Contractor Installs 135 Miles Of Wire On Orlando Project

By Steve Hudson | September 28, 2010

Working on a new mixed-use project in Orlando, electrical contractor Palmer Electric Co. (based in Winter Park, FL) recently completed the installation of enough wire and cable – 135 miles of it – to stretch along the I-4 corridor from Daytona to Tampa.

The wiring was installed in the new Dynetech Centre, a 30-story, mixed-use building located in Orlando's downtown area. The 600,000-square-foot building was developed by Lincoln Property Co. and features street level retail, structured parking, office space, residential apartments, and amenities that include a roof-top pool.

Baker Barrios Architects, Orlando, Fla., designed the building. Brasfield & Gorrie LLC was the general contractor.

Palmer Electric's key on-site personnel involved in the project included Bill Lassiter, senior project manager; Chad Westbrook, project engineer; and superintendents Richard Wood and Johan Vanduyvenbode.

Multifaceted Electrical Contracting

Van Tilley, vice president of Palmer Electric's commercial division, notes that as wiring jobs go, this is a large one. In addition to the 135 miles or 712,800 lineal feet of copper wire, aluminum wire and armored cable, Palmer's crews also installed some 110,000 lineal feet of conduit, 800 lineal feet of bus duct and 4,000 fixtures in the new high-rise.

The electrical contracting phase of the project took just over two years to complete, wrapping up this past summer. Palmer Electric had multiple crews on the project, with crews specifically assigned to handle various aspects of the project – the apartments, the office area, the garage, and the distribution system.

Palmer Electric actually became involved during the pre-bid design phase, then won the project as a hard bid job.

“We not only handled installation of the wiring but also installation of lighting, the fire alarm, lighting fixtures, and related work,” Tilley says. He adds that Palmer Electric also assisted with design and installation of the exterior lighting package; in addition, Palmer Electric installed a 500-kilowatt Cummins emergency generator on the site.

Tight Space Creates Challenges

“The biggest challenge at an urban site such as Dynetech is the lack of lay-down space for the mass of materials being installed in a building of this complexity,” Tilley said.

“Precise scheduling between our project management team and our vendors made certain equipment and materials were delivered to the job only when the field crew was ready to install.”

Since the building occupied essentially the entire lot, lay-down and material storage space was at a premium. Palmer Electric, along with other subcontractors working on the job, utilized the building's garage area for storage and in fact had an on-site office in one of the large storage rooms in the parking garage.

Throughout the project, Palmer personnel worked closely with suppliers to schedule deliver of materials in order to make the most efficient use of the available space.

“A lot of preplanning had to go on to make sure the materials were delivered and staged as needed,” Tilley says, adding that this was further complicated by the fact that materials could only be delivered during certain restricted morning hours.

Armored Cable Saved Time

Among the many different materials used on the project was Metal Clad (MC) cable, which combines cable and armor into a single product.

“In some cases electrical contractors first run conduit and then pull wire through the conduit to complete commercial wiring projects,” Tilley says. But the MC Cable, he explains, combines wire and cable into one package that speeds installation. The armor (aluminum, in this case) protects the cables like traditional conduit, and the result is time savings for the overall construction effort.

“With this kind of cable,” Tilley says, “you don't have to run the conduit and then go back and re-pull the cable.”