Rafn Wins ABC's Eagle Award

Staff | September 28, 2010

Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington honored nine outstanding projects with 2008 Excellence in Construction Awards.

"This year's entries reflect the diverse commercial projects that ABC members build, running the gamut from medical centers and schools to mixed-use and industrial projects," said Karen Say, 2007–2008 ABC chair and owner of Saybr Contractors Inc. "All of the projects entered are indicative of the high standards made possible when contractors and subcontractors are selected on the basis of merit — qualifications, performance and price."

The awards credit all members of the teams responsible for winning projects, from contractors, subcontractors and suppliers, to owners, architects and engineers.

The Rafn Co. earned the Eagle of Excellence, ABC's top award, and also first place in Historical Restoration for the Trace Lofts project. The project team also included Trace Lofts LLC, owner; Johnson Architecture + Planning LLC, architect; and Swenson Say Fagét, engineer.

This restoration of a 1919 warehouse in the heart of Seattle preserved the character of the structure while adding modern and contemporary elements. Before Trace Lofts, LLC re-envisioned the building as 42 loft-style condominiums, it had been used as a warehouse. Johnson Architecture + Planning LLC created the innovative design, which imagines the Trace Building's historical brick structure as an antique dresser with the new glass-and-steel addition of two stories sitting atop it like a "jewelry box," blending the past and present. The design also uses exposed brick walls and HVAC systems to integrate the modern and historical elements.

Adding the two stories to the historic building proved challenging for the Rafn team. Demolishing the existing roof was a delicate process, because the roof was integral to the structural support of the walls. Rafn used an extensive system of pipe bracing to stabilize the existing walls during the demolition of the roof that stayed in place until the new fourth floor deck was complete.

Rafn had no time-loss injuries while working 40,112 hours on this $9.5-million project.

Other ABC members who participated in this project were Advanced Fire Protection Inc., SME Inc. of Seattle, Ralph's Concrete Pumping, ReNu (a division of Nuprecon), Evergreen Concrete Cutting Inc., Rainbow Federal Inc., Kodo Construction Inc., and Northshore Paving Inc.

Bird Construction (U.S.A.) Inc. won in Commercial Construction for Cabela's. Other members of the project team were Cabela's, owner; Crabtree Rohrbaugh & Associates, architect; Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., mechanical and electrical engineer; CenterPoint Engineering, structural engineer; and Hatton Godat & Pantier, civil engineer.

Bird Construction built the West Coast flagship Cabela's store in Lacey, Wash., a 192,000-square-foot, $35-million project, in just 180 days. The original schedule allowed for eight months of work, but behind-schedule off-site civil work, delayed permits, incomplete design drawings, and a late delivery of utility services resulted in an accelerated schedule.

Bird established safety practices that were adopted by all parties that participated in the Cabela project, resulting in a flawless OHSA safety record with zero lost working hours. Other ABC members who participated in this project were Bray Bros. USA LLC and Lakeridge Plumbing.

In the Industrial Construction category, Rushforth Construction Co. Inc. won for the Gensco, Inc. Retail and Distribution Facility. The owner was Charlie Walters, CMKM, LLC; architect, Dale Couture, AHBL Inc.; and engineer, Al Bessette, AHBL Inc.

The third building at Gensco's Fife, Wash., campus connects to an existing building and provides multiple access points into their facilities. This 118,000-square-foot, tilt-up building includes 12,000 square feet of retail space, branch offices and storage spaces on two floors.

The project finished on time and almost 10 percent under the original GMP budget despite record-setting bad weather during the roof construction phase. For this 38,887-hour project, Rushforth had zero reported injuries.

Other ABC members working on this project included Acoustics Northwest Inc., CHG Building Systems Inc., Heiberg Inc., Kirby Electric Inc., White Cap and American Drapery Blind & Carpet Inc.

Synergy Construction Inc. won in the Interior Improvement/Renovation category for The Jim Wiley Community Center, Plaza and CV4 Housing in White Center, Wash. The team also included King County Housing Authority, owner; Tonkin/Hoyn/Lokin Architects, architect; and KPFF, engineer.

Synergy Construction transformed an antiquated community center into a modern, 22,600-square-foot recreation center including a renovated gymnasium, new computer labs, homework and adult language classrooms, a commercial kitchen, and a career development center for youth and families in White Center. This $5-million, 27,095-hour project was completed over 10 months with zero injuries.

Other ABC members working on this project included Lacey Glass, Audio Acoustics Inc. and Advanced Fire Protection Inc.

Rafn Co. also won the Mixed-Use Construction category for its Broadway Crossing project in Seattle. Included on the project team were Capitol Hill Housing, owner; GGLO, architect; and Coughlin Porter Lundeen, engineer.

