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A few words about Capsys in ‘Building and Construction Northeast’

 
Article by Kathryn Jones
‘Building and Construction Norheast’
 

Few, if any, companies can say they built a luxury hotel in less than one year, but that’s exactly what Capsys Corp. of Brooklyn, N.Y., did in 2005. The 30-unit Harborfront Inn features oversized soak­ing and whirlpool baths, spacious showers with floor-to-ceiling porcelain tile and body jets, and balconies overlooking the Peconic Bay and Shelter Island.

Modular construction enabled the 25,000-square-foot Harborfront Inn to be erected on short schedule, Capsys Gen­eral Manager Bill McShane says. “We produced the [51] modules in about four months of production,” he recalls. “The construction process took eight months.”

Each module is constructed at Capsys’ Brooklyn factory and designed to interconnect when welded together on site, essentially fitting together like pieces of an enormous jigsaw puzzle. Once that process is completed, contractors put on the exterior finishes and perform mech­anical, electrical and plumbing connections that are fed between the modules.  

“We typically get involved during the schematic design process and become an integral member of the project team,” McShane notes. “One of the things that sets us apart – even from other manufacturers that do similar work to what we do – is our knowledge and ability to work with the general construction, architecture and engineering industries closely to understand the way the building will be built, while incorporating our efficient manufacturing process in with that.”

Although standard field construction con­tinues to be the most popular building method, the advantages to modular build­ing are many, McShane points out. For instance, each of the modules is thick-sided, fully enclosed and 90 percent com­pleted before it is delivered to the job site. 

“Being able to construct these units within a factory environment offers a level of supervision and quality control that is unmatched in field construction,” he says. “Within the 300 feet of our production line, we are able to monitor and oversee everything from welding of the structural steel frame to the electrical wiring and routing of plumbing piping to finish of the dry wall and installation for cabinets, doors and hardware.”

Constructing the modules in an en­closed factory environment prevents common field construction hindrances such as poor weather conditions, vandalism or theft. “As a consequence, a modular construction project can be completed much faster,” McShane remarks. 

“The fact that site work, such as putting a foundation in, can be done simultaneously as we’re producing the modules means the time spent completing the building is compressed greatly,” he adds. “As a side note, our attention to detail and our in-house value-engineering and estimating allow us to give very solid pricing early on in the schematic design phase.” 

Green and Cutting-Edge

Modular construction has become in­­creasingly popular in a troublesome eco­n­omy where owners want a quick return on their investments and seek to have buildings constructed as soon as possible. As a result, modular buildings are still in demand, even in a recession. “Currently, we’re involved in building a large amount of affordable housing,” McShane notes. 

Brooklyn’s 330 MacDougal Street is a 65-unit supportive housing project for Concern for Independent Living, a fit group focused on providing housing support for the needy in New York City and Long Island. The six-story, 29,850-square-foot structure utilizes the latest advances in construction techniques, which is something McShane says Capsys is known for. “We pride ourselves on being up to date and knowledgeable about building codes and regulation, upcoming technology and innovations in energy efficiency,” he states. 

For instance, 330 MacDougal Street features energy recovery ventilation and photovoltaic technology for significant reductions in energy consumption. “The construction industry as a whole is moving into the sustainable lifestyle, but modular construction has been green all along,” McShane says. “Our meth­ods and materials used, and our overall process reduces the impact on the environment greatly.”

Capsys has produced ENERGYSTAR townhouses and LEED Silver buildings, and often incorporates green building components such as geothermal pumps, energy-efficient lighting fixtures, low-VOC materials, low-flow plumbing fixtures and composite insulation systems. 

“Some of the materials we use in our modules – which are steel-framed, non-combustible modules – are inherently recycled,” McShane says. “As a company, we actively recycle all of our waste gypsum board, waste steel and cardboard packaging. We’ve been doing this as a regular course of business, not as a reaction to the green trend nationwide. It’s just the way we do business.”

Located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Capsys was founded in 1996 by Pres­ident Nick Lembo to build Nehemiah II, 700 homes for the Nehemiah Housing De­velopment Fund Co. The company’s unique approach to this project earned it the “Build New York” and the U.S. De­p­ar­tment of Housing and Urban De­ve­l­o­p­ment’s “Innovation in Housing” awards. However, its use of modular construction posed a unique challenge in that it built homes faster than land could be­come available, McShane says. 

