Nick Martin Facilities Manager, Capital Projects and Building Systems, exits the construction area.
If you passed by Stevens Court Annex recently, you probably noticed one of the apartment buildings is sheathed in fabric (called scrim panel) with the outline of scaffolding underneath. That would be Building L, which is undergoing a major exterior siding upgrade and replacement. You probably also heard a lot of banging, power sawing and other construction sounds.
According to Nick Martin, Facilities Manager, Capital Projects and Building Systems, this is year two of a three-year project to upgrade all of the Stevens Court addition buildings. “We discovered we had a water issue with the exterior cladding system, the exterior wall covering that protects the interior components of a building. We ultimately determined it all needed to be replaced, with insurance covering the bulk of the costs.”
Last summer, Building J, the smallest of the four buildings, became the prototype for the remodel. At the time, Facilities did not know the full extent of the situation. “We did some testing and opened up parts of the exterior of the building, but there were some major unforeseen items,” noted Nick, such as water damage to the entrance brick columns and sections of rot on the bump-outs (segments of the building that are extensions of living space). Last year during the upgrade, when unexpected concerns came to light, the team had to go through additional approval processes, including certifying the insurance coverage. That slowed down the construction rate.
Based on last year’s initial experience, this time around, as Nick notes, “We have all of the previously unforeseen scope baked into this baseline level of documentation, which should streamline the construction process and make the project easier to manage.”
As for this year’s project of the larger (twice the size as J) building, all of the scaffolding is up. Workers use a power saw to slice into the stucco and the metal mesh behind it. The stucco comes off in chunks and is sent down a chute to the ground level. After studs and existing plywood are replaced, the new HardiePanel or vertical siding will go up later this summer. Also, the brick around the degraded archways is also coming down and being replaced with HardiePanel. By the way, no one is living in the apartments during the summer work.
In addition to exterior replacement, Nick says there are some minor upgrades including the exterior lighting to match the new look of the building, new signage and energy efficient windows.
When residents return in September, the bulk of the work should be completed with final steps taking place and finishing up in October. Next summer, it’s time for Buildings K and M to be upgraded.