Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 143
second multifamily project, The Vine, located in Laurel, Md. Work on
the four-story, 283-unit building began in August 2016 and the first
phase is expected to open in February of next year.
Once completed, The Vine will feature resort-style amenities such
as a two-story fitness center, yoga room, pool, tech lodge, pet spa,
pub bar, conference room and a clubroom. The outside will have
four courtyards with grilling stations, a heated patio and a walking
path to connect The Vine to surrounding developments and a nearby grocery store.
Like Shady Grove before it, The Vine and its amenities present
a challenge in learning new construction methods and skill sets.
"We're used to steel and concrete," Senior Project Manager Jim Packer says. "This is wood frame."
In addition to being a new kind of project for Buch Construction,
The Vine has another wrinkle. It's the first time the contractor is
working on a project for the development arm of the company, Buch
LLC. "It's the same people we've been working with for years," Packer
says, "it's just now it's their money."
Preparation for The Vine began by reviewing Buch Construction's
experience on Shady Grove. The company realized it could better
staff its next residential project by improving its mix of on-site roles.
The increased familiarity with residential building materials was
On Shady Grove, Buch Construction ran into an issue where
plumbing pipes sheered off due to shrinkage of the wood framing.
Going into The Vine, the contractor knew to accommodate that issue
by using expansion joints in plumbing risers.
The sprinkler system was another area where Buch Construction
made improvements. When building Shady Grove, the sprinkler
heads were set to react to too low of a temperature, causing the fire
suppression system to activate in a mechanical room that rose to 100
Buch reviewed its first multifamily
project to see how it could improve
its work for The Vine.
F because of heat coming off the equipment. For The Vine, Buch set
the sprinkler heads to activate at higher temperatures.
Adjustments in the expansion joints and sprinkler system
demonstrate the growth in experience Buch Construction made
between the two multifamily projects, but the company sought to
further its knowledge by hiring talented subcontractors that could
help guide the process. "We were looking for people that have experience in multifamily residential," Packer says.
The added expertise has been a benefit to The Vine. "I'm really impressed with the subcontractors we have out there," Packer explains.
"Some are probably even more experienced than we are with this
type of construction."
Regular quality checks and knowledgeable subcontractors have
helped Buch Construction meet the challenges of the project. The
original plan called for an overhead natural gas pipe that would
run through The Vine's 504-stall parking garage; however, it
turned out there wasn't enough space so the system was redesigned to go underground.
Weather also has been an issue during construction, creating wet
conditions that slow down progress. "It's been a wet year down here,"
Packer says. "The soil out there is very moisture sensitive so we've
had to spend a fair amount of money to treat the soil."
Buch's expanding knowledge of multifamily projects is creating
opportunities. "We are in talks with another property," Corona says.
"We're definitely open to it with the right owner."
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM