Abbot Mill: Implementing the Owner’s Vision

John Tocci amongst other Tocci employees, as they wear PPE, and in discussion

The Abbot Mill is an intricate, historical restoration project, which has provided Tocci with the opportunity to truly understand and implement the owner’s vision.

As a result, the design has not yet been concluded although we are in the middle of construction.

Senior Project Manager VJ Tocci, whose specialty is restoring old buildings, holds the perspective that design modifications are a progressive, shared process. “We truly care about the owner’s vision of the project and want the building to be the best it can be. We have a unique ability to work with changes and think on the fly; that’s what makes Tocci special.”

He describes beneficial ways in which design changes impact the project: “Design is ongoing, and can change up until the last minute. But, this can result in a better price for something that wasn’t available before. Sometimes, even technology can improve between stages, presenting new options for the project.”

In collaboration with owner Chris Yule, Tocci team members are currently exploring and implementing new features to the project. Superintendent Ken Dubois notes such likelihoods as a building automation system and other automatic controls in the lobby and an outdoor patio on the roof of Building 10.

VDC Modeler George Hunt comments that because the design has not yet ended, the project “presents a whole new set of challenges every day—but in a good way, because it always gives us something to think through.”

He discusses a particular instance: “At one point, space in a bedroom was being taken up by piping that had no other route. The entire team walked in and came up with a solution together to move around some walls that not only made the bedroom functional again but also provided enough room for the pipes to go through to where they needed to go.”

Project Manager Victor Guller adds, “The most important part is a conceptual design, which overlaps with construction. This allows us to be more accommodating to the owner’s vision.” As team members implement the architects’ original design through the construction process, they uncover new information that prompts them and the owner to see how they want to change finishes, placement of components, and more. Owners are better able to visualize the end result as construction is occurring, thus making more informed design-change decisions.

George and Ken, along with VJ and Victor, agree that Abbot Mill’s design and construction are progressing synonymously. Looking ahead to the end result, Ken believes that this might be one of the most beautiful projects we’ve ever completed.