THE SUR CLUB: SPARKING CHANGE IN ST. PETERSBURG’S CONSTRUCTION BOOM

ST. PETERSBURG, FL

Summary

Component Quantities: Developer:
Phillips Development and Realty, Tampa, FL

350,000 square-foot multifamily build
4’x8’ ForceField® Panels
Roof System:

ForceField® Seam Tape Plus, AT Flashing, Flex Flashing Tape, and Corner Seal

Key Companies:
General Contractor: Capstone Building Corporation, Birmingham, AL Architect: Reese Vanderbilt and Associates, Atlanta, GA

The first plan isn’t always the best. That’s what the development team behind the new Sur Club multifamily project has come to know. But with some foresight, a little extra research, and willingness to improve, you can make the best plan into a completed success.

This was the case when the contracting team at Capstone Building Corporation decided to substitute for a better, integrated sheathing with a water resistive barrier and air barrier on a luxury multifamily job and wound up saving a lot of time and budget in the process.

 

A SIGN OF LOCAL GROWTH

In the burgeoning Skyway Marina District of St. Petersburg, FL., stands the framework for the soon-to-be Sur Club luxury multifamily apartment complex. At about 350,000 square feet, the new build will feature nearly 300 units, two courtyards, two pools, volleyball courts, amenity spaces, and a parking deck.

St. Petersburg is seeing a large residential construction boom for the city’s size and comparative history. As anticipated, many new developments have centered around the city’s downtown, but the expansion is happening throughout

the city. The Sur Club development signals additional significant expansion throughout the city, with this particular development being on the waterside Skyway Marina District (off the scenic Boca Ciega Bay reserve).

Reese Vanderbilt and Associates (a design and architectural consulting firm based in Atlanta, GA) designed Sur Club’s one-, two-, and three-bedroom units and mixed-use space
to feel like a permanent resort staycation. For Phillips Development and Realty (a real estate development company headquartered in Tampa, FL), the plan is to offer an affordable high-end residential location close to Florida’s Gulf beaches, downtown St. Petersburg, and the many attractions in Tampa. Capstone Building Corporation (a premier general contractor based in Birmingham, AL) was then responsible for bringing these plans to fruition in the best way possible.

"Just like everybody else, when they see something different, they start asking more questions. So, we had to submit a lot of data to our structural engineers and design team showing that this is just as good as what you guys intended to go in the building. And it certainly helps that Georgia-Pacific is in the sky everywhere."
‒Kory Klein, Vice President and COO at Scissortail Building Supply

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT

The original design called for strictly structural sheathing, OSB, and traditional building wrap, which the build team intended to do until word of ForceField® Weather Barrier System came along. At that point, a change order was made to specify the integrated sheathing that simplifies the approach to achieving a continuous building envelope.

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 are treated with a seam tape, removing the need to use a separate house wrap at all. The beauty of it all is that eliminating this extra step saves both time and labor costs—ultimately lowering the total installed costs. So, it’s easy to see the instant appeal in making the material change.

Hubert Proctor Jr., Senior Superintendent with Capstone Building Corporation, says he first learned of ForceField® Weather Barrier System from his company’s estimating department when they flagged the opportunity to make the change, saving time and money on the $50,000,000 Sur Club project.

After hearing that, Proctor was on board to investigate, and he was tasked with convincing the rest of the project team to sign off on the change.

“We build apartments all over the country, so we use a lot of products from Georgia-Pacific. I got a phone call from the vice-president of estimating, and he said, hey, we want to use this product. What do you think? And I started my classes on ForceField and here we go.”

Proctor spent quite a bit of time looking at videos, reading, researching, and talking with Georgia-Pacific’s sales representative. Getting through the submittal process proved to be the biggest challenge, simply because project members initially feared the change.

"If we take advantage of any day—one day, two days—out on a job site, this is just like gold."
‒Kory Klein, Vice President and COO at Scissortail Building Supply

With the help of Georgia-Pacific’s educational information available, Proctor was able to show the design team that substituting ForceField Weather Barrier System for the sheathing, air barrier and water-resistive barrier would prove equal to—and better than—the original project plan. “I had to do a lot of other research to make them comfortable enough to say yes. And then I had to convince the owner, as well.”

Convincing the property owner proved incredibly easy after making a strong case for time and cost savings. “The way I told it was, ‘You’re going to get the same exact thing that you would have if you had just OSB and Tyvek. It’s going to be a lot cleaner job. And I’m going to save time.’” Proctor explained. “And when you say, I’m going to save time, usually the owner’s antennas go up.”

Proctor concluded, noting that this project was the first time anyone at Capstone has used ForceField Weather Barrier System on such a large scale. There were understandably a few bumps at first in figuring out how best to undertake the installation process, but Proctor says it quickly and easily smoothed out.

“It was a learning curve for all of us at the beginning. But right now, everybody is taking it and running.”

After making the change himself, Proctor sees no reason for others not to do the same. And now that his team has used it, they see the opportunity to suggest and incorporate ForceField Weather Barrier System for other future projects easily.

 

MAKING THE CHANGE PAID OFF

The time savings really showed in the project schedule, enabling the team to save days of onsite construction time and begin on next steps in the building process. Above all else, they were able to dry in the building faster than when using other waterproofing options.

“We’re saving a ton of time on schedule versus doing traditional house wrap. The product is easy to work with.
It’s simple. It’s no different than putting OSB on a building,” Proctor says. “I was honest when I sold the team on the cost savings, because it does save me a lot of time.”

Another welcomed benefit of switching to ForceField Weather Barrier System was reduced mess on the job. By eliminating the need for house wrap, the team no longer had to worry about high winds blowing off the wrap or risk water damage to the exposed structure.

Weather and installation conditions also played a role in the decision to switch—particularly given the constant winds
his team faced in the jobsite’s region. Proctor went on to explain, “Right now, I’m able to set windows and start my interior infrastructure quicker than I ever thought I would. And I wouldn’t have done that if I was using a building wrap. It’s when you can start the next step that you start saving time.” He cautions patience, adding, “You can’t expect to see that time in the first week when you start. But when I stretched the schedule out and went back to see where I gained all the extra time, it’s because I was able to start sooner than later using this system.”

One last time savings benefit that Proctor clocked was regarding inspection. Considering that many parts of the country require inspections both after the OSB sheathing and after the building wrap is complete, ForceField may eliminate an entire inspection from the process.

“I’m going to have my first inspection next week on this first portion of the building,” he notes. “And guess what? I just eliminated one of those inspections. So, I’ll have them all in one inspection.”

On reflection, Proctor is convinced the key to a successful build is time, labor, and cost savings on the job—which is only possible with the best tools at your disposal. And if you aren’t provided those tools up front, put in the work to ensure you get them. It’s not as difficult or as daunting as it may seem.

“I could have the best of everything for a project, but if I don’t have something that’s going to save me time, it’s not really the best. So, what’s best for us out here is that we stay on schedule.

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