In today’s news, we look into the proposed new research and academic facility and the revitalization of the Parnassus Heights site to keep moving forward. The pandemic boosted the demand for modular construction. ONP Management and RRI have devised a novel offshore wind farm building model to enable the first gigawatts of US Atlantic projects to be constructed. On Tuesday, all 50 states got the final go-ahead to start building a network of charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) along interstate roads.

Design and site improvements at Parnassus Research and Academic Proceed

Original Source: Parnassus Research and Academic Building Design and Site Improvements Move Forward

Plans to develop a new research and academic building and revitalize the Parnassus Heights site continue to gain steam.

The UC Board of Regents granted $66 million in financing on Sept. 22, 2022, to build on the project’s early design concepts. The additional funds will be utilized for working drawings, construction, and a more detailed site plan.

UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, said the new cash helps develop design plans that address community requirements. The Regents approved the Comprehensive Parnassus Heights Plan in January 2021.

An innovation hub

PRAB will provide new research, academic, and teaching space as part of UCSF’s 30-year plan to revitalize the Parnassus Heights campus. The PRAB will highlight campus renovations on the west end, with a new hospital proposed for the east.

Dan Lowenstein, who spearheaded the transformation of Parnassus Heights, said the new research and academic building is crucial to fostering UCSF’s collaborative creativity. Reimagining a space for UCSF’s community to innovate is a goal as we work to advance global health.

UC Hall will be replaced. UC Hall, the university’s first hospital, is seismically and operationally antiquated. PRAB will have modern wet and dry labs, offices, and equipment with sustainable building design. The building will include immunology, cancer, microbiology, diabetes, and cell biology research, as well as Baker ImmunoX, CoLabs, iMicro, and the Benioff Center for Microbiome Medicine.

The PRAB will feature the School of Nursing and upgraded graduate learning facilities, enabling more opportunities for faculty-student cooperation.

As we prepare the next generation of health care professionals, we must build connections that encourage innovation across disciplines, said Catherine Gilliss, dean of the UCSF School of Nursing.

Community Benefit

In addition to the PRAB, Parnassus Heights will expand public open areas. Plans aim for walkable, appealing streetscapes, street-level stores and cafés, new vistas, and a publicly accessible promenade.

The “Park to peak” strategy will enable increased access from Golden Gate Park to Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve and trails.

UCSF supports the local economy. The January 2021 agreement between UCSF and the City and County of San Francisco included more housing options, employment creation, traffic mitigation methods, and agreements to maintain open space.

Francesca Vega, vice chancellor of Neighborhood & Government Relations, said, “As part of the Parnassus Heights community, we are committed to creating and strengthening our relationships with our neighbors.”

Pandemic Speeds Up Modular Construction

Original Source: Modular Construction Technology Comes Far and Fast During the Pandemic

Six years ago, 461 Dean Street in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights opened as the nation’s tallest modular apartment building at 32 floors. The 363-unit tower was beset by delays, lawsuits, leaks, and contractor disagreements for four years.

Despite 461 Dean’s difficult history, low-rise modular construction has grown swiftly in the Western U.S. and Canada, serving locations with detached homes and three-story apartment buildings. Some cities and states are engaging modular builders to offer temporary homes after hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes. According to the Modular Building Institute, modular accounted for 5.5% of North American building starts last year, or $200 billion.

Supportive housing, hotels, resorts, apartments, detached homes, senior living facilities, office buildings, and factories all utilize modular construction.

During the epidemic, rising labor costs and tighter supply chains boosted demand for modular solutions. Most modular contractors purchase and assemble sinks, tiles, toilets, walls, and appliances at a factory before shipping them to a construction site.

Some initiatives entail moving entire rooms or apartments on a flatbed truck. Many modular contractors construct walls that can be packed flat on smaller trucks and joined on-site.

Using pre-assembled modules and panels can accelerate building construction, saving time and labor expenses. Modular reduces the burden of ordering finishes, fittings, and construction supplies on general contractors and subcontractors.

Plant Prefab CEO Steve Glenn said his company uses both panels and modules for multifamily structures.

“Modules reduce time, lower labor expenses, and weather delays,” he said. Shipping modules is costly. It’s redundant. Because of this, multifamily developers can’t maximize apartments and floor layouts. They are like prefabricated panels. Panels provide a framework for beautiful design solutions. Panels save on construction and irrigation, but cladding, drywall, and paint must be done on-site.

Plant Prefab employs panels for areas with fewer finishes and utility lines, like garages, corridors, bedrooms, and living rooms.

Glenn says Plant Prefab has two solar-powered modular plants in Southern California. The new, larger factory will be able to produce 800 units each year, up from 25 to 35. Plant Prefab raised $30 million from Gerdau, the Amazon Alexa Fund, Obvious Ventures, and Paris Ventures in 2021.

