Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Thanks for A Great 2014!

Before we lock the office doors and head home to enjoy the holiday with family and friends, we would like to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We wouldn't be who we are without all of our great employees, clients and families. Thank you all for another great year!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

High Performance People Series: Interview with Russ Thurston, P.E.

Q: How long have you been working with StructureTec Group?
A:  I started in March of 2011. I have been in the parking structure and building restoration industry since graduation in June of 1980.

Q: What significant changes have transpired since you started?
A: We expanded our services. Since I started, we've increased our focus on horizontal restoration and concrete repair services. Basically we've developed a more significant capability for self performing repairs. 

Q: How has your role within the company changed over the years?
A: I was hired in as a senior project manager, responsible for managing individual projects, shortly after I was promoted division manager. As division manager I am responsible for the growth and development of the restoration division.

Q: What was your most memorable/rewarding/challenging project?
A: Most recently, the Tampa General Hospital project. This is the type of project that was our goal to work on since I started. It was unique in its size, complexity, number of structures and logistics. It was a major forensic investigation. 

Another rewarding project is the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, it has been a goal of ours to perform this type of major reconstruction...and we are there now. It is rewarding as the division manager to see the division grow into this caliber of work.

Q: What attracted you to StructureTec Group?
A: I had some existing exposure to the company about 10 years before I joined the team. I talked with CEO, Jeffrey Brittan and thought he had an interesting concept, as far as the way he was structuring the Company. This structure lead to opportunities for growth and development. Unlike other companies, StructureTec doesn't sit around waiting for the work to come in. It was clear that StructureTec is a very market driven firm. 

Q: Where do you see the direction of the company going in the next decade?
A: I see us moving into larger more complex structures, building a greater depth of personnel with our experience in horizontal restoration and using our niche in that market to expand geographically. I also see a huge opportunity in our ability to self perform the repairs as a design-build solution.

Q: What makes StructureTec unique?
A: The biggest difference is flexibility, we are small enough to take risks in development, but large enough to be conservative to make sure everything is being done correctly. We are more entrepreneurial than most engineering firms. Engineers tend to stay very focused on one small capability. We’re not just looking at one particular aspect of a buildings, we’re looking at whatever it takes to service the client. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: The people I work with. I like to teach them and develop their expertise. I also enjoy the challenge of working on parking and building structures, they have a wide range of conditions that have to be evaluated and understood.

Russ Thurston, P.E.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Project Spotlight: Marianjoy Hospital Green Roof

Marianjoy Hospital in Wheaton Illinois was getting an upgrade. A new patient tower, conference center and cafeteria were being added to their campus. With construction underway on the new additions, the hospital’s management recommended that an aesthetically appealing green roof system be added to an existing roof area because it would be visible from the new patient tower.

Construction underway.
They wanted to create a space that would promote patient healing through a natural environment as well as provide a place to host events. A green roof would be just that. Rather than look out onto a typical roof system, patients staying in the new tower could look from their windows down to a beautifully landscaped green roof. Also, the area could be used as a place for people to get outside and enjoy some fresh air while staying under the care of hospital staff.

The hospital contacted an architect who recommended they add the green roof on top of the existing roof system. StructureTec Group had worked with the facility manager on other projects, valuing StructureTec Group's reputation for best-in-class building envelope weatherproofing, the facility manager decided to get a second opinion.

The problem with the suggested approach was that the existing roof was not designed to support a green roof. The existing roof was a 19 year-old modified bitumen roof constructed with seams in the membrane. A green roof membrane has to be designed to hold water for the plants. Thankfully the roofing experts at StructureTec caught the error before any plans were drawn. The facility manager selected StructureTec Group to design and build the green roof using the Premier Engineered Systems project delivery method.

Premier Engineered Systems is our unique Design-Build approach. This method utilizes the design expertise of StructureTec in partnership with the construction expertise of Construction Services Group, a StructureTec Group subsidiary. This design-build approach eliminates the bidding process, allowing projects to be fast-tracked and designers and contractors to work together as a unified team. This method was necessary for the project because construction was already underway on the new patient tower. Construction Services Group (CSG), had only a brief window of time to complete the project before access to the roof was blocked by the new patient tower that would be multiple stories higher than the green roof.

CSG technicians began work on the project, only to discover that the two roof areas intended for the green roof had been built differently. On one section, the existing modified bitumen roof was adhered directly to the concrete deck, not on top of insulation as it was on the other side. This discovery required the StructureTec designers to re-engineer the roof system for that section. Otherwise the roof would have been higher than the door thresholds. A plan was developed to remove the existing roof and prepare a new concrete surface coated with an aesthetically pleasing, skid resistant PMMA surface. This completely waterproofed the roof without adding any additional height.

Installed planters.
Because Premier Engineered Systems was chosen as the project delivery method, this new challenge did not delay the project. The designers and builders were working together throughout the process, CSG was able to continue to work while the designers at StructureTec redesigned the plan for the unexpected roof system. This allowed CSG to meet their deadline without delaying construction on the new additions; a delay that could have cost the client thousands.

CSG met their deadline and installed a weatherproof and beautifully landscaped green roof. The green roof is now a real focal point of the hospital. It is a unique place where they can host events but more importantly a place that promotes patient healing reflecting the hospital’s dedication to providing the highest quality of care possible to their patients.

Completed green roof.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Case Study: Chicago Area School District Realizes $1.2 Million in Savings

Joliet Public Schools District 86 is made up of 21 school buildings covering 26.4 miles in suburban Chicago. A challenge for any school district is being able to effectively manage building projects within the budget provided by the taxpayers and appropriated by the school board. Joliet Public Schools is no different. Their buildings had been leaking due to years of deferred maintenance. It became difficult to manage the maintenance and leak repairs which were completed solely on an emergency basis. This reactive approach was costing the district money and would cost even more over time.

StructureTec was engaged to develop a Long Range Roof Asset Management Program to aid in budgeting for capital and maintenance projects based on accurate condition assessment. StructureTec evaluated every roof area in the district and also performed a StructureScan infrared survey to supplement the visual investigation. After the evaluation a three-year 3.5 million dollar roof replacement, restoration and maintenance program was developed for the district.

Planning session between Joliet Public School District and StructureTec.
The first priority was to address the roofs that needed to be replaced. Throughout the program a total of nine major capital projects were completed. The next focus was to capture any opportunities for roof restoration. Roof restoration can double the life of an existing roof system for a fraction of the cost compared to replacement. This technique was employed at four schools throughout the district, adding 15 years of service life for 20 percent the cost of a full replacement.

The program turned out to be just what the district needed to truly manage their building projects. Wes Russell, Assistant Superintendent for Business & Financial Services said “There is no doubt in my mind that we provided the tax payers with long term value." Darryl Duncan, Manager of Building Support Services added “StructureTec’s program allowed me to focus on other priorities and still accomplish the districts objectives.”  By prioritizing their portfolio, Wes and Darryl were able to save the district 1.2 million dollars. StructureTec was able to support the district throughout the entire program and ultimately provide them with the best solution.

One of the many buildings that make up Joliet Public Schools.