“In the interim, we started doing other projects ranging from townhouses to multifamily buildings to hotels,” he re­calls. “By the time we finished those 700 homes, we were already specialized in a number of different project types.”

Capsys continues to pace itself and seek new applications for modular construction to ensure that it will continue to operate efficiently when the housing market improves.

“I see student housing as a market that is not as susceptible to the ups and downs of the overall housing market,” McShane says. 

“Because of the speed and efficiency of modular construction, we are able to meet the needs of a client when they need student housing built in a short period of time. We actually have a design that is flexible and already prepackaged for residence halls; we can go from an initial concept to completion within 12 months – I think that’s unmatched anywhere in the construction industry.”

http://www.buildingandconstruction-northeast.com/index.php/sections/profiles1/342-capsys-corp

A Ribbon Cutting Officially Opened The MacDougal Street Apartments

June 1, 2012, 7:00 a.m. EDT

Concern For Independent Living Opens The MacDougal Street Apartments, a New 65-Unit Supportive Housing Project in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

 
 BROOKLYN, N.Y., June 1, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Concern for Independent Living, a leading nonprofit provider of supportive housing, held a ribbon cutting today to officially open The MacDougal Street Apartments, bringing an innovative supportive housing development and more than a dozen new jobs to the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.The project was made possible by support from the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH), NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, Astoria Federal Savings, Richman Housing Resources, and New York City.The 65-unit MacDougal Street Apartments is located on the site of a former residential program for adolescents, which closed in 2005. The buildings on the property remained vacant and boarded up, becoming a neighborhood eyesore until the property was purchased by Concern in 2008. The vacant structures were demolished to make room for a newly constructed six-story building.Built using modular construction techniques, The MacDougal Street Apartments is the first of its kind in New York State. Eighty-four modules were constructed off-site at Capsys Corp.’s manufacturing plant at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and transported to the project site for “stacking” on the building’s foundation. This technique quickly transformed the property into a residence with 65 studio apartments for low-income individuals recovering from mental illness. The residents include formerly homeless individuals and persons exiting OMH’s state residency system. All units are wired for high-speed internet access, cable and telephone. The building features multiple lounges, a computer room, exercise room, dining hall and outdoor gardens.When Concern purchased the site, they promised to improve the neighborhood by developing an attractive building that is an asset to the community; increasing employment opportunities; encouraging the stability, self-sufficiency and productivity of adults living with mental illness; and increasing affordable housing opportunities for disabled men and women. This project has succeeded in achieving all of these goals.”When you remove an eyesore building, replace it with beautiful housing and create 18 new permanent jobs, there is good reason to celebrate,” said Ralph Fasano, Executive Director of Concern for Independent Living.

“The MacDougal Street Apartments does all of that as well as create a beautiful and supportive living environment. I want to thank our partners in government and our not-for-profit and for-profit lenders for making this dream a reality,” he said.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner/CEO Darryl C. Towns said, “The measure of a society is how it treats those who are most vulnerable. Under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, HCR is working within the Medicaid Redesign Team to find better ways to address the medical and social issues of Medicaid’s highest-need clients. Supportive housing has been shown to improve the overall health and well-being of these individuals, helping advance their independence through stable and safe environments. We are proud to be part of the MacDougal Apartments project and part of transforming the lives of the 65 people who will call it home.”

Office of Mental Health Commissioner Mike Hogan said, “Housing is a basic need for everyone. For people with mental illness, safe, decent and affordable housing is the foundation upon which recovery is built. Concern for Independent Living has demonstrated an ability to operate outstanding supported housing services. With this project, Concern will help start 65 more individuals on that path to recovery.”

The total development cost for The MacDougal Street Apartments was $21.7 million. Financing included 4% Tax Credits issued by New York State Homes and Community Renewal, a grant from the New York State Office of Mental Health, and an Affordable Housing Program grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.

Concern for Independent Living, Inc. is a nonprofit agency committed to helping low income persons and persons with disabilities to live in the community with dignity and enhanced opportunities through the provision of housing and support services. Concern is one of the largest housing agencies of this kind in New York State, currently serving approximately 700 individuals and families in over 200 locations. Concern offers a variety of housing options with individualized support services designed to support personal growth and independence.