Four-story buildings are the company’s tallest. Recent projects include 16-unit student housing in Berkeley, Calif., a 6-unit townhouse building in Atwater Village, 38 single-family homes near Lake Tahoe, and 31 A-frame cabins at Winter Park Resort in Colorado. Plant Prefab’s greatest project to date is in Moab, Utah: 100 rental and for-sale townhouses.

Assembly OSM’s Andrew Staniforth wants to attack high-rise engineering head-on. The Forest City Ratner alum worked on 461 Dean Street and joined Assembly, a modular construction firm. Assembly finished its $38 million Series A investment round in July, backed by Fifth Wall’s climate tech fund.

The company will target 10- to 30-story structures in New York. Staniforth is exploring projects in L.A., the Bay Area, and St. Louis.

The Assembly intends to differentiate itself by constructing taller and employing aeronautical and automotive technology.

Architects developed and modeled 461 Dean Street, he said. “We drew the structure years ago, and the factory built it. These sketches only captured 30-40% of the information. Instead of Revit, we utilize Catia. Boeing and Tesla use it to develop their planes and autos. So we can be exact and avoid scope gaps. “

Assembly also brought in Boeing, SpaceX, and Tesla engineers to help develop and manufacture 461 Dean’s modular units. The company uses numerous suppliers for specific fixtures and full modules, which helps it negotiate supply bottlenecks or delays prevalent since 2020.

Staniforth noted that if something goes wrong, the project may continue with a different steel or bathroom provider. American Assembly has a tiny assembly facility in New Jersey, although it only assembles modules or panels before shipping them.

He remarked, “We get a complete bathroom instead of a pipe, a tub, and a toilet.” “Our factory merely clips everything together”

Staniforth claims that modular construction is cheaper and uses less concrete and steel. Their modular projects would have a lower carbon footprint than a mid- or high-rise building using standard concrete slabs and steel framing.

Staniforth: “In today’s interest rate climate, delivery speed is crucial.” “The faster you finish building, the faster you can repay your high-interest loan.” So, reducing a project’s construction time by 30 to 50% can reduce its entire cost.

SHoP Architects’ modular construction startup isn’t the only one. Wayne Norbeck and Jordan Rogove recently created Liv-Connected. Similar to Plant Prefab, they propose to employ “component-linked construction” (CLiC). They ship modular kitchens, bathrooms, porches, walls, even headboards. CLiC can be enlarged to three or four bedrooms or stacked to make a three- or four-unit townhouse.

Norbeck and Rogove are working on disaster-relief homes in Texas and Maryland; senior living cottages in Pennsylvania; and upstate New York eco-resorts. The 500-square-foot “Conexus Home” starts at $150,000 and may be expanded to numerous units. The Via has configurable finishes and exterior wall and roof options. This model costs $90,000.

Rogove says you can choose interior colors and place an order. You save on hiring an architect. We love that we can offer a design kit to a bigger audience than as architects. We condense as much coordination as possible. Theoretically, you could finish anything in six months instead of two or three.

Atomic, a DXA facility in Lititz, Pa., builds live event sets.

Rogove used to design MTV Unplugged and VMAs sets in Lititz. During the pandemic, 200 employees were bored. So he suggested tiny dwellings.

The pair are also customizing tiny homes and cabins for seniors and people with mobility issues.

“We enjoy the idea of aging in place and being able to alter counter heights,” said Rogove. Joe Wheeler, a Virginia Tech architect, has created adjustable countertops and toilet seats for the elderly.

They believe their hybrid approach to modular housing will help them avoid the difficulties of 461 Dean Street.

Norbeck: “When shipping a module, it was roughly the size of a truck.” We offer additional possibilities because we ship in pieces. When volumetric ones leave the manufacturer’s with precision, they may torque or shear on a truck or boat.

Staniforth found that alignment issues tend to worsen when modular components are stacked.

“If each [modular] box has a 1/8-inch tolerance, you compound that over floors,” said Staniforth. If each mod is off by 1/8 inch, it can compound across 30 storeys, causing facade and plumbing issues.

New offshore wind proposal to unclog US bottleneck

Original Source: New-look offshore wind construction concept floated to uncork looming US bottleneck

ONP Management and RRI have launched a revolutionary offshore wind farm construction model to enable developers to build the first gigawatts of projects in the US Atlantic.

The so-called Feederdock, a U-shaped crane vessel that can dock tug barges shuttling jackets, blades, and nacelles from coastal yards to site, is expected to be “25-30% faster” than competing feeder solutions, installing up to three ultra-large turbines every two days.

European marine contracting heavyweight Tractebel Overdick designed the jack-up with a 3,000-tonne crane and 182-meter hook height to handle 25MW turbine components in 70-meter waters. The tug barges are planned to be built in America to comply with the Jones Act, which requires US-flagged and -crewed vessels between US ports.

It’s a Jones Act-compliant global installation concept. Other feeder barge models require multiple lifts to transfer components [to the installation vessel], while ours just “parks” and then jacks up [as one]. Andy Geissbuhler, RRI managing partner, told Recharge before the launch that it eliminates time-consuming uncertainty.

