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.


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.

Structural Steel Erection Brings Upper Level Retail to Life

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Steel crews are working seven days a week for the erection of the frame of the northern upper level Retail Center. All of the columns are standing and as much as 70% of the joist and girders have been set in place. On the southern end of the project over 240 pieces of precast concrete are standing. We are starting to see the outline of the ramp to the loading dock as well as the southern parking deck.

With the competition of all remaining drilled piers for the project, earthwork grading operations move forward and the site begins to take shape. Utility crews are busy with completing underground piping and spillways, while other crews hang storm water piping under the parking deck. Water main installation is ongoing. Fire sprinkler crews as well as underground electric work has also progressed.

Our team has completed two of the heavy duty topping slabs at the loading dock as well the last upper retaining wall. They now are concentrating their efforts for atrium foundations. This includes elevator, escalator, cartveyors and shopping cart lift pit construction.

Standing Structural Steel at the Northern Retail Center

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We worked through Labor Day, when eight truckloads of structural steel were on their way from Alabama for arrival at 7:00 am Tuesday. This marked a new phase of construction for our northern retail center.

With a multi-story building, our crew required a 100-ton capacity crane to hoist equipment to the second level to begin installation of the structural steel. Other developments around the site include:

  • Steel is inventoried and “shook out” to its location for future erection.
  • MEP crews were busy with overhead rough-in of utilities.
  • Fire sprinkler contractors were added to our onsite team.
  • Precast Crews continued hoisting the 50,000 pound and over loads of concrete into place at the southern end of the project.
  • Caisson crews near complete of their work with less than 10 units remaining.
  • Concrete Crews poured footings for the upper and last retaining wall.
  • Earthwork crews progressed with underground utilities and rough grading of the site.

Phase 2 of the Precast Structure Taking Shape

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With the precast structure on the northern retail center/parking deck complete, crews move to the lower elevation of the southern retail center. Loading docks and ramps for the area appear with each new section erected.

On the northern end of the project, our last topping slab of the elevated deck has been completed and approved to start steel erection next week. Our next elevated pour will be in the loading dock area. Down below in the northern parking deck, our last “light duty” slab on grade concrete paving pour has been completed. Concrete test have confirmed strength that has allowed the beginning of our overhead rough-in of utilities.

Caisson work on the southern lower area of the project is now complete and concrete crews follow with the last few remaining pier caps. Both drill rigs have now move to the upper portion of the parking deck area. Overall, blue skies and no rain have been a blessing.

*The first image you see above is from our live web cam, which you can visit at here.



Precast for Southern Retail Center Moves Forward

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With the completion of the precast on the Northern Retail Center, crews concentrate their efforts to the southern end of the project. Concrete crews are working in several areas and levels of the project. The last leveling slab pour was completed on the upper level of the Northern Retail Center. Our first loading dock pours scheduled for next week.

Down below at the Northern Parking Deck level, all light duty slab on grade work is complete except for the final pour schedule for early next week. Caisson installation at the southern end of the project has only two lower level piers left to pour. We have relocated one of the two drill rigs to the upper level of that work area. In total, only 21 of the 315 remain.

Utility work progressed with the installation of additional sewer main and lower level storm water piping. Electrical crews were also busy with underground primary and secondary power conduit installation.

Pouring Concrete Before Sunrise

Knoxville Collage 1Knoxville Collage 2Concrete pours at University Commons started before sunrise this week due to the hot weather conditions, afternoon showers and heavy traffic both onsite and on the roads to University of Tennessee. With this schedule, we have completed more than 100, 000 square feet of leveling slabs at the second level of the Northern Retail Center. As one pour is completed, crews are putting their finishing touches on rebar needed for the next pour.

Below at the parking level, preparations move forward for our first “slab on grade” concrete pour. We hope to pour  in this area each day next week. On the southern end of the project, we completed concrete pours on two critical retaining walls needed for backfill to achieve footing elevation for our last retaining wall system. Grading for future roadway and slab on grade work also progressed, as well as installation of site sanitary sewer system. Pier caps were also poured for future precast installation for the Southern Retail Center.

It seems that every direction you look activity abounds.


Precast for Northern Retail Center More Than 90% Complete

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With close to 680 pieces of precast concrete standing at the northern retail center and parking deck, we are very close to completion of precast in that area. Final pieces will be set into place at the beginning of next week, and final welding and detailing will be completed.

With the completion of one activity another begins. Concrete crews placed reinforcing steel and completed formwork. With approved inspections released, the first of seven leveling slabs will be poured on the elevated deck. Our goal is to pour every other day until these slabs are complete. These slabs are scheduled to be completed and curried by the end of August, which will allow structural steel erection to began.

On the south end of the project, footings were formed and poured for two other retaining walls. Forming crews followed and our goal is to pour these wall early next week. Utility crews were busy installing the large storm drain piping system that will carry rainwater from the roof if the large retail centers. Grading crews were busy placing the fill required for the southern retail center slabs on grade, while caisson crews moved forward with drilled piers that will support the elevated portions of that building.