Tocci Receives 2011 AGC Build New England Performance Award

Park87 at dusk with AGC logo in top left

For the last 30 years, the Associated General Contractors (AGC) has been recognizing leaders in the industry with biannual juried awards for outstanding projects.

Last week, Tocci was the proud recipient of the AGC’s 2011 Build New England Performance Award for our project, Park 87 in Cambridge, MA. A performance award is given for extraordinary team collaboration on a project characterized by significant technical or physical challenges. Park 87 certainly wasn’t devoid of these challenges, and the entire team excelled at working collaboratively in order to surmount potentially debilitating hurdles.

Challenges & Obstacles

Park87 comprised the permitting, design and construction of a 54 unit factory-built apartment building on a restricted budget at a fast track pace. Individual module construction, including rough systems and interior finishes complete, was accomplished in a Maine modular building factory. Module erection occurred in Cambridge, MA on a prepared foundation. The building foot print occupied nearly 100% of the site. The site is bounded on the North by the heavily trafficked Fresh Pond Mall. To the Northwest, New England’s largest door and window supplier abuts the property. A railroad line crosses the property from Northeast to Northwest. To the South, and across a busy two-lane urban thoroughfare, lies the 55 acre family-friendly Danehy Recreational Park. The project is sited on a former City of Cambridge landfill which was not remediated when construction began. To complicate the challenge, excavation kicked off in the early spring of 2010, a season that became widely known as “the worse flood season in one hundred years.”

Reducing Cost & Schedule

AdodeZ spent two years planning the construction of Park87 prior to the 2008 economic downturn. As the economy continued to falter in 2009 and 2010, the company had to make a hard decision—abandon, postpone or rethink the project. They chose to rethink. The rethink did not impact the goals or design requirements but instead focused on cutting the cost and shortening the delivery time frame. Tocci, using Building Information Modeling, was able to drive the cost down significantly and condense the construction schedule to 9 months.

Tocci spent five full months, after granting of normal entitlement permits, securing secondary permits and permissions—going far beyond a normal building permit process undertaken by CMs. Tocci secured easements through an abandoned railroad right of way obstructing the route for connecting sanitary and water utilities. Tocci negotiated permissions and easements with the MA Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection. It worked with the MA Water Resources Agency to obtain de-watering permits. It also worked with the City of Cambridge’s Department of Public Works, Traffic and Parking Division, Building Department, Police Department, Parks and Recreation Department, abutters and others on various construction and construction impact issues. The secondary permitting process was a project in itself.

Managing Hazardous Waste

Excavation of the abandoned City landfill raised a hazardous mix of asphalt shingles, refrigerators and old fire hoses. Over 7000 yards of material was monitored and classified for haul to specific landfills. Tocci consulted with the local Police Department to develop trucking routes and schedules that moderated negative consequences on local traffic. Neighbors and residents frequenting the area retailers and the park filed no complaints.

Tocci came out of the ground with piles and pile caps as well over 15 inches of rain washed through the site during March 2010 alone. An on site de-watering system, taking into account the high ground water table, was permitted and implemented. The water was filtered and sampled for contaminants by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority on a monthly basis. The Cambridge Department of Public Works also closely monitored the de-watering system. The program was successful with no violations recorded. Only heavy rain gear and knee-high rubber boots were added to assure that the project maintained schedule.

Delivering & Installing 76 Modular Units

Park87’s 54 units are comprised of 76 modular pieces factory-built in Maine. Overland transport from ME to MA required State Police notification in ME and NH and State Police escort from the MA border with NH and down to Cambridge, MA. As the tight site did not accommodate the storage and crane setting operation, Tocci pre-negotiated specifically timed use of abutter and City of Cambridge property for the installation. The boxes were dropped off at the nearby Fresh Pond Cinema parking lot. After delivery, and over the course of 5 days, they were moved from the drop off location to a City owned cul-de-sac in preparation for a crane-assisted lift and set process per Tocci’s carefully thought-out BIM-developed assembly sequence. Sequencing took into account on-going work, specifically at the elevator shaft, so that non-installation work could proceed uninterrupted. Only one night-lift during the 5-day process had to be scheduled to avoid day shift impacts. Tocci coordinated with the City of Cambridge Police to divert automotive and pedestrian traffic as necessary while the lifting was conducted directly from New Street.

We’d like to congratulate the entire Park 87 team for making this project a success!