“We intend to have it ready by 2026, when the huge construction wave [off the US east coast] hits.” It will be port-independent, meaning tug barges can pass under bridges or not. It’s an efficient approach, 25-30% faster than alternative models.

For example, with this system, tug barges might travel up the Hudson River [in New York] and collect components from multiple vendors, then carry them to a coastal port for staging and assembly. This gives developers great flexibility, Geissbuhler added.

ONP Management and RRI acquired shipyard capacity to create a first feederdock fleet within four years. “US-based global asset manager” finances the concept’s development.

“This system allows all your components to be in separate areas but shuttled to the jack-up, which is constantly installed.” Geissbuhler called it a better use of time.

ONP Management managing partner Martin Rahtge said, “Our experience in the design, construction, and operation of heavylift installation vessels, including [DEME’s] Innovation and Vol au Vent, demonstrates our ability to serve the development of this game-changing project and ensure a successful project realization.”

“All our lessons learned are incorporated into Feederdock and benchmarked with the industry.”

The American Bureau of Shipping “accompanies” the project to examine and class the vessel before launch, having granted “permission in principle’ in 2020.

There is only one conventional wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV) under construction for the US market, the Charybdis, which has already been chartered for construction campaigns on the Revolution and Sunrise projects off Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and then off Virginia for the giant 2.6GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind mega-project.

Geissbuhler said, “There is a general understanding that the industry must move quickly to feeder solutions [due to the lack of WTIVs], but the solutions currently anticipated in the market have a massive disadvantage when it comes to the actual transfer of components at sea, from floating barge to jack-up – risky, complicated, and time-consuming. Our solutions avoid this.

The US Biden administration set the “national goal” of having 30GW of offshore wind plants operational by 2030, but the industry has a monumental task in reaching this target due to a near-nonexistent industry supply chain, an aging onshore power grid, and running battles with other ocean-operating industries, chiefly the fishing sector.

States get OK to create EV highway charging networks

Original Source: States get final OK to build highway EV charging network

Car buyers: new charging stations are coming to highways near you.

All 50 states obtained final approval Tuesday to begin building a network of EV charging stations along interstate roads, part of the Biden administration’s goal to promote zero-emission cars.

The Transportation Department approved EV charger plans from 17 states, releasing $1.5 billion in federal funds to all jurisdictions nationwide — or $5 billion over five years — to install or upgrade chargers along 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometers) of highway from coast to coast, with a goal of 500,000 EV chargers nationwide. This month, plans for 33 states and DC were authorized.

By year’s end, drivers could witness extensions and modifications to current highway EV stations in California, Colorado, Florida, and Pennsylvania that contain at least four fast-charger ports, allowing EVs to fully recharge in approximately an hour.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg: “America led the original automotive revolution in the last century, and… we’re poised to lead in the 21st century with electric vehicles.” He said the initiatives will “guarantee that Americans from the largest cities to rural towns can harness the savings and benefits of electric automobiles.”

The clearance is a key step toward wider acceptance and use of electric vehicles among consumers, who are hesitant about EVs’ lower range and restricted public chargers. President Biden wants 50% of new U.S. automobile sales to be electric by 2030, and his government advertises new tax credits of up to $7,500 to make electric vehicles more accessible. States cite problems such as a lack of electrical grid capacity, supply chain limitations, and equality concerns in their five-year plans for an EV network.

Texas, California, and Florida think their grid can handle a million EVs, but other states aren’t so sure.

As charging facilities and EVs become more common, capacity will become a challenge, New Mexico noted.

Unmanaged or unplanned EV charging might lead utilities to expend large sums to maintain grid resilience and challenge grid operators. Some sites “may also require intensive system modifications and buildout.”

Mississippi claimed EV charging station equipment shortages “may cause major disruptions.” Several states were worried they couldn’t get American-made charging stations.

New Jersey officials said it might delay implementation by years.

Under Transportation Department rules, governments must initially focus on pricey fast chargers on interstate routes that cost $40,000 to $100,000 to install, rather than homes and villages with cheaper Level 2 chargers that take a few hours to charge.

80% of electric vehicle owners charge at home, mostly single-family homes. But that will change as less wealthy people without garages buy EVs.

Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure plan offers $2.5 billion for local funds to bridge charging network gaps in rural and poor communities, which are less likely to buy electric vehicles or have charging stations nearby. The FHA said Tuesday it will start accepting applications later this year.

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we have discussed the revitalization of the Parnassus Heights site as well as the development of a new research and academic building, which are both to proceed to gain steam. Modular construction has been in demand during the time of the pandemic as it saves time and accelerates labor on building construction. ONP Management and RRI have introduced an innovative concept for the construction of offshore wind farms. This concept will make it possible for developers to construct the first gigawatts worth of projects in the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Biden administration’s plan to promote zero-emission cars is to establish EV charging stations along interstates. On Tuesday, all 50 states have given the final clearance.