Adding To The Arts Center

By Christina Fisher | September 28, 2010

Charleston, South Carolina-based Brantley Construction Company is in the beginning stages of an 18-month fast-track project to add a 64,000-square-foot addition to the existing Albert Simons Center for the Arts. Designed by the architectural firm of Stevens & Wilkinson in Columbia, S.C., the $18-million project will result in a five-story concrete structure with a brick veneer on a post-tensioned concrete slab.

Work began in September 2006 with some minimal demolition of an existing parking lot. The site is composed of very sandy, silty soil, so Brantley Construction brought in Parker Marine to perform pile driving operations.

Parker Marine will drive a total of 270 piles 100 feet deep. David Housand, project superintendent, explains that Parker Marine drills down and pushes a 50-foot section of piling. Then another 50-foot section of piling is welded to the first, and it is driven the remaining 50 feet with a Bucyrus-Erie 30B crawler crane. Housand points out that up to 12 pilings can be driven in a day.

S&ME Inc. has placed vibration monitors around the site and is testing to ensure that none of the neighboring structures are affected by the pile driving. "Being in Charleston you have to be extremely aware of the neighboring buildings. Charleston is built on history," said Matt Person, project manager.

"The readings have been less than what the specs allow," adds Housand.

Once pile driving is completed by the end of December, the construction team will begin excavating pile caps, installing rebar forms and pouring the concrete, which will be done with a tower crane.

Because the site is so tight, Person explains that a tower crane will be erected up through the center of the building where the elevator shaft will eventually go. When it's time to disassemble the tower crane, Brantley Construction will work after-hours and close down the nearby street.

Logistics on the site have also been a challenge. "We have no lay down area so all deliveries will be just in time," says Person.

"The building itself comes to within 3 feet of the sidewalk so the entire site is built," adds Housand.

For these reasons, the project has been carefully scheduled. The fast-track completion date also necessitates a carefully thought-out schedule.

"We'll have brick going up while we're still pouring the final pours," says Person. "We're going to have to stage everything accordingly."