Fire Protection Case Study

Case Study: Magnificent Mile Parking Garage

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Magnificent Mile Parking Gets Safer

The Shops at Northbridge is a bustling shopping experience that brings tourists in for a sweet treat at Sugar Factory or a new outfit at Nordstrom.  Hundreds, maybe thousands of cars are in and out of the parking garage at 10 East Grand Avenue each day.  They need to be protected, so F.E. Moran Fire Protection, Northern Illinois (FPN) was hired to install fire protection in the 11-story parking garage and an adjacent 2-story parking garage - while remaining open.  The challenges of working in an open parking garage were real, but they met the difficult task head on and the project ended successfully. 



Two Parking Garage Projects with No Closures

The project was challenging on multiple levels.  Both, the 11-story and 2-story parking garage remained open during the entire project.  This made coordination and scheduling especially important on this project. 

The project schedule was very aggressive.  FPN was awarded the project in mid-August and needed to complete it before Thanksgiving when the shopping rush would begin for the holidays.  Not only did FPN need to coordinate with having parts of the garage open at all times, they also needed to maintain a tight deadline.  The aggressive timeline made getting materials on time more challenging, especially since special piping was needed and the lead times were too long for the project timeline.

Planning is the Key to Success

To meet the challenge of working in an open parking garage, FPN made diligent plans ahead of time.  They scheduled out where the fitters would be installing and coordinated accordingly.  That way, they could keep much of the parking garage open while completing their job on time.

Our project manager, Bob Modica, sought out materials from a variety of places to meet demands.  He worked with several fabricators to get the materials he needed on time.  

Nothing Compares to Team Effort

In the end, FPN installed a dry-pipe fire protection system with a nitrogen generator with 3,900 sprinkler heads.  A nitrogen generation system, when added to a dry pipe sprinkler system, removes oxygen and reduces corrosion.  Nitrogen has a negative dew point, which dries out any water that may be in the pipes, eliminating two elements that cause corrosion.

The Magnificent Mile parking garage got a dry-pipe system with nitrogen to prevent corrosion, on time without inconveniencing Shops of Northbridge guests.  Bob Modica said, "This was truly a team effort.  The field, design, purchasing, and project management all worked together and most importantly, communicated well throughout the project to make this a highly successful project."

Boys and Girls Club Case Study

Boys & Girls Club fire protection

Written By:  Sarah Block, Director of Marketing & Education

The John Will Anderson Boys and Girls Club chose to fulfill a need for the youth of Gary, IN by providing a program of mentorship to guide children into becoming productive, well-rounded adults. The Boys and Girls Club overcame budget constraints and designing hurtles with the help of charitable contractors and opened their doors at the start of 2014.

Northwest Indiana's Boys and Girls Club

In Northwest Indiana, there is a place where kids can go to keep their noses clean and develop honest character. That place is the John Will Anderson Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Indiana. With programs centered on leadership, education, career, health and life skills, arts, and athletic development, the Boys and Girls Club provides a healthy environment for local kids. The Boys and Girls Club recognized a need for their program in Gary, IN and bought the building of a former high school to see that dream fulfilled. With the help of contractors who worked to stay within their tight budget, the club was able to open their doors at the start of 2014.

A Tightened Budget Brings out the Best in Contractors

The Boys and Girls Club had a challenging budget of $6 million to start, provided by the Community Block Grant Fund, a City of Gary grant. However, it was trimmed to $5.3 million after the initial planning stage had been completed, causing a huge challenge. They needed to scale back the scope and work with contractors to stay within budget.

Another challenge, from F.E. Moran Fire Protection's point of view, was that no drawings existed of the school that was being converted. They had no way of knowing where existing mechanical systems were located in the ceiling. The drawings and design had to be completed by field surveys as the GC was removing the ceiling.

Additionally, to keep with code, fire sprinklers needed to pass through unheated areas of the building. If they didn't resolve the heat issue, they would risk severely damaging the building if a fire sprinkler froze and burst.

Creative Solutions for Budget Shortfalls

To accommodate the Boys and Girls Club's new budget, F.E. Moran Fire Protection provided Value Engineering suggestions to cut costs in materials and labor. Additionally, even though there was a nine month gap between bid and project start, all contractors honored their original quote, adhering to their new budget.

In order to resolve the issue with unheated spaces that needed wet-pipe fire sprinklers, F.E. Moran Fire Protection brought in an insulation contractor to wrap the piping and keep it above 40 degrees.

"The project was a great success story due to the collaborative efforts by all contractors, community members, staff, and the visionaries that made this project a reality," said Dion Katsouros, project manager at The Skillman Corporation.

With the help of contractors who wanted to give back to the community, the Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Indiana were able to build their club house and provide a much needed service for area youth. In January, they opened their door to the children of Indiana, providing a future generation the needed skills to succeed.

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