Contact: Ralph FasanoExecutive DirectorConcern for Independent Living, Inc.631-758-0474rfasano@concernhousing.org

SOURCE Concern for Independent Living, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

 
‘The Wall Street Journal Market Watch’; “Concern for Inpdependent Living Opens The MacDougal Street Apartments, a New 65-Unit Supportive Housing Project in Crown Heights, Brooklyn”; June 1, 2012;

Building 92

A premier NYC construction manager recognizes the use of modular construction as an innovative construction technique.  Capsys is pleased that Plaza Construction has featured the use of modular construction in a presentation of the Building 92 project.

 Building 92 – YouTube Video

 

Modular Construction to be considered for new Cornell Campus on Roosevelt Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cornell out to push construction frontiers

3:46 pm, May 24, 2012

BY SARAH TREFETHEN

 

Cornell hopes to deliver four new campus buildings by 2017, if funding and costs work out as hoped.

When the Bloomberg administration set out to bring a new applied sciences campus to the five boroughs, the goal was to introduce a source of innovation that would help New York City’s economy remain competitive in the 21st century.

Now, as Cornell University moves forward with plans to construct a $2 billion engineering campus on Roosevelt Island, innovation remains the project’s watchword.

That trailblazing philosophy will extend to awarding construction and design contracts for the planned two million s/f on new space, according to Kyu Whang, the university’s vice president for facilities service.

Modular, pre-fabricated construction is “absolutely” an option for the project, Whang told attendees of NAIOP’s “Building the Future of New York City” forum earlier this month.

“If it’s an innovative way to do construction, then certainly we’ll consider it on our campus,” he said, responding to a direct question about the controversial practice of staging some construction work for a project in an off-site factory.

Modular building is still uncommon in New York, but Forest City Ratner plans to start construction on the world’s tallest pre-fabricated steel building in Brooklyn this year.

Whang’s comment was in keeping with one of the themes that emerged during the morning-long event, held overlooking the World Trade Center construction site: the idea that New York City builders are out of date.

Seth Pinsky, chairman of the Economic Development Corporation, said that the city’s building methodologies were “decades behind” other cities in the world.

Even by national standards, New York construction may be too slow and costly to attract some industries, said Pat Di Filippo, executive vice-president of Turner Construction.

Di Filippo described the pressures of time and efficiency faced by a major technology company like Apple or IBM (a Turner client) when launching a new product.

“Construction, facilities — those are just a drag on the bottom line,” he said.

Fast, efficient building is one of the things Cornell will be looking to accomplish on Roosevelt Island.

The Ithaca-based ivy school is contractually obligated to deliver two buildings by 2017, but it has a more ambitious goal. If funding and costs work out as hoped, Whang said, Cornell hopes to complete four buildings by that deadline.

Cornell is looking for a developer to enter into a partnership to construct its second Roosevelt Island building, a research and development facility. That developer will need to be comfortable with Building Information Management (BIM) software, Whang said.

Construction professionals are not the only people Cornell wants to push into new frontiers. Architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis is designing the first piece of the campus, a 150,000 s/f, net-zero energy academic building.

Mayne, who was behind the Cooper Union academic building at 41 Cooper Square, is expected to deliver the first design drafts in November 2012.

The university expects the design to break from the academic tradition of long corridors of offices and classrooms, and instead create a building of open, collaborative space with very few private offices, Whang said.

While resistance from tenured faculty can prevent universities from experimenting with floor plans, Whang said, there is an advantage to launching a completely new academic program on a completely new campus.

“We’re building the building before we have the faculty,” he said.

 

‘Real Estate Weekly’; “Cornell out to push construction frontiers”; Sarah Trefethen; May 24, 2012;

http://www.rew-online.com/2012/05/24/7243/;

Greenflex Residence Hall System

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cars are built in a controlled environment and are customized to meet the end-user’s needs and requirements.  At Capsys, with our Greenflex residence hall system we apply the same concepts!

We start with the basics; what are the student housing requirements, what does the school need and when do they need it?

 We go to the next step; what is the culture and what are the features we need to incorporate into the Greenflex system?

