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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION PHOTO: PRH FAIRWINDS The Auberge Beach Residences & Spa in Fort Lauderdale feature 18-and 23-story towers along 450 linear ft of beachfront. Opinions expressed are those of the advertisers. Miami Report Changing With The Tide Caution precedes a shifting construction market By Eda Galeno WHAT’S INSIDE A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Miami’s Newest Builds Technology Fuels the MiamiCentral Project Meeting Concrete Demands Miami Beach Pump Station Combats Rising Sea Levels November 7/14, 2016 | M1

Changing With The Tide

Eda Galeno

In our last South Florida highlight, we covered All Aboard Florida, Miami Worldcenter, the Miami Beach Convention Center and other large construction projects in the area. This time, we’ll take a look at some new projects with a behind-the-scenes look at what keeps Miami’s construction market buzzing.

While construction in Miami remains fast and furious, current projects are not leaning as heavily on residential and condo construction as they have in the past. There is still a good mix of projects for Miami contractors, but there has been a shift away from the condo market.

“What is changing is that there are more nonresidential projects underway like public buildings, offices, infrastructure, convention centers and malls,” says Peter Dyga, president and CEO, East Coast chapter, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Florida. “That’s probably a good thing because too much of one thing is what got us into trouble in the past.”

The Frost Museum of Science

On four acres within downtown Miami’s waterfront Museum Park, the 250,000-sq-ft Patricia and Philip Frost Museum of Science is currently under construction. This $300-million state-of-the-art museum is comprised of a planetarium, exhibition halls, 500,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, five-story Innovation Center, a café and more.

“It’s a really unique project,” says Andy Allen, project executive at Skanska USA. “The Gulf Stream Aquarium has a martini-glass tank, and it’s the only aquarium of this size in the world that you can stand underneath. Construction of the tank posed a significant technical challenge.”

The 100-ft-wide, cone-shaped vessel, which supports 4.5 million lbs of water, is constructed of 1,200 cu yds of concrete. Construction of the vessel required a continuous 24-hour concrete pour, which needed to be completed in a manner that preserved the water tank integrity of the structure.

The 9.5-million-lb aquarium is held up over the People and Science Gallery by six concrete columns. Below the aquarium tank will be a 30-ft-wide viewing portal created by an 18-in.- thick, 60,000-lb oculus lens that was fabricated in Italy.

“The next step is to install the acrylic lens that is coming in about two weeks,” Allen says. “Then we fill the tank with water and fish. We are working with the client to have construction finished and doors open in the first quarter of 2017.”

One Thousand Museum

There are, however, residential towers presently in construction, such as the One Thousand Museum on Biscayne Boulevard. A $450-million, 63-story structure, One Thousand Museum is the late world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid’s first design in the Western Hemisphere.

This multifamily condo, retail and garage structure will include 84 condos ranging from 4,600 to 9,900 sq ft.Resident amenities will include private elevators, media rooms, multiple pools, a fitness center, private rooftop helipad, event space, an indoor aquatic center and the SkyLounge.

“This is a unique project because the structure will feature 88,689 sq ft of exoskeleton columns and a center core that will eliminate internal columns, allowing for unrestricted floor layouts,” says Brad Meltzer, president, Plaza Construction Group Florida. “The envelope will incorporate five different glazing systems, linear and curved glass rail balconies, aluminum and glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels, and eight-story custom metal architectural elements.”

Plaza Construction worked through a 12-month preconstruction period to ensure cost, schedule and logistical details were met and addressed.

Aventura Mall Expansion

Another Plaza project currently under construction is the Aventura Mall Expansion. This $213.5-million project consists of approximately 333,000 sq ft of renovated and expanded mall space in addition to a new six-level parking structure, which will add 1,572 spaces to the existing property.

For work to commence on the parking garage, approximately 167,000 cu yds of existing fill was removed to make way for portions of the two new underground structures. There will also be a transit center on the ground level of the existing Nordstrom parking garage.This new city and county transit hub can accommodate nine buses at any time for the increasing number of shoppers expected at the mall property.

“The mall is currently in operation,” Meltzer says. “So to minimize impact on its daily activities, we scheduled a portion of the excavation and concrete activities at night during nonworking hours.”

Emerging Technologies

Scott Desharnais, executive vice president at Moss Construction, cites deep soil mixing as a fairly new technology to the Miami area.

“It enables construction to be done below the water table in a more predictable and efficient way than before,” he says. “This is enabling designers to put things like parking garages below grade level.” Moss is currently using this process on the Auberge project on Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Deep soil mixing (DSM), also known as wet soil mixing, is a ground improvement technique that improves the characteristics of weak soils by mechanically mixing them with cementitious binder slurry. The method has been used to increase bearing capacity, decrease settlement, increase global stability, mitigate liquefaction, and encapsulate existing contaminated soils and underground basements for planned structures, tanks, embankments and levees.

The Auberge Beach Residences & Spa touts luxury condominium living in 18- and 23-story towers fronting 450 linear ft of beachfront. Starting on the second floor of each tower, residences range from 1,500 to more than 5,000 sq ft of conditioned space in one- to five-bedroom configurations. Wrap around, two-level penthouses include more than 3,500 sq ft of terraces. Oceanfront amenities include pools, luxury spa, cabanas, two restaurants, Napa wine cellar, fitness center, library, children’s playroom and business center. But it’s the two-level below-grade parking that is bringing new technology into Miami.

Suffolk Construction’s Peter Tuffo, COO, southeast region, cites the use of virtual design and construction (VDC) as another constantly evolving technology being used in the South Florida construction market.

“The use of VDC minimizes our clients’ risk by identifying challenges and conflicts early enough in the process where they can be addressed before the schedule or budget is impacted,” Tuffo says. “On our MiamiCentral Station project for All Aboard Florida, we’re utilizing an integrated virtual model to demonstrate how we’ll execute the construction activities that are literally inches from the existing metro rail.”

In that project, the Suffolk team laser scanned the existing structures and coordinated that information with the 3D model to eliminate the possibility of dimensional busts in the field. The process saves the project time and money by eliminating the possibility of reworking items in the field.

“Creating high-functioning, detailed models increases the opportunity for prefabricating materials offsite,” Tuffo adds. “This process improves the quality of the materials by allowing the tradesman to work in a controlled environment, promotes onsite safety by minimizing the required tradesman to perform the task, and allows the team to maximize the space onsite by utilizing just-in-time delivery.”

Today’s projects being designed by world-renowned architects have made for larger and more complex builds. Tuffo says, “Because of the complexity of the projects, the use of innovative technologies and qualified individuals has never been greater.”

Meeting Construction Demands

Moss’ Desharnais attributes the employment rate in South Florida to the area’s strong construction market. “The job growth rate in the tri-county area is about 3%, while the national rate is 1. 9%. With a strong job growth rate, we are going to attract more people to South Florida, thus an increase in population; statistics indicate a 6.5% population increase over the past five years,” Desharnais says.

Yet, construction workforce supply remains an industry-wide concern, as demand is outpacing the current supply of skilled labor.

“The more complex designs we’re seeing today require a high level of skill from our trade partners (subcontractors),” says Suffolk’s Tuffo. “The convergence of a hot market and increasingly complicated projects is stretching the South Florida market, but it’s also allowing for dynamic change in the skyline.”

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