Wentworth Institute of Technology - Center for Engineering, Innovation and Sciences
Award of Merit, Higher Education/Research
Owner: Wentworth Institute of Technology
Lead Design Firm: Leers Weinzapfel Associates
General Contractor: Gilbane Building Co.
Project Management: STV
Structural Engineer: Les Constructions Beauce-Atlas Inc.
Subcontractors: Thomas G Gallagher Inc. (MEP); Gaston Electrical Co.; Federal Concrete Inc.; Sunrise Erectors Inc. (Curtain Wall)
For its first new building in 45 years, Wentworth was understandably eager to get the $44-million, 75,000-sq-ft multidisciplinary academic building on line as quickly as possible. The project had an aggressive 14-month timeline. The team achieved that goal and its budget target using lean construction practices, advanced design and project management technology and collaboration, despite potential roadblocks such as permit delays and a m design change.
What was originally designed to be built as a slab-on-grade structure was shifted to a more cost-effective, basement foundation approach, avoiding the costs of high-rise construction and meeting owner expectations without affecting overall schedule. Resilience against flood risks included raising the ground floor 2 ft above current grade and relocating critical equipment out of the basement. Requiring all key subcontractors to utilize Revit 3D software provided benefits as well. In addition to avoiding clashes, errors and quality concerns, the project’s 85% complete pre-occupancy punch list was above the industry average.
The building was already serving as a valuable teaching tool before hosting its first formal classes. The project team and faculty members developed a hands-on educational program spanning the design and construction phases that included site tours, lectures, field trips to recycling centers and fabrication plans and student participation in various safety and inspection meetings. All elements of this hands-on program were recorded so that future students will be able to benefit from the project.
Craftworkers performed daily stretching exercises along with daily briefings to discuss safety concerns and challenges on the jobsite. The team protected a main pedestrian thoroughfare adjacent to the project that remained open for the project’s entire duration. Covering the sidewalk with staging and plywood safeguarded pedestrians from dropped tools or falling debris. The team also added full-time attendants at two nearby pedestrian gates for added protection from construction vehicles.
The project team had no lost-time injuries during nearly 800,000 worker hours and an OSHA recordable incident rate of one, which is why ENR’s safety judge said he moved the project “to the top in the category of safety.”
The judge also noted that the “large number of specialty trade contractors (drywall, plumbers, ceiling, sprinklers, etc., etc.) required for institutional work, gave this project a slight edge.”