year project promotes sustainability/cost control while providing an impressive tenant amenity

Western Specialty Contractors – Chicago Facades Branch and KBS, one of the largest owners and operators of premier commercial real estate buildings in the nation, are completing the restoration of a curtain wall at Accenture Tower, an award-winning, 1.46-million-square-foot, 42-story Class A office and retail property at 500 West Madison Street in Chicago, Illinois.

The tower, completed in 1987 and formerly known as 500 West Madison, has twice earned The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) Award Internationally by The Building Owner and Managers Association. The building, which features numerous top-tier amenities, contains 40 stories of office space and 80,000 square feet of retail space over two levels. Sitting above the Ogilvie Transportation Center, the sixth-busiest railway commuter station/terminal in North America, Accenture Tower has earned a UL Verified Healthy Building verification and is LEED Gold and WiredScore Gold certified.

KBS contracted Western Specialty Contractors – Chicago Facades Branch in 2021 to completely restore the existing curtain wall at the property. The project, which is expected to continue through 2025, includes the removal and replacement of the original 35-year-old sealants on the entire 588-foot-tall building’s curtain wall and bridge over Canal Street.

“This restoration demonstrates KBS’ ongoing dedication to delivering the highest-quality amenities at its office properties and highlights its partnerships with service providers like Western Specialty Contractors,” says Luke Hamagiwa, Asset Manager for Accenture Tower and Vice President at KBS. “The curtain wall system will help prevent leaks which is extremely important given the area’s inclement weather.”

According to Debbie Kalck, Branch Manager for Western’s Chicago Facades Branch, a curtain wall system on a building’s façade plays an important role in protecting the building and its occupants by keeping the weather out while allowing extra natural light deeper into a building’s interior space. Additionally, curtain wall systems play a critical role in the overall building’s design and performance and must take into account various forms of outside air, water infiltration, wind loading and seismic forces.

Kalck adds that the restoration’s long completion schedule is due to Accenture Tower being equipped with two maintenance house rigs—working platforms attached to the curtain wall’s structural tube members and internal track system that are similar to swing stages and operated remotely—which allow Western’s crews to access approximately 80% of the exterior. The house rigs limit the number of crews able to work on the building at one time and do not provide access to the base of the building or the Canal Street bridge.

Areas of Accenture Tower’s that are not accessible with the house rig or aerial man lift include the 42nd-floor rollback at the center of the south elevation and the lower rollbacks on floors 4-6 and 6-9 of the north elevation. Western determined that the most cost-effective way to perform the work at these locations would be via an extensive rope access/controlled descent.

Western employees performing this work have received Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) training from certified SPRAT evaluators Elevated Safety and are certified as SPRAT Level 1: Rope Access Workers. This training ensures safe work-at-height practices and progresses into the specifics of working on a two-rope system, ascending, descending, transfers, controlled descent devices, and rescue. In addition, workers were trained on anchoring basics, awareness and job hazard analysis. Work at times is performed on a Bosun chair if workers are not able to position themselves elsewhere to perform the work.

“I am so proud of our crews who continue to take on the most challenging projects and are committed to providing our clients with the most cost-effective solutions to safely perform those projects,” says Kalck.

About Western Specialty Contractors

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. Western offers a nationwide network of expertise that building owners, engineers, architects and property managers can count on to develop cost-effective, corrective measures that can add years of useful life to a variety of structures including: industrial, commercial, healthcare, historic, educational and government buildings, parking structures and sports stadiums. Western is headquartered in St. Louis, MO with 30 branch offices nationwide and employs more than 1,200 salaried and hourly professionals who offer the best, time-tested techniques and innovative technology. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit www.westernspecialtycontractors.com.        

About KBS

KBS is one of the largest investors of premier commercial real estate in the nation. As a private equity real estate company and an SEC-registered investment adviser, KBS and its affiliated companies have completed transactional activity of more than $44.5 billion on behalf of private and institutional investors globally. Founded in 1992 by Peter Bren and Chuck Schreiber, KBS acquires and operates premier commercial real estate in some of the most successful epicenters in the country. The firm is committed in its business ethics, its business relationships, and its constant focus on exceeding the expectations of its investors, partners, and tenants. SEC registration as an investment advisor does not imply any particular level of skill or training. For more information on KBS, please visit www.kbs.com.

