COAA-GA Fall Workshop Recap

Posted By: Wes Berry Education, News,

COAA-GA's Fall Workshop recently took place at Atlanta ToolBank, just South of Grant Park and Zoo Atlanta. The event featured three informative sessions and a tour of the facility. As always, the topics were relevant, with good engagement from the group. The event began at 9:30 with networking and breakfast before getting into the sessions starting at 10. 

For our first session, representatives from Whiting-Turner and Emory University discussed the plethora of project technology used to interface with stakeholders and how they used a criteria-based approach to determine the best way to engage stakeholders on a recent project. By listing the features of each technology/platform, the Project Team can look at the pros and cons of each and the project's needs to determine which to utilize.  

I didn't realize there were so many options, and I agree that creating a chart to compare is the most straightforward approach. With each platform offering different features and interfaces, the Project Team may choose to incorporate several technologies throughout the project. Presenting options at project commencement is beneficial to get stakeholder feedback and allow for seamless integration. I found the options for remote site visits and using video documentation for Pay Application work-in-place verification especially interesting. 

Our second session highlighted Ponce City Market's new mass timber building (619 Ponce De Leon Ave) and the process to bring this construction type (Type 3B - Fully Exposed Members) to Atlanta at this scale. Jamestown (Owner), JE Dunn (CP), and Handel Architects (DP) discussed in detail the design of the building and the planning required to procure locally sourced mass timber (most comes from Austria/Canada). 

Jamestown, who just so happens to own 200,000 acres of timber farms in the Southeast, worked with Georgia-Pacific to create a system to track each piece of timber from the farm to placement in the building. This tracking was critical for this project and will benefit future projects from other developers/project teams. 

While the front end was intensive, the Team said the construction is simplified and moves quickly, with the beams being dropped and screwed into place (especially the structure on one floor every 12 days). Less workforce is on-site with fewer trades and actions, so a job this size (80,000 sq ft with four floors) that generally would have up to 150 people on site has a crew of 6-8. That's amazing. Aside from a less congested workspace (great for this tight site), the benefits include a safer and cleaner job site. 

The current code limits this type of construction to 4 floors, and there is a higher upfront cost, so it may not be a good fit for many projects. Still, the environmental considerations (70% carbon reduction), lifecycle benefits, and curb appeal offered by this construction type should mean we see more of them around. Kudos to this project team for paving the way.

As a developer, Jamestown has done a great job delivering high-quality, exciting projects at Ponce City Market and other Jamestown properties I have visited (in Atlanta and elsewhere), and 619 Ponce is no different. I am excited to see how this project finishes.

For our afternoon session, Josh Koons (Koons Environmental Design) discussed landscape and hardscape design at Georgia Tech and UGA and how implementation helps direct flow, mitigate, capture, and reuse rainwater. 

In a COAA-GA workshop held at Georgia Tech last year, a session featured Eco Commons and how it fits into the reimagined landscaping master plan that reintroduced the natural water flow on campus. The design uses landscape/hardscape to minimize impact and optimize usability. If you have been on Tech's campus over the past 20 years, it is hard to overstate the improvements to campus that have been driven by rethinking the landscaping and implementing the plan. It was great to hear a recap of the design and benefits as they come to fruition and projected impact over time.

He also highlighted a few projects at UGA that use creative solutions with landscape and hardscape to keep water on-site for non-potable use and reduce runoff. These solutions allow for many benefits, including financial and environmental, while visually appealing and functional. 

The workshop ended with a tour of the Atlanta ToolBank. If you aren't familiar with the organization (I wasn't), it provides tools, equipment, and expertise to aid in projects for non-profits and other community-based organizations. Access to rent tools at a fraction of what it would cost to purchase or otherwise rent means organizations save money. In 2022, there were 749 tool orders fulfilled and 1,721 projects completed - the lending fee was $58,980 on $2,555,363.50 of tools. That is a lot of savings!

We appreciate our sponsors and everyone participating in our Fall Workshop. Event sponsors were Whiting-Turner and STARC Systems (look them up - they offer an easy and attractive way to divide space). Annual Chapter Sponsors are Daikin and Parrish Construction Group. We greatly appreciate Atlanta ToolBank for hosting! 

Wes Berry has a BS in Architecture and MS in Construction Management from The Georgia Institute of Technology, is a PMP, and enjoys all aspects of Design and Construction, specifically Programming, Strategy, and Contract Administration. Having worked for the State of GA as a PM for 14 years (GSFIC), he primarily consults on State projects but takes on an occasional residential project and would like to expand into Healthcare. He is also an Ace Certified Personal Trainer and spends his free time focused on fitness and his two dogs, Pierre and Penelope.