Shannondell Meadows II

The Shannondell Meadows II Project is special because it is the 11th new building that we have helped to build at the Shannondell Retirement Community. We have worked with Paul Risk and their team for all of these buildings. Furthermore, the owner chose to contract with Paul Risk again for this building after trying a competitor for the most recent building. This matters to us at Smucker Company because we strive to help make the projects that we build a success, and when an Owner requests specific Subcontractors to work with the GC, like Shannondell did for this building, it validates the effort of our team.

  • Client: Shannondell Meadows II
  • Location: Audubon, PA
  • Project Type: Senior Living

Because we have worked on numerous buildings at Shannondell, we are very familiar with the construction team and process of this particular Owner and site. However, Meadows II is the first skilled nursing building that we have built at Shannondell. And because of the design of the building with lots of elevation changes, numerous gable ends and false chimneys, this building came with lots of challenges.

Our scope of work included the design and engineering for the exterior walls and the roof system, including the metal roof trusses. After our design was complete and the roof trusses already manufactured, there were significant changes made to the HVAC roof top units. The size of the ductwork running above the ceiling through the roof trusses also changed. Since the roof trusses were already manufactured and shipped to the site, our engineers had to change the design and engineer modifications that had to made in the field.

After going through the redesign process, our field personnel then worked with the new drawings and made the changes. The changes included reworking the bottom chord of some of the trusses, installing additional bracing as needed, reworking the location of the webs of the trusses and generally “beefing up” the trusses to handle the larger loads created by the changes to the HVAC equipment. We also needed to stay on schedule during all of these changes because the project had experienced delays at the start of construction.

Another challenge that was created by all the changes was keeping the costs and budget in line. The original budget and funding for the project had been done during the sluggish national economy and we were now working within those tight budget constraints. By working with our suppliers and designers, we were able to keep the cost increases to a minimum and in the end, the project was completed with only minimal cost overruns.

As we reflect on the issues that we had with the roof truss design and the coordination with the HVAC equipment, we have discussed how using BIM technology might have helped minimize some of those issues. Also, having the time to completely evaluate all impacts on the roof design before manufacturing would have helped. Construction schedules can be crazy, especially when there are delays. However, taking the time to plan properly can alleviate issues “down the road”. At Smucker Company, we are always trying to improve our process and going through the challenges with this project was a good reminder for us. Since this project, we have used BIM to help with coordination during the design phase.

Additional challenges for our field personnel were a result of the framing details of the building. The numerous elevation changes of the building, lots of gable ends creating many hips and valleys, false chimneys that needed to be “stick framed” and the height of the building. At certain locations around the building, the workers were using an 86’ boom lift to access the work area. All these challenges were handled and the workers produced a well-built 4-story building that looks great.

Safety concerns were a daily discussion topic. Our supervision team, led by Eric Kendig, made safety a priority. Our Safety Director, Amos Dienner, made numerous trips to the site to answer questions about how to access the work area and do so with safety being first place. On occasion, Amos needed to reference the professional opinion of our insurance carrier to handle the questions that were being asked of him pertaining to scaffold setup, lift usage and tying off properly while working on the roof trusses and plywood.

This project should win an award because of the beautiful building that was built with a very detailed design, while overcoming challenges that could not have been predicted or planned for. Also, using this project as a learning experience for our entire team is how we do better on the next project. Being flexible, adaptable, and always willing to learn is what will make us all better in the future whether we are building the next building at Smucker Company or simply living our lives.