Broadway Crossing is a high-density, mixed-use development with below-grade parking, pedestrian-friendly urban retail space and four levels of affordable city living for families making between 30 percent and 60 percent of median King County income. Rafn Co. used green building practices to construct the project, which includes three concrete PT decks comprising two levels of below-grade parking and the street level, 12,000-square-foot retail space. Rising above the retail space, four levels of wood-framed housing units range in size from 420-square-foot studios to 785-square-foot, two-bedroom units.

The project has been recognized as a Green Community and was awarded a SeaGreen award from the city of Seattle. Other ABC members working on this project included Evergreen Concrete Cutting Inc., Custom Sprinkler Co., DeBolte Plumbing & Heating Inc., MT Electric, Coast Crane Co., and Kodo Construction Inc.

In the Multi-Family Construction category, Marpac Construction LLC won the award for its International Place Apartments in Tacoma's Salishan HOPE VI redevelopment project. The project team also included International Place Council, owner; Environmental Works, architect; and Swenson Say Fagét, engineer.

During the schematic design phase, Marpac provided preconstruction services and ensured a design that could meet the stringent construction budget and schedule. Careful planning and problem solving included redesigning the building layout to accommodate the existing site conditions, changing to less expensive doors and hardware, and utilizing vinyl windows in lieu of storefronts at certain locations.

Marpac finished this project within budget and on schedule with no injuries in the 7,714.5 hours worked.

Other ABC members working on this project included Bratrud Middleton Insurance; Tueffers, Guckian, & Gamon PLLC; United Systems Mechanical LLC; Tacoma Plumbing & Heating; Advanced Fire Protection; Boone Electric; Ro-Con Equipment Specialists; Kodo Construction Inc.; and Lacey Glass.

In Public Construction, Saybr Contractors Inc. took home the award for its Washington SR 123 Emergency Highway Repairs project. The owner was U.S. Federal Highway Administration, and the engineer was Pete Gonzales, U.S.F.H.W.A.

Record rainfall in November 2006 caused multiple washouts along State Route 123, which runs through Mt. Rainier National Park and connects traffic from Chinook Pass to White Pass. The most severe washout, at Milepost 11.01, measured approximately 80 feet across at the roadway centerline and nearly 350 feet down the slope.

With only four months in which to complete the repairs, Saybr Contractors was under pressure to restore milepost 10.0 to milepost 11.01, the first task on a Multiple Award Task Order Contract. The remote location within the national park and 16 miles from the nearest town added further challenges to this already precarious project.

Saybr completed the repairs one full week ahead of schedule and significantly under budget due to using far less material than had been anticipated for the fill. Despite the inherent hazards of this project, Saybr had no safety incidents during the 2,200 hours worked.

One ABC member, Kibble & Prentice, a USI Company, also worked on this project.

S.D. Deacon Corp. of Washington won in Specialty Construction for the Seattle Country Day School. The project team included Seattle Country Day School, owner; Carlson Architects, architect; and Swenson Say Fagét, engineer.

The project included building a new 35,000-square-foot middle school building, renovating two existing buildings, and creating two new parking areas, a driveway and turnaround for cars and buses, as well as a new playfield. S.D. Deacon also demolished the existing structures, widened an existing city street, worked on a new city street, and developed a new fire service along with complete new site electrical service for three of the four buildings. Because school was in session for the majority of the construction, the team paid special attention to phasing the project and implementing safety measures to safeguard the students and the community.

S.D. Deacon Corp. completed the project in 17 months despite numerous challenges including a concrete strike only five weeks into the schedule. There were zero time loss injuries and only one medical injury in this 27,413-hour, $10-million project.

Other ABC members working on this project included Advanced Fire Protection Inc., American Drapery, Blind & Carpet, Audio Acoustics Inc., CHG Building Systems Inc., Evergreen Concrete Cutting Inc., Merit Mechanical Inc., and Remco-Deacon Inc.

The third award for Rafn Co. came in the Sustainable Certified Construction category, for its GGLO Office Improvements project. Owner/Architect for the project was GGLO, which chose Rafn Co. to transform its existing offices into a fresh, new space by renovating a 7,000-square-foot conference area and expanding their offices by another 7,300 square feet.

The primary objective and challenge of this renovation surrounded maximizing the sustainability of the design and reusing or recycling as much of the material as possible. During demolition, the Rafn team meticulously inventoried and cataloged every piece of surplus material in the existing workstations and the storerooms. The architecture team then based its design around the incorporation of the existing materials. Ninety-five percent of the catalogued material including workstations, countertops, shelves, and wall panels were used in the final space, and Rafn obtained custom-made matching pieces to finish the design.

Other ABC members working on this project included Pro-Staff Mechanical Inc. and All Phase Plumbing Inc.

Award judges for this year were James A. McNett, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Associate, MITHN; Benjamin Minnick, construction editor, Daily Journal of Commerce; Carl Molesworth, editor, Pacific Builder & Engineer; Kevin Otteson, CollinsWoerman; and John E. Schaufelberger, Ph.D., P.E., University of Washington.