Construction Input Costs Slide in December but Top CPI Increase for the Year

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Submitted by the AGC.

Contractors’ input costs declined sharply, on balance, in December, as decreases in fuel, lumber, steel, and trucking costs outweighed increased prices for copper, aluminum, and concrete products, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data posted on Wednesday. The producer price index (PPI) for material and service inputs to new nonresidential construction declined for the sixth time in seven months, by 1.8%. The PPI for goods inputs sank 2.7%, the largest one-month drop since November 2008. Nevertheless, the materials and services index rose 7.2% year-over-year (y/y)—slightly outpacing the 6.5% increase in the consumer price index, the most widely watched measure of inflation. The PPI for inputs to new residential construction fell 1.2% for the month but increased 6.9% y/y. There were notable one-month declines in PPIs for diesel fuel (-29%, but up 20% y/y), lumber and plywood (-3.7% for the month and -20% y/y), steel mill products (-2.7% and -29%, respectively), and truck transportation of freight (-1.7% and 8.2%). The PPI increased by more than 1% from November for copper and brass mill shapes (1.5% for the month but down 3.6% y/y), ready-mixed concrete (1.4% for the month and 13.6% y/y—the most since 2006), and aluminum mill shapes (1.3% and 5.7%). The PPI for new nonresidential building construction—a measure of the price that contractors say they would bid to build a fixed set of buildings—was flat for the month and up 19.4% y/y. AGC posted tables of construction PPIs.

Some price declines may be short-lived. Producers of hot-rolled coil, from which some construction steel is made, have posted two price increases since early December. Copper and aluminum futures have risen sharply on commodities exchanges. A reader forwarded a December 27 letter from USG announcing, “All Commercial and Retail ceiling panels will increase up to 8% including Mineral Wool panels, Fiberglass panels and Gypsum panels,” effective February 6. Readers are invited to send information about input prices and supply-chain issues to ken.simonson@agc.org.

“After 25 consecutive months of year-over-year declines, U.S. hotel construction increased slightly [0.3% y/y] in December,” data analytics firm STR reported on Wednesday. Rooms in “final planning” increased 15% y/y but rooms in “planning” fell 16%. While New York City “has the most rooms in construction as a percentage of existing supply, the market will likely see a slowdown after ongoing projects are built due to new development restrictions in place. Nashville is also showing signs of a slowdown, so we could expect a shuffle in the top pipeline markets later in 2023.”

Housing starts (units) in December declined 1.4% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate from the November rate and 22% y/y, the Census Bureau reported on Thursday. Single-family starts jumped 11% for the month but slumped 25% y/y. Multifamily (five or more units) starts tumbled 19% for the month and 16% y/y. Residential permits skidded 1.6% for the month and 30% y/y. Single-family permits declined for the 10th month in a row, by 6.5% from November and 35% y/y. Multifamily permits rose 7.1% for the month but sagged 22% y/y. There were 926,000 multifamily units under construction in December, the most in series history dating to 1970. The figure was the 17th-straight monthly increase, up 1.0% for the month and 25% y/y. However, the y/y plunge in starts and permits suggests construction is likely to decline once current multifamily projects wrap up.

“Economic activity [from mid-November to January 9] was relatively unchanged since the previous report,” the Federal Reserve reported on Wednesday in its latest “Beige Book.” The Beige Book is a compilation of informal soundings of business and nonbusiness sources in the 12 Fed districts. “Housing markets continued to weaken, with sales and construction declining across Districts. Commercial real estate activity slowed slightly, on average, with more notable weakening in the office market. [Some] bankers said higher borrowing costs had begun to dampen commercial lending.”

Union membership in the construction industry inched down by 5,000 (0.5%) from an annual average of 1,024,000 in 2021 to 1,019,000 in 2022, BLS reported on Thursday. Total construction industry employment averaged 8,671,000 in 2022, an increase of 514,000 (6.3%) from 2021. As a result, the rate of unionization declined from 12.6% 2021 to 11.7% in 2022. The number of employees represented by unions—including workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union or an employee association contract—totaled 1,112,000 (13.6% of all construction industry employees) in 2021 and 1,076,000 (12.4%) in 2022.