Abnormally Cold Weather Has Been A Challenge

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With temperatures falling as low as O degrees, and wind chills ever lower, weather has been an obstacle for all concerned the last few weeks. Even so, progress has been made in the following areas:

 Northern Retail Center:

  • Insulation and sheetrock is near completion on the exterior walls
  • Internal wall framing near 95% complete – awaiting wall-in coolers and freezer
  • In-wall MEP rough-in at 90 % Complete
  • Sheetrock work inside of front, rear and bathroom areas to start next week (exterior walls at 98% complete)
  • Installation of permanent light fixtures on sales floor – 60 % complete
  • Sprinkler system at main building – 89% complete
  • Exterior ramps – forming for concrete pours next week
  • EFIS ongoing but delayed by weather
  • Brickwork ongoing – delayed by weather
  • Atrium framing and sheathing – ongoing – should complete next week
  • Ground level atrium floors poured

 Southern Retail Center

  • Steel erection and decking of main building – 98%
  • Coring drilling for plumbing and electric build-out ongoing
  • Atrium foundation installation – ongoing
  • Block work – near completion at main building
  • Brick work – ongoing – delayed by weather

Shops B and B1

  • Steel erection – near completion
  • Stud framing – ongoing

Shops C

  • Steel erection ongoing
  • Underground MEP to start next week

Shops A

  • Foundation work started this week

Parking Deck and Ramp

  • Forming of final pedestrian wall ongoing


A Burst of Activity at UC Commons – Knoxville

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With the holidays and the arctic blast that brought snow and temperatures near O degrees is behind us, the pace of work has picked up.

On the northern retail center:

  • Framing and roof deck of the high atrium progressed.
  • Brick masons are making progress, revealing part of the finished façade.
  • EFIS crews have start at the rear of the building.
  • Concrete crews are forming ramps at doorways.
  • Interior wall framing moves forward.
  • In-wall MEP rough-ins are ongoing.
  • Overhead MEP rough-ins are nearing completion

Lower retail shops:

  • At the 2 level retail (shops B), steel erection crews are busy installing metal decking on both the roof and the second floor.
  • Steel is arriving for shops C and E.

Southern retail center:

  • Steel erection has started inside the block outer walls.
  • Brick crews are setting up scaffold for the brick veneer.
  • Concrete crews are working at the rear of the building completing formwork for the concrete pour of the loading dock area.

Rising to New Heights

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Production during the holidays can be difficult, but our crews have worked hard, taking only a few days to spend with their families. On the atrium of the northern retail center, the tall roof metal truss system was set in place. This set the top elevation of that building 70 feet above the ground floor. The final stud framing will reach an additional 7 feet.

On the ground floor, concrete crews were busy forming for the atrium slab-on-grade pour. Steel crews are back onsite and have started erection of the frame work for the second level.

On the southern end of the project, masons moved forward laying block for that major retail center. Steel erection is scheduled to begin the week after New Year’s. Concrete crews also poured the first of two concrete handrails at the ramp to the rear of the project. Work inside the project has include the completion of the topping slab for the northern retail center. Stud walls are being installed as well as in-wall and overhead MEP rough-in.


Rooftop Units Lifted Into Place

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Due to the unique design of our project here in Knoxville and the limited access about the building structures, special equipment was required for the placement of the roof top equipment. Calculations by the design engineers confirmed that the elevated precast loading dock would not safely bear the extreme point loads required for placement of the roof top units. With these limitations, the HVAC units required a 250-ton capacity crane to set their unit. The refrigeration equipment required a 350-ton capacity crane. This was not due to any special weight of the units, but the reach required to set them in place.

Inside the northern retail center, upfit contractors began:

  • Framing of the internal stud walls.
  • Moving forward with ductwork installation.
  • Installation of the sprinkler system.
  • In-wall rough-in of utilities.

On the southern retail center block, crews are busy erecting the external walls of that structure. At the ramp to the rear of the building, all sidewalks have been poured and crews started forming for the cast-in-place barrier walls. Under the retail building, utility crews moved forward with underground piping.


