Balfour Beatty benefits from prefab panels on Virginia apartment project

Balfour Beatty benefits from prefab panels on Virginia apartment project

Phil Puccio

Dive Brief:

  • LCOR Inc. has awarded Balfour Beatty a $79 million contract to construct Sage at National Landing in Arlington, Virginia. Construction has commenced on the luxury multifamily community anticipated to spark additional development and vibrancy in the Crystal City district just outside of Washington, D.C.
  • The Balfour Beatty team is employing the latest technologies and lean construction methodologies in constructing the apartment building. These will include the prefabrication of exterior wall panels and mechanical, electrical and plumbing components, as well as the use of BIM, to ensure efficient delivery of the project.
  • The utilization of prefabrication should save the Balfour Beatty teams installation time. It will also provide a safer installation method, reduce jobsite waste and free up additional space for other trades on the floors within the building, according to the company.

Dive Insight:

The decision to use prefabricated exterior wall panels and MEP components in constructing the 19-story building was based on many factors, said Sean Graham, vice president of operations in the Mid-Atlantic for Balfour Beatty.

“At their core, lean processes, like prefabrication, are rooted in enhancing people’s working environments, experiences, efficiency, safety and time savings,” Graham told Construction Dive. 

The luxury apartment complex is under construction in Crystal City, Virginia.

Permission granted by Balfour Beatty

 

For instance, prefabrication of the exterior wall panels minimizes the amount of time that crews spend on working from swing stages and/or lifts to install the exterior sheathing and air barrier materials. 

“Instead, the exterior sheathing and air barrier materials come pre-installed on each panel from the factory,” he said. “The prefabrication approach not only saves our project teams time during installation, but it also eliminates waste from the jobsite, provides a safer approach to installation and saves space on the floors for surrounding trades.”

Adding still greater time savings and efficiency is the fact the panels won’t have to travel far to be installed on the structure. They are locally fabricated in Fairfax, Virginia, approximately 15 miles from the jobsite, he said.

Project timeline

The building’s exterior façade was designed with an aluminum composite metal panel rainscreen, Graham said. Measurements are required to prefabricate the building’s exterior stud wall panels, offering members of the Balfour Beatty project team an opportunity to utilize these known measurements from the stud wall panel drawings to fabricate the metal panel rainscreen cladding. That cladding is installed on the prefabricated stud wall panels.

“In addition, the repetitiveness of the project’s windows and window wall system, which the prefabricated stud wall panels are designed to support, makes prefabricating the exterior walls a cost-effective, efficient, safe and reliable support wall for the project’s window systems,” Graham said.

Situated close to Amazon’s HQ2 project, Sage at National Landing will be built on the 40,000-square-foot site of a former Verizon telecommunications building. It is Balfour Beatty’s second project with LCOR following the company’s recent completion of LEED-Gold, 20-story multifamily and mixed-use development The Altaire. Designed by Bethesda, Maryland, firm SK+1 Architects, Sage at National Landing is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2023.

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