Carolinas AGC Doles Out Pinnacle Awards to Contractors

Fri March 17, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The Carolinas Associated General Contractors (AGC) has honored contractors with its 2005 Pinnacle Awards for outstanding achievement in the Carolinas commercial construction industry.

The winners this year are:

Best General Contractor

Crowder Construction Company, Charlotte, NC

Crowder is a privately held and family-controlled company, with revenues more than $150 million. Its 600 full-time employees specialize in industrial, site and highway, bridge and civil and environmental construction.

The judges found Crowder to be remarkable on three main fronts:

• Remarkably impressive employee benefits program, with Crowder paying for a high proportion — for example, a 529 College Education Savings plan. Another such benefit is the Crowder University career path training system offered to all employees and often to subcontractor employees as well.

• Outstanding and consistent contributions to the Carolinas construction industry at several levels.

• An exceptional and stellar safety program — simply no comparison. Crowder has earned the Building Star Contractor designation from the NC Department of Labor twice since 2002.

Crowder Construction has been a Carolinas AGC member for 55 years.

Best Supplier/Service Company

CIS Consulting Group, Charlotte, NC

CIS Consulting provides turn-key technology and information management solutions such as accounting, estimating and project management software as well as hardware and networking services. Annual volume is more than $4 million, with 30 employees.

CIS earned the recognition for being leading edge in both technology and customer service.

The judges said they were impressed by the firm’s employee training programs and funding and, in particular, its exceptional references. They heard comments such as “Over-and-above responsiveness and support, even to firms who use other agents for their Timberline software.”

They found CIS to be not just committed to, but also immersed in, the Carolinas construction industry. They said the firm is willing to take risks in its quest for innovation.

CIS has been a Carolinas AGC service company member since 1989.

Best Highway-Heavy Project

(2 Awards Given)

Liberty Pedestrian Bridge, Greenville, SC, by Taylor & Murphy Construction Co., Asheville, NC

This striking pedestrian bridge overlooks the 28-ft. high Reedy River Falls in downtown Greenville.

Its 12-ft. wide reinforced concrete deck spans 345 ft. It is basically supported by a “wire rope” — an interlocking network of steel ribs, masts and cables. As a single-sided suspension bridge in a horizontal curve, it’s the only bridge of its kind in the world.

The tricky cable erection process was compared to threading a rope uphill into the eye of needle. Taylor & Murphy used robotic equipment to meet extremely tight tolerances in building the superstructure — 5 mm in all three dimensions for each component.

Technology played a key role in this project, such as 3-D modeling and electronic plan submittals back and forth with a German engineering partner. With products never used in the U.S. for this type project, two complete bridges were built — the first 100 percent on falsework. This project called for a special breed of construction managers, who could suspend disbelief and think way out of the box.

The result? A strong but lightweight structure that appears to almost float in mid-air. Completed on time and within budget, the Pinnacle judges called this a signature construction project, and indeed it’s already being called the postcard of Greenville.

Interstate 85 Design-Build Project in Mecklenburg County, NC, by Blythe Construction, Charlotte, NC

This project involved the widening and reconstruction of 8.3 mi. of Interstate 85 from the US 29-NC 49 Split to Speedway Blvd. The improvements resulted in eight concrete through-lanes with a 22-ft. median south of Interstate 485. Above I-485, the highway was widened to three lanes northbound and four lanes southbound.

Working with The LPA Group, the team reconfigured the state’s original design for the 29/49 connector ramp with I-85. The result, including a single new flyover bridge instead of dual structures, saved $1 million and 6 months off the schedule.

In the judges’ words, for Blythe’s first design-build project, they “took a risky approach that paid off in spades.”

In addition, fellow highway contractor judges termed the construction process on this project “seamless and stellar.” Blythe also made savvy use of the media on a weekly basis and created a special Web site for two-way communication with the public. The Web site also contained a secure area for private communications between NCDOT and key design and construction personnel, who could also share access to drawings.

Completed four months ahead of schedule and on budget, the owner said this project absolutely ranks among the very best. An engineer on the job also called it one of the best design-build projects with which they’ve ever been associated.

Best Utility Project

Table Rock Intake, Cleveland, SC , by Crowder Construction Co., Civil & Environmental Division, Apex, NC

Near the Carolinas/Georgia border, Table Rock Lake has been the primary water source for Greenville, SC, for 80 years. This project involved two new 48-in. screened intakes below the existing ones, in order to provide up to 35 million gallons a day to the area. The construction took place in 55 ft. of water in this mountain reservoir.

Fellow utility contractor judges were quite impressed with the ultimate challenge: opening a 105-ft. vertical shaft and 500-ft. tunnel amid complex underlying geological materials. These openings had to be accurately intersected with pinpoint accuracy. And maintaining the integrity of the earthen dam was critical throughout.

Meanwhile, two hurricanes drove lake levels above design parameters and, above all, Crowder had to maintain the drinking water quality.

In a partnering approach to a public utility project, the team had to create and pave a new road, and engineer a four-barge system on which cranes would sit. They also had to change casing lengths just to get material to the site via hairpin mountain roads.

Safety planning was paramount, involving the GC, owner and subs, addressing many unique hazards including redundant plans for emergency egress from the shaft and retrieval of workers.

As a subcontractor put it: safety was No. 1 for everybody every day. In 36,000 man-hours, the project had zero lost-time injuries, zero environmental damage and no schedule slippage.

Best Building Project

Presbyterian Hospital’s Women’s Center Expansion & Renovation, Charlotte, NC, by Rodgers Builders, Charlotte, NC

Additions included a 66,000-sq.-ft. vertical expansion literally on top of an existing eight-story precast parking deck. Plus, the job involved a 20,000-sq.-ft. addition at level 7 above an existing two-story Children’s Hospital, with a 17,000-sq.-ft. adjoining connector bridge at Level 7.

Renovations included a new 38-bed Neonatal ICU, 20 new GYN beds and 31 new patient rooms.

Rodgers had to build six concrete shear box towers for lateral load bracing of high-rise institutional construction.

Judges called the site conditions “unbelievably challenging.”

The urban setting further complicated an already-daunting situation involving a very tightly confined site, an adjacent historic building and ongoing hospital operations directly below the construction activity. A tower crane had to be positioned inside one of the new concrete shear towers in the parking deck due to severe lack of space at ground level.

Judges called it a head and shoulders project in every way, with unique aspects and challenges “through the roof.” An architect on the job said, “Our office has rarely worked on a more complex project… this team has taken the word ’teamwork’ to a whole new level.”

Build With The Best

Danny R. Shealy, Director of Construction for the South Carolina Department of Transportation

The “Build With the Best Award” honors an individual outside the construction industry whose efforts have contributed not only to the betterment of the industry, but also to the economic welfare of the Carolinas.

Shealy was nominated for the Best in the Business Award by Carolinas AGC’s South Carolina Highway Contractors for his career of leadership and guidance. His commitment to building and maintaining quality roads and unselfish commitment to assist the contractors and our association is never ending.

Spending many hours working with the construction industry, Shealy always has a positive spirit of cooperativeness. He has labored tirelessly to develop policies, procedures and strategies that will make the joint business climate more cost effective. Shealy has been with the SCDOT for 29 years.

Winners were selected by a judging panel representing a cross-section of the Carolinas AGC membership: general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and service companies. Judges have the option of giving no award in a given category.

The awards were presented Jan. 27 at the Carolinas AGC’s 85th Annual Convention at The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando, FL.

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