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Retirement villa addition

image Phase 2 of Buckner Villas known as Greenridge West

AUSTIN - When Buckner Retirement Services Inc. was looking to construct phase two of the Buckner Villas, they wanted a general contractor with extensive experience in the construction of senior living projects.





    Founded in 1968 by Luther Hill, Hill & Wilkinson General Contractors were more than qualified for this project. With offices in Austin, Lubbock and Dallas/Fort Worth and an employee base of 300, Hill & Wilkinson General Contractors and their 50 years of extensive experience in automotive, aviation, critical care facilities, food and beverage, healthcare, higher education, hospitality, K-12 education, manufacturing, multi-family, municipal, office, parking garage, performing arts, religious facilities, retail, science and technology, senior living, sports and recreation, and warehouse and distribution made choosing Hill & Wilkinson a logical choice.
     Buckner Villas Phase Two is a new 69-unit, five-story addition to an existing independent living facility totaling 130,000-sf. Hill & Wilkinson also renovated 15,000sf of the existing public space in the existing facility throughout the project.
    Concrete podium deck and wood framing were the primary construction materials used on the project. Spanish style architecture with a stucco façade and clay tile roof completed the look of the Villas. Interior finishes included multiple high end fixtures, including a fully landscaped podium deck courtyard, large conference and meeting area, high-end custom millwork accented with hand-made and ceramic tile.
    The existing building transformer was located within the new building footprint. To start the project, Hill & Wilkinson had to closely coordinate with their energy service provider and facility management to relocate the existing building power supply. “We did this transfer in August, when all AC/lights/ elevators in the existing building needed to be shut down while the power transfer was made. We were able to accomplish this transfer by closely coordinating shut downs with Austin Energy, the City of Austin & Facility Management. Shut downs were done in the middle of the night to minimize impacts and were limited to four hours or less,” recalls Zach Sienkiel, one of Hill & Wilkinson’s project managers on site.
    Phasing of the occupied renovation was particularly important. The Hill & Wilkinson team divided the renovation into three EA phases to allow the building occupants to remain fully occupied throughout construction. This included keeping the kitchen that serves the entire property operational and food delivery options intact. They were able to successfully navigate this challenge by keeping open lines of communications throughout the project with both facility management and residents, holding monthly meetings with residents to explain the current construction progress and the upcoming phases.
    Similar to most projects going around Texas right now, finding adequate qualified labor was a challenge. In particular, electrical contractors were in short supply during this project. The Hill & Wilkinson team was able to take advantage of their connections through their Dallas/Fort Worth relationships and bring in an additional 15-20 qualified electricians for about three months to keep the project schedule on track.
    Building in an occupied assisted living facility and tying the new structure to the existing were unique aspects for this project. Additionally, the courtyard on top of the podium deck, fully landscaped with trees and vegetation was a challenge. Landscape selection and materials were critical.
    “Through this project we were able to strengthen our relationship with a great, repeat client and continue our successful relationship with architectural firm, D2 Architecture LLC. The owner was very accommodating and understanding through the ever-changing construction environment. The architect was able to help through various coordination issues ranging from new-to-existing building tie-in to multiple tricky waterproofing conditions,” agrees Project Manager Danny Elmore and Superintendent Bob Sharp.
    Hill & Wilkinson is a full-service general contractor in Austin, TX. –cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net