Oklahoma City, OK
Developers who rely on merely comparing upfront material costs when determining budget savings can easily miss the big picture—leading to a less-than-successful result once the property is developed. To determine true cost savings, it’s important to evaluate holistically: looking for savings everywhere from materials to labor to schedules and more. For the team developing Liberty Creek Village, a multi-family apartment community, one of the greatest sources of overall budget savings came from a material with a higher initial price point that reaped bigger time and labor savings overall.
AN EASY DECISION
When Oklahoma City’s Gardner Tannenbaum Holdings—a real estate development, design and construction management firm based in Oklahoma City—brought on Rader Building Company of Edmonds, Oklahoma, to oversee general construction for their upcoming Liberty Creek Village multifamily building project, the contractor was tasked with completing construction on time and under budget. Local Gardner Studio architects had drawn up building specs without specific materials manufacturers named—simply calling for a traditional OSB with house wrap— which left Rader open to shop around for their preferred choices.
Liberty Creek Village, an upscale alternative to home ownership with an $80 million estimated worth, includes 51 total buildings (45 residential), and 516 apartment doors. So, when Kory Klein, Vice President and COO at Scissortail Building Supply, mentioned the potential budget savings in choosing ForceField® Weather Barrier System, the build team took notice.
“We identified possible cost savings in switching from traditional OSB and house wrap to Georgia-Pacific’s ForceField Weather Barrier System,” said Klein, who was tasked with finding the cost- effective solution. Whereas most decision makers simply nit-pick the spreadsheets to try to get the cheapest products, both Scissortail and Rader were most interested in the end result.
Three main benefits sold Rader’s Vice President of Construction, Cody Edmonds, on choosing ForceField Weather Barrier System: 1) ease of installation (particularly in the use of seam tape compared to other brands’ offerings), 2) compatible product offerings in a fully integrated system (including tapes and corner piece assembly for fenestrations), and 3) Georgia-Pacific’s customer service.
Ideal for residential, multi-family and light commercial construction, ForceField Weather Barrier System consists of engineered wood sheathing panels with an enhanced overlay and accessories that provide a continuous air and water-resistive barrier.
The panels install just like standard OSB or plywood sheathing, and when the panels are treated with a seam tape, the system completely eliminates the need to use a separate house wrap. The beauty of it all is that eliminating this extra step saves both time and labor costs—ultimately lowering the total installed costs. Once this was explained, the team was instantly on board, purchasing 538,000 square feet as of publication (more than halfway through construction).
The biggest cost savings opportunity on this project were in the human hours of installation supervision and making sure it’s installed correctly. Whereas other tapes require more nuanced rolling and addititional tools to get all the bubbles out and lay
flat without creases, ForceField Weather Barrier System applies with hand pressure—when pressed hard enough to see the wood grain through to the adhered side.
“The guys like the fact that you can tear the seam tape, instead of cutting it. With the ZIP Tape, the guys just want to slap it up with
their hand, but it doesn’t work that way. That’s one of the main issues we’ve run into,” Edmonds said. “Either way, both systems are faster and easier than house wrap, and it doesn’t blow off in the wind as much. When we’re leaving these open for 30 to 60 days getting windows and other finishes on, sometimes the house wrap has blown off down the street.”
Despite never setting boots on the ground at their customers’ worksites, Scissortail Building Supply always tries to consider labor when making supply recommendations. It is not just about looking at the price point at the moment of sale, but rather considering the entire installation process and longevity of the product in use.
“With other products, it seems like a 50/50 chance that it’s actually going to roll. And so, if you can take that step out of the process, it’s just going to be easier for everybody,” Klein said.
“It’s less equipment on the job site. And one less thing for the superintendent to double check, just being able to place the tape, apply a little pressure and move on.”
Edmonds said that, in his experience, ForceField Weather Barrier System does speed up the installation process. “I’d say that taping in the ForceField system is much quicker than the standard house wrapped install.”
Aside from the time saved from the hassle of rewrapping the building envelope, ForceField Weather Barrier System also proved faster on the job. “A lot of the guys will put up the ZIP, then roll all the joints,” Edmonds explained. “A single hand application of ForceField saves the extra action of having to go back through.”
He added that, although this particular project includes nine different building types with variations in design, the windows widths and heights were all very similar from a sheathing standpoint. One thing this meant, however, was more inside corners to assemble and seal. Here, ForceField Weather Barrier System’s corner application came in handy.
“If you’ve ever tried to tape an inside corner and watch a guy on a job site actually try to tape an inside corner with an integrated weather barrier system or do it yourself, you understand,” Klein explained. “It may add a little cost on the front end. But when you’re able to cut that piece, pop it in there, run a piece of tape down each side and walk away, it’s sure is a lot easier than trying to fold that piece of tape in half and getting in that inside corner. For us, the real advantage is ForceField Weather Barrier System’s inside corner transition detail. I think GP has done a good job of identifying that and coming up with a solution.”
UNMATCHED CUSTOMER SUPPORT
Klein praised his local Georgia-Pacific sales rep, Scott Collingwood, for his partnership in this project’s development every step of the way. Two onsite install meetings, product knowledge meetings, multiple contractor visits to fully explain the product’s manufacturing and ideal usage and a ready response to any needs along the way have left Scissortail Building Supply more than confident in ForceField Weather System brand support.
“Scott has been instrumental in helping us. We all knew that if Rader ever had a problem and couldn’t get ahold of us, they had their GP manufacturer sales rep’s number,” Klein assured. “The overall customer service experience for us is one of the best that we’ve had.”
And as the coronavirus pandemic reality set in and worldwide manufacturing and distribution delays started to become
the new normal, the team took it in stride—planning, setting contingencies, and reworking schedules, making as informed decisions as possible. Georgia-Pacific’s customer support has been with them every step of the way.
“There’s been a lot of hurdles because of so many unknowns. We’ve had things slow down, speed up; some job sites have stayed open while others closed down. And no matter what’s happened, we’ve still been able to get product to our job sites from Georgia-Pacific,” Klein said. “Not to mention, it’s a lot easier being able to just rely on one manufacturer for the entirety of the project.”
MONEY IN THE ENVELOPE
For Edmonds, this first experience using ForceField Weather Barrier System has been a success. Based on the current completion rate on this project—slightly more than halfway done—he estimates 1-2 days of labor saved on each building. And for a project with more than 45 separate buildings, that will add up. He notes they’ve been able to skip ahead to get electricians, mechanical, and plumbing in once they’re dried in early.
“It’s an overall added value and time savings to the project,” he notes. “Over the course of the project, it could save us roughly 45 days of construction time by using ForceField Weather Barrier System over a traditional house wrap.”
Not only would Edmonds recommend using ForceField Weather Barrier System again on his projects, but he also plans to share its usefulness with architects and general contractors to write into building specs in the future.
“If you’re not wanting to go the traditional house wrap route,” he encourages, “this would be an easy solution to save time and money and move the job forward quicker.”
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