Location: White Sulphur Springs, W.V.
When Virginia contractors Southern Air Inc. and Kirby-Vass Insulation Inc. joined the project team for the construction of the expansive Greenbrier Casino Club, 30 feet beneath the historic, luxurious Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V., they knew they would be put to the test. The Greenbrier's new owner, Justice Family Group LLC, had commissioned the $80 million, 103,000 square-foot casino to be built as the showpiece in a series of improvements to the legendary luxury resort. The biggest challenge was having only eight months to complete the entire project. The casino needed to be finished in time for the inaugural Professional Golfer's Association of America (PGA) Greenbrier Classic tournament. This set a grueling pace and required several different contractors to work simultaneously alongside each other.
Southern Air was hired by the project's general contractor Clancy & Theys Construction Company to install a chilled water-hot water HVAC system designed by Innovative Engineering Services (IES), LLC, the project's mechanical engineer. This job also included the fabrication and installation of the system's sheet metal ductwork. Since IES's specifications called for the ductwork to be insulated on the exterior with fiberglass duct wrap for better energy efficiency, Southern Air brought Kirby-Vass onto the job as a subcontractor. IES specified only the type and density of duct insulation, so the product selection was left to Kirby-Vass and its insulation distributor, McCormick Insulation Supply Inc. Both agreed CertainTeed® SoftTouch™ Duct Wrap was the best choice for this job.
"We'd used the SoftTouch Duct Wrap before on projects, and our crews have found it handles more comfortably than some other duct wraps," says Greg Cundiff, vice president and construction manager for Kirby-Vass. "It's also easy to install, which helps get the job done more quickly."
The product benefits the end user as well with its sustainable performance attributes. Appropriate as exterior insulation on both rectangular and round ductwork, SoftTouch Duct Wrap reduces unwanted heat loss or gain and condensation during HVAC system operation. This increases energy efficiency and helps minimize potential for microbial growth from condensation on or inside the ductwork. With these attributes and the product's GREENGUARD® certification, SoftTouch has become a popular choice for green commercial building projects.
As part of the HVAC system, Southern Air installed 1 mile of cast iron pipe, 2 miles of domestic water pipe, 2 miles of mechanical piping and chillers with 960 tons of total cooling capacity. Then, there was the 80,000 feet of rectangular and round ductwork, much of which was fabricated at Southern Air's Lynchburg, Va., facility and transported to The Greenbrier —a two-hour drive—for installation. A total of 92 tons of sheet metal was used in the fabrication. Rectangular duct sizes ranged from 6-inch x 6-inch to 140-inch x 48-inch, and the round ducts were a mix of 12-inch and 26-inch diameter.
"We had some very large ducts closer to the two main air handlers that served the casino, and duct size gradually decreased as we dropped connections down the length of the building," says Doug Davidson, project manager for Southern Air.
With a 50-person crew on site, Southern Air used 26-foot hydraulic lifts to carry ductwork sections up to the ceiling for installation. The ducts were hung with 3-inch x 3-inch steel angle and half-inch rods to tie back to the structure. Kirby-Vass's crew, ranging from six to eight workers, followed close behind, installing duct wrap over the new ducts. Working efficiently and being considerate of the several other contractors working in the space at the same time was crucial in getting the job done