Williamsburg Landing is an upscale continuing care retirement community in Williamsburg, Virginia. In 2010, Williamsburg Landing staff found possible issues with the structure of the Landing Building, and hired a structural engineer to assess it. The engineer found that the 144,000-square-foot building, constructed in 1985, had been designed with insufficient re-bar, causing significant deflections and a possible structural failure. Williamsburg Landing retained Hill International to create and implement a plan for immediate remediation that simultaneously protected the building's residents, visitors and staff and minimized the work’s disruption.
Hill’s carefully phased, three-year plan called for the removal of the building’s exterior and the painstaking installation of fiber-reinforced polymer strips, which were bonded to the top and bottom of the concrete slabs with an epoxy resin to strengthen them. This required that all of the building’s interior walls, ceilings, and finishes be removed in order to access the slabs from both top and bottom—all while the Landing’s residents remained in their apartments. The safety and well-being of the Landing’s residents, and the need for the building to remain in full operation during construction posed significant logistical challenges. Remediation involved the deconstruction of nearly every interior wall and ceiling. The project also was constrained by a tight schedule, unforeseen site conditions, and owner- and team-directed changes. In addition, the Landing’s owner and design team saw the remediation as an opportunity to expand and upgrade both the apartments and the public spaces. This upgrade work included the installation of a new, 120-seat casual dining café and bar in an existing internal courtyard, which resulted in structural and construction logistical challenges. Poor soils discovered during design also required that helical piles be drilled through fill to obtain sufficient bearing.
The second and third phases of renovation created an updated main dining room, kitchen, lobby, and administration spaces, along with 60 modernized residential units. In addition, new plumbing, electrical, and fire suppression systems had to be tied into existing systems, and constrained ceiling and floor space required persistence and creativity to successfully integrate the new systems.
Hill recommended fast-tracking the acquisition of the A/E and general contractor for the project, and then managed the process on behalf of the owner. Specifically, Hill developed the RFPs, streamlined the evaluation and interview processes, and helped the owner make prudent hiring decisions. Hill also recommended the delivery method of Design-Assist with negotiated GMP for this project. This allowed the general contractor to have a hand in the design review process and help establish the construction budget. The general contractor also was encouraged to bring in subcontractors as early in the process as possible.
Hill, as part of its comprehensive project management services, provided much-needed commissioning agent services, including documenting the basis of design, reviewing and commenting on submittals, observing and commenting on construction, developing a tracking log to help resolve conflicts, verifying performance, facilitating and managing user training, producing a user's systems manual, producing a detailed commissioning report, and operational follow-up and reporting. The project completed well under budget, early, and with no lost time due to accidents.
“We were caught off guard when we learned of the inadequate re-bar reinforcement in our slabs and column joints of this 144,000-suare-foot building. It clear to me that we needed to bring significant resources to bear on what would be a three-year, $26 million project of remediation and renovation…We needed technical expertise who could bring laser-like focus to building a team that could do the work and then help manage the many processes from start to finish.
Hill International brought those resources to Williamsburg Landing quickly, and helped us achieve the project in less time than the professionals thought possible and at less cost than we originally projected. We have extended the life of this building by 25 years, brought it up to contemporary standards for a senior living community and resolved an engineering error that literally jeopardized residents and employees and our organization."
Stephen H. Montgomery
PRESIDENT & CEO