A total-precast concrete structural system will help kick off a three –phase construction program for the Prospect Plaza in the Oceanhill-Brownsville community of Brooklyn. The project, owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), is being developed under the city’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, a multibillion-dollar initiative to finance 165,000 units of affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers.
“We are excited and very proud to be a part of this important New York community project and partnering again with Blue Sea Development Co., which is committed to building green and sustainable communities and homes,” says David Wan, chief engineer at Oldcastle Precast Building Systems, which is fabricating the precast concrete components.
The structures will comprise hollowcore prestressed concrete slabs and precast concrete slabs, beams, interior and exterior wall panels, solid slabs, and stairs and landing. Many of the exterior panels will feature embedded thin brick to add visual appeal and texture.
The precast concrete components will be used to construct four-story walkup apartment buildings, townhouse-style buildings, and a 5½-story elevator building. Oldcastle also will be supplying a prefabricated composite-metal panelized wall system for the building’s exterior. It includes shop installation of windows within the prefabricated system.
The $140-million redevelopment plan for Prospect Plaza contains three phases of construction, comprising construction of new housing facilities, development of open spaces and community facilities, and creation of retail space. It will create 148 units in all, totaling 42 NYCHA public-housing units and 106 low-income affordable-housing residences. The program replaces the remaining vacant towers in the existing Prospect Plaza development. The development team include Blue Sea plus Pennrose Properties, Duvernay + Brooks, and Rosenberg Housing Group (Blue Sea & Partners).
In all, Oldcastle is producing 125,220 square feet of components. “Oldcastle has been a reliable partner supplying high-quality products to Blue Sea Development for many years,” says Les Bluestone, co-owner of Blue Sea Development. “We look forward to working with them on Phase 1 of the project.”
Construction Expedited with Modular Bathroom Pods
As part of that scope, Oldcastle’s Modular division was certified as an off-site fabricator to supply 117 modular, fully outfitted bathroom pods for the housing facility. The pods are manufactured and outfitted in the company’s Orlando, Florida, facility.
The pods are set onto the precaster’s hollowcore plank that helps to make up the building’s structural framing, which includes slabs, exterior and interior wall panels, beams, stairs, and landings, all of which were fabricated in the company’s Albany, New York plant.
These bathroom pods are outfitted with a vanity with a millwork piece above it for attaching accessory hardware (toothbrush holder, etc.), bathtub/shower, toilet, lighting, heating ducts, , towel racks, and tiled walls with two designs along with painted areas and tiled floors. “The bathrooms come fully outfitted with whatever combination of pieces the designer requires,” explains Bill Seery, managing director of business development at Oldcastle SurePods. “We customize the pods to their needs.”
Once the pods have been set into place on the hollowcore plank, they are hooked into prepared utility hookups. “The connections are very quick, just like hooking up a dishwasher,” Seery says.
Typically, a level of precast concrete structural framing is set for four apartments, then the bathpods for the next level’s units are set into place the next day. Approximately 30 unites can be installed in an eight-hour shift, Seery estimates. “The work moves very quickly through setting the plank and grouting the joints, then returning the next day to set the pods and erect the walls adjacent to them.”
The process greatly accelerates construction and ensures a high-quality installation at an off-site location that provides efficient installation and minimizes safety concerns and congestion on the site. “They’re really a game-changer for accelerating construction for affordable housing,” Seery says. He estimates this process saved at least two months in the construction schedule.
The developer was happy with the way the pods helped speed construction. “Oldcastle Precast Building Systems has been a reliable partner supplying high-quality products to Blue Sea Development for many years,” says Les Bluestone, co-owner.
The system also works well with other types of modular residential designs, especially low-rise hotels and motels that also are being designed with total-precast concrete structural systems, notes Chris Fowler, regional manager of engineering at Oldcastle. “The benefit of using these modular technologies together accelerates the construction schedule, provides a safer job site, and provides a sustainable, quality product.”