Thanksgiving Chill in the Air

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This week, unseasonable cold weather has settled into the Knoxville area, requiring special efforts by our team. Our masons used hot water for their mortar mix and tarped their scaffolds to hold in heat and protect freshly laid block/brick. Concrete crews surrounded the lower level atrium with a curtain system, adding heaters and special blankets to protect freshly poured upper level concrete.
At the main level of the northern retail center, final topping slabs are being poured. These floors will be polished for the final finish. The multi-story design of our project requires that the subslab be covered with insulation before the topping slab is poured. This will provide a thermal barrier between the conditioned upper level and the parking area below. A special polyethylene slip sheet is installed as a bond breaker between the insulation and the topping slab.
At roof level, crews are busy with installation of a TPO roofing system. Our HVAC contractor is making ready for the roof top units, which are scheduled to arrive soon.

A Buzz of Activity

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Crews have been very busy the last two weeks in all locations of the University Commons project. On the southern retail center and adjacent shops, over 69,000 square feet of topping slab were poured. The precast bridge support beams were also set this week, so the outline of the connecting road from our project to the Joe Johnson Bridge can been seen.

At the northern retail center, work included:

  • Masonry contractor busy erecting scaffold to start block and brick work.
  • Roofing crews arrived this week and materials were hosted to the top of the second level.
  • Atrium structural steel framing and decking was also completed.
  • Metal stud and sheathing work progressed  and exterior walls are all but complete.
  • Interior work include overhead MEP rough-in
  • Preparation is soon to start for the pour of the final topping slabs.

Next week we will pour 1 of the 4 remaining concrete pours for the ramp to the elevated loading dock areas. This will make access much  easier to our multi-story project.

Precast Erection Complete

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The 250 ton capacity crane has been set to rest and the line of trucks hauling 60,000 pound concrete beams and double tees has ended. The precast erection of the southern retail center floor and parking deck is complete.

Concrete crews now begin their task of preparing the area for the leveling slab for the southern retail center. Loading dock ramp precast is also complete and we are preparing for the pour of the topping slabs and walls.

On the north end of the project, steel erection is complete for the main building with roofing operation soon to start. Entrance atrium steel erection is ongoing.

“Closing In” a Building

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With the metal roof decking near completion at the northern retail center and the exterior wall’s metal stud framing well underway, the building is closing in. Inspections were held today that released application of wall sheathing on the face of the building. Out front, foundations have been completed for shops C and excavation of shops B foundations is well underway. Foundations are complete at the northern atrium, and utility crews are busy with underground power conduits for the elevator and escalator/Cartveyor machine rooms.

At the rear elevated portion of the project, we have completed our third concrete pour over the precast and the fourth pour is scheduled for Monday morning before sunrise. In the parking deck level, roof drain piping installation is ongoing. Grease traps are also being installed for shops C and B.

On the southern end of the project, precast crews have erected more than 450 pieces, creating the parking deck and subfloor for the southern retail center as well as the elevated ramp system to the back loading docks.


New Views Of Our Progress

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As our Project here is Knoxville is expanding in all directions, it is difficult to show progress from just one viewpoint. This week we went to special locations to allow views from many different angles.

Our northern retail center is closing in with rooftop metal decking, exposing well over 125 skylights that will allow the use of natural light in the finished product. Exterior stud walls are enclosing the perimeter of this section of the project, which reveals the size of their structure. On ground level, forms are set for the final pours of shopping cart elevators pits.

On the Southern end of the project, more than 375 pieces of precast stand for that area of the parking deck and the southern retail center. Final inspections have approved pouring of the 3rd elevated topping slab of the loading dock truck ramp and dock turn around at the rear of the project. Foundations and underground utilities for ground level shops C and B also progressed this week.

Site utilities move forward with the installation of electrical power main feeds as well as building tie-in of storm water, fire water and sewer line.


More than 320 Pieces of Precast Standing at Southern Retail Center/Parking Deck

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Precast crews were very busy this week and we now have more 320 pieces of precast standing in the lower level of the southern retail center. The crane will move to the upper level of the building pad next week as they move towards the front of the building. At the northern retail center, structural steel crews were release by inspectors to start decking of the building. Our goal is to have all roof decking laid by the end of next week.

Concrete crews were working in two areas this week. They are currently preparing for our third elevated topping slab pour at the southern loading dock and truck turnaround. Our second crew was making good progress on the northern end of the project with atrium foundations, including spread footings for structural steel as well as elevator, escalator/cartveyors and cart lift pits.

At the parking deck ground level, electrical crews are pulling wire for parking deck lighting. Under the parking deck plumbers move forward with installation storm water piping.