A Peek Inside the Construction of Midtown Atlanta’s Piedmont House
On the heels of the successful completion of Alta Midtown, also located in the Midtown Atlanta neighborhood, Wood Partners contracted with Balfour Beatty to erect Piedmont House, a 22-story luxury, mixed-use residential tower. Though a similar concept, this project was set to be built within a much smaller site—61,000 square feet to be exact.
With a building footprint of almost 30,000 square feet, Balfour Beatty project team members knew that their ability to develop detailed logistics, maintain a clean site, plan and control the work, manage traffic during and communicate consistently with the surrounding neighborhood would dictate the overall success of the project.
Unusual Site Constraints Call for Out-of-the-Box Thinking
What do you do when you need to get creative? Call in a group of experts and host a brainstorming session, of course! And that’s precisely what Balfour Beatty did. The team convened a group of preconstruction, operations, trade partner and executive experts, educated them on the challenges at hand and went to work detailing potential options for consideration.
Some of the lean techniques implemented, such as off-site fabrication of the building’s column rebar and various other mechanical and plumbing systems, helped reduce on-site labor requirements, maximize efficiency and minimize laydown areas. Other solutions such as just-in-time deliveries and quality control through the shop drawings process were implemented to keep the project running smoothly, avoid unnecessary re-work and delays.
BIM Investment Reaps Rewards
This close coordination continued through preconstruction as the team leveraged Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology. Enhancing the opportunity for efficient coordination with trade partners and mitigating potential challenges well before installing mechanical systems or the building’s skin, Balfour Beatty initiated several conversations that impacted the overall approach to the job, sequence of work and design details. Opting for a design-build delivery of the MEP systems required close coordination of the piping, ductwork, ceiling height and size of walls to avoid conflicts during construction.
Laying the Groundwork for Vertical Progress
When digging below-grade in an urban environment, contractors anticipate the discovery of hidden issues. As the project team began plans for erecting a retaining wall up to 20-feet high on the east side of the building, it became apparent that the soils were not going to allow for the specified compaction needed to go vertical. After careful analysis, more than 70 additional auger cast piles were cast in place, and the team was ready to go vertical. Once the tower moved past the foundations and went vertical, the team was able to turn over one floor of the structure each week.
Strong Field Leadership Overcomes Labor Challenges
In recent years, the construction industry has faced major challenges securing qualified and experienced labor. To mitigate labor issues on Piedmont House, Balfour Beatty implemented a practice of conducting daily huddles and weekly deep-dives with trade partners, which drove schedule alignment and quality control efforts. In particular, the team focused efforts on turning over the leasing office and lobby to allow marketing efforts to commence as early as possible. The finished product is a dynamic reflection of the dedication of each team member to this project and to owner Wood Partners.
Overlooking Piedmont Park, Piedmont House features 198 residential units, 2,450 square feet of retail space and a six-level podium parking deck with 372 spaces. Designed by architecture firm Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio, the property offers extensive community features available for all residents to enjoy, including a resort-style amenity deck with swimming pool, radius water fountain, water wall, club room, fitness center and a rooftop terrace.