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Facing Down Mother Nature at Country Club of Virginia

Posted on July 29, 2013 in Blog

7958-Low-Res1The Country Club of Virginia (CCV) is a private club in Richmond, Virginia that was created in 1908 with the construction of their Westhampton Golf Course.  It now includes three 18-hole courses, facilities for swimming and tennis, and a historic clubhouse at their main facility near the University of Richmond.  It has been a paragon of member service and exclusivity for over a century, and was host to the U.S. Amateur Golf Tournaments of both 1955 and 1975.

CCV came to us to renovate and expand their Aquatic Center. The project required demolition of all existing pool areas, construction of over 10,000 square feet of indoor space, and a design that blended seamlessly with the features of their existing clubhouse facilities.  The project had to provide for quality construction with the least amount of disruption to the pleasure of their members.

The scope of the project presented some immediate challenges. Each pool was to be on a steep slope along the changing elevations on which CCV is situated. Additionally, the project site had no laydown or staging area – meaning it could only be fed from one side of the site. Limited shoring was used to meet budgetary constraints, requiring a stockpile of more than 8,000 cubic-yards of backfill material.

No amount of staging or planning could mitigate the one factor beyond our control:  the weather.  Weather related construction delays are a consistent challenge.  Virginia has experienced above-average rainfall this summer and continues to present challenges on current construction projects.  During the 406-day CCV project, we experienced 182 days of precipitation. That’s 45% of the project duration, and 39 days more than the five-year NOAA average. This was on a project where 75% of the work was exposed to the elements.

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Overcoming these challenges (on time and on budget) required exceptional effort and coordination between all parties involved – contractor, subcontractor, design team, and owner.  Strategic planning was a must.  We were able to start construction on the upper pool, two lower pools, and locker room quickly by placing the backfill stockpile on one of the other pool sites.  We used two separate construction entrances to maximize our access, and in lieu of pouring pool decking immediately, we deferred it to the end of the project – allowing us to ensure quality and keep temporary road access as long as possible.

To overcome the problematic weather, the construction team used poly sheeting to cover large parts of the project.  They had to be able to mobilize and demobilize quickly and efficiently to take advantage of weather conditions, all while keeping CCV and its members mud-free.  KBS had a team of project managers (including our CEO) who were at the site daily, and each morning and afternoon an inspection confirmed that we were on target to meet time and budget requirements.

Thanks to careful planning and the hard work of everyone involved with the project, we were able to deliver to CCV the first-class Aquatics Center they desired.  Working long hours, weekends, and often in the rain paid off as the owner of CCV showed his appreciation with a delivery of fresh baked cookies.  As we neared completion, CCV celebrated with a delicious lunch for the construction team.  Lessons learned during our CCV project have better enabled our teams to stay on schedule at other sites despite Mother Nature’s best attempts to stall us.

William Harris of The Country Club of Virginia said, “The ability of your team to coordinate the work of so many trades within a challenging site is amazing. I cannot imagine working with a better contractor on the project.”