Starnet Member: Universal Metro
Starnet Preferred Vendors: ARDEX, C/F Data Systems, LLC, RFMS, Spec-Intel
Design is contingent on a lot of factors. Beyond the pretty finishes, there is an overarching effort to create a better world for people to connect and experience life. As the world changes, so too does a buildings use, and when we consider design, so often, we take the final product for granted, discounting the structural and core improvements that are necessary to make the eye-catching elements possible. That's where this project fits in. In the mid-1980s, this jobsite was the epicenter of a new mall design, complete with luxurious department stores. Today, it's being repurposed for high-end commercial use and mixed used development.
With the help of some of the original concrete subcontractors from the 1985 ground-up build (who served as PMs on the project), Universal Metro's team fully leveraged the expertise and capacity of its ARDEX LevelMaster Elite Installer certification by providing a comprehensive solution to self leveling and concrete preparation needs on this Core and Shell project. While not much to look at (yet), this project commanded all hands, providing over 19 truckloads (with 18 pallets of material on each truck) of ARDEX self leveling underlayment to this jobsite for what would translate to nearly 6 full weeks of continuous preparation and pumping.
One Westside epitomized Universal Metro's partnership with ARDEX Americas.
This 65,000 SF Core and Shell project originated when Universal Metro's team cruised by a large construction project and ventured into the construction trailer for an introduction. He did so just as Division 3 scope was being reviewed for this department store conversion. What followed was the strategic deployment of Universal Metro's resources.
First, UMI's leadership team collaborated and got in the trenches with the sales and estimating team to offer a comprehensive approach, offering hundreds of years of combined expertise and showcasing to the Prime Contractor our understanding of scope, our capacity, our financial strength, and partnership commitment from ARDEX. In doing so, we took a critical look at the schedule, the capacity of the pump equipment that would become necessary, and the depth of the specified pour to determine how to be most cost-effective without compromise to the specification. Then, with the support of distribution partners and ARDEX, we explored how collectively we could all win with our involvement.
As our Account Manager developed his new relationship with the concrete subcontractor, he quickly validated Universal Metro's standing as an ARDEX LevelMaster Elite Installer – a crucial component in the specification. We affirmed expertise with thorough RFIs, detailed estimates and live scope reviews, and incorporated ARDEX’s team, fully utilizing the technical support both locally and nationally as the details of the scope were unpacked.
Our Account Manager controlled the sale, checking in early and often to get in front of the scheduling impacts of COVID, new restrictions being passed down, and supporting his new client’s challenges as they navigated unforeseen changes, unique installation circumstances, and pandemic-related scheduling constraints. All the while, we worked with ARDEX to align equipment logistics and explored material contingencies as the world wrestled with supply chain limitations.
When site elevations were reviewed, there was a dramatic difference between the specified depth of pour and the actual needs. With ARDEX's help, we determined the best utilization of the product, minimizing its usage at existing high spots and maximizing its range in the deepest pours. By modeling this with heat mapped shop drawings, we were able to visually showcase to the prime contractor, the concrete subcontractor, the architect, and designer where the biggest pours would be concentrated, identify our material needs as a result, and provide cause for the change in scope and added costs to follow. This limited questions about execution and refocused attention around “salt and pepper” design for this customized concrete pour.
Once the first of 19 truckloads began to arrive on site, the ARDEX team offered on site training to get ARDEX’s pump operational and ready for approximately six weeks of continuous pumping and pouring. The team felt confident and supported as ARDEX's team shared the nuances of effective communication (clearly identifying what is happening at both ends of the pump - like measuring product consistency on one end of the 200' pump so that water levels can be adjusted at the pump, where the product is mixed). Just as the team was hitting its stride, the pump broke down unexpectedly. This was the first of three untimely mechanical issues, but fortunately, with ARDEX's local and national resources standing by to help, we felt supported as our Account Manager and Project Managers bought time in the field and with the client. ARDEX expedited parts and personnel to be on site within a matter of days to get things up and running once more. Their efforts to get the pump operational each time was crucial to the project’s overall success.
When all was said and done, the finished floor was delivered on time and within contingency budgets. The end result was a beautiful, polish-ready surface finish. Both our client (a General Contractor acting as the concrete subcontractor) and the prime contractor were thrilled with the result, opening the door to future opportunities with both.