 We finalize a plan; let’s combine the requirements, the schedule, the culture, the features and of course the budget. 

 A plan is born;  All this done and the Greenflex design becomes unique but budget and schedule conscience!

 We get it done!  That’s the end result, the Greenflex system from Capsys gets the job done!  No need to worry about where the students are going and what the cost is, let’s do it together with this innovative Greenflex system!  It’s built to your needs, based upon your budget and on your schedule!

Cautious Planning in Sustainable Design

Sustainable and environmentally friendly materials and methods are permeating the industry rapidly.  Capsys has fully embraced these concepts from our beginning; but with any new technology and ideas endurance is determined by performance.  At Capsys we strive to embrace the methods that will stand the test of time, always cautious of what is a fad and what is tried-and-true.  Some examples of our dedication:

Right-size the equipment – The Capsys engineering team always verifies that we are installing the appropriate mechanical equipment.  Oversizing equipment leads to not only additional costs upfront but also short-cycling and reduced efficiency.  Getting the correct size equipment means higher efficiency and lower overall costs and consumption, its proven and we embrace it!

Seal the gaps – Such a tremendous source of heating and cooling costs come from air infiltration, if a building is properly sealed and the design accounts for occupant health then we have a healthy building, person and energy budget.  We make sure to account for not only the cost of conditioning but also the health and comfort of the people living inside the building.

Indoor air quality – The environment inside the building is paramount to the health and productivity of the occupants, we don’t take all the buzzwords and just follow them, we actually make sure the job is done right.

Education – Talking about sustainable design doesn’t do anything, acting on it does!  Capsys ensures that each of our team, from project management to installing professionals understands WHY we are doing something, when people understand the reason for a measure they take extra care in providing and ensuring its effectiveness.  Always keep everyone from the designers to the end-users informed, it does make a difference!

The Mothership Has Landed

It’s a great day here at Capsys and even better if you need to use a rest room in Greenpoint.

We just delivered and set our 600 sf prefabricated comfort station to the Greenpoint Playground in Brooklyn, NY.

Check out some pictures from today’s setting!

Let us know what YOU think.  Does the city need more public restrooms?

Modular Construction “Down Under”

It’s always a treat for us to read about how another country has adopted modular construction to tackle their own unique construction requirements. The following article is from the Australian web site “Construction Source” and was authored by John Rouvalis who is an Associate Director with the international Engineering company the Meinhardt Group. In it, John urges his peers to discover and to fully appreciate all of the attributes that modular construction can bring to a project.

http://designbuildsource.com.au/exploiting-modular-construction

Setting of Nehemiah Spring Creek Phase III

 The third phase of a multi-phase affordable housing project in the East New York section of Brooklyn.

 

 

Please join Capsys and members of the NYC Development Community on April 26, 2012 for a discussion on the future growth of the Modular Construction Industry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate Construction Management Program and the Real Estate Synergy Club will be hosting an event entitled “OFF-SITE CONSTRUCTION & MODULAR HIGH-RISE” to be held at The Shorin Performance Center @ The Kimmel Center on the NYU campus at 600 Washington Square South, NY, NY on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 7:30 AM.

The event will include breakfast followed by a panel discussion featuring prominent members of the New York development and construction oversight authorities, representatives of the Modular Building Institute, members of the Sustainable construction consultancy community as well as members of the Capsys management team.

As Sasha Durcan, one of the event’s organizers puts it:  “The global construction and development industries have embraced “one of the oldest new ideas” with Off-site & Modular High-Rise Construction.  Advances in parametric modeling and digital fabrication have significantly advanced off-site building capabilities.    Modular design can now substantially reduce schedules; create efficient labor, material and cost savings; improve quality control and worker safety; as well as easily contributing to sustainability goals.”

So, please join the Capsys, along with the NYU Schack Institute CMAA Chapter, the Real Estate Synergy Club, members of NYU Stern, NYU Law and NYU Wagner schools, as well as industry stakeholders, to discuss current challenges and solutions in the Off-Site & Modular Industry. 

This event is free to the public.

For more information as the event evolves, please check in often at the event BlogSpot linked below.  We look forward to seeing you there.

http://nyumodular.blogspot.com/