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CAGC Pinnacle winners enhance the Carolinas construction industry

Carolinas Associated General Contractors (CAGC) has presented the 2016 Pinnacle Awards to four construction projects which enhance their communities, and the “Build with the Best” Pinnacle Award to an individual whose partnership with the construction industry helped pull South Carolina out of mass turmoil.

The association says pinnacle entries are judged on unique aspects and challenges, special values, project management, budget and schedule, and safety performance. For detailed information and photos visit the CAGC Pinnacle Awards page.

Best Building Project $5 Million and Over:

chapel ceiling inspection
Chapel Ceiling Inspection — from Duke University

Duke University Chapel Restoration, Durham, NC
General Contractor: Romeo Guest Associates, Durham, NC

The Chapel at Duke University is a unique sight standing tall among Durham, North Carolina’s skyline. The successfully-met goal of this intricate restoration included retaining the overall appearance, elegance and majestic nature of the building while enhancing and updating the building’s structure, materials, systems and technology.

The scaffolding alone was a maze of metal and walk-boards which provided exceptional levels of safe travel and work areas. It included a work platform known as the “dance floor” which provided a stable platform for ceiling work and a barrier of protection for those below. To retain the roof’s historic appearance, the same lead-coated copper roofing was used, and each panel had to be customized. Inside, falling mortar meant that each of the 2000 joints had to be removed to full depth of the limestone, and then replaced with an advanced, more flexible mortar material. All the wood components—every nook and cranny—had to be hand-cleaned and then hand-rubbed to ensure consistency in color, protection and finish. This work (in addition to much more!) all had to be done while protecting the 11,600 pipes and working components of the Chapel’s organ to ensure beautiful music would forever resound throughout the Chapel.

Best Building Project Under $5 Million

deese clock tower
Deese Clock Tower Illuminates Center Campus (North Carolina A&T State University)

The North Carolina A&T State University Deese Clock Tower, Greensboro, NC
General Contractor: W.C. Construction Company, Winston-Salem, NC

The Deese Clock Tower, named for benefactors Willie and Carol Deese, blends traditional masonry using concrete, steel and glass with state-of-the art sound and LED lighting. It reflects historical greatness while combining detailed workmanship, a complex design, and state of the art multi-faceted components. Topping the tower is an amplified electronically simulated carillon system which provides rich sound quality that rivals even the best of church bells. The carillon housing also allows for wind to pass through, adding to the stability of the tower. And in true North Carolina A&T spirit, the tower’s lighting system illuminates in school colors of blue, gold, and white.

Through value engineering, W.C. Construction determined that certain exterior finishes, which would have added cost to the University’s bottom line, could be removed from the design without compromising value to the overall project. A big challenge was the 12 foot by 12 foot workspace—crews had to be stationed on equipment lifts and scaffolding on a very small footprint while constructing this 85-foot tower. Work was completed on time, under budget, with no compromise whatsoever to the safety of students and onlookers.

Best Highway-Heavy Project $5 Million and Over

NDOT Fayette Outer Loop
Fay Outer Loop U2519DA-flyover (Image from NDOT)

The Fayetteville Outer Loop, Cumberland County
General Contractor: Barnhill Contracting Company, Rocky Mount, NC

Interstate 295, also known as the Fayetteville Outer Loop, is a vital bypass which alleviates traffic congestion once confined to a road that went directly through Fort Bragg military base. More importantly, the Outer Loop provides greater security for the men and women of the United States Airborne and Special Operations who call Fort Bragg their home. The Outer Loop also connects Fort Bragg to Interstate-95, ensuring easier and more effective deployment of troops and military equipment from the base.

This project faced many would-be schedule setbacks, including: the discovery of archeological significance, which lead to a full investigative dig; two separate police investigations relating to a dead body and a missing person; and a devastating tornado. Yet, the Fayetteville Outer Loop was still finished with little delay and a clean safety record, thanks to the proactive team of Barnhill Contracting and their partners.

Best Highway-Heavy Project – Under $5 Million

bridge arete structures
The bridge under construction (Photo from Arete Engineers)

The FRP Bridge on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, Blowing Rock, NC
General Contractor: NHM Constructors, Asheville, NC

The bridge, located on the Mountain-to-Sea trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Blowing Rock, NC, was a seemingly small but mighty project which came with some unique aspects and challenges. Previously, hikers wanting to access the Mountains to Sea Trail had to wade through a creek—and those who had physical disabilities found it hard, at times impossible, to cross. The installation of this bridge has already added great value to the community by allowing all hikers, no matter their physical limitations, to cross the creek safely.

The biggest challenge of this project was the site itself. Materials either had to be flown in via helicopter or hand carried about a mile from the road to the site. Given the landscape and terrane, safety was a vital aspect of this job. Daily safety meetings included all jobsite workers learning CPR (given the time it would take for emergency personnel to reach the sight if there were to be an accident); and briefings such as “what to do if the wind blows objects from the aircraft” and “what to do if tree limbs are knocked down by incoming/outgoing loads.” The bridge was completed with no accidents—not even any ‘near misses.’

Build With The Best Award

Christy Hall, South Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary, was awarded the Build with the Best Award for her leadership during the 2015 South Carolina flooding.

Christy Hall
Christy Hall

In October 2015, more than a trillion gallons of water dumped on the state within a 48-hour period, washing out roads and bridges throughout the beautiful Palmetto state. Hall and her team quickly engaged numerous contractors to assist in emergency repairs and to help with clean-up and rebuilding efforts. During the peak of the storm, 541 roads and bridges were closed statewide. Just one month later, only 80 were still closed—and by the busy Thanksgiving travel week, those 80 remaining road closures had reopened.

The pre-planning, coordination and leadership that Hall and her team put in place allowed them to effectively manage this major catastrophe and keep the state moving forward. Congratulations to Christy Hall and her team at the South Carolina Department of Transportation!

The CAGC Pinnacle Awards competition is co-sponsored by CPA firm GreerWalker LLP and the law firm of Johnston, Allison & Hord. The Pinnacle presentation was made at CAGC’s 96th Annual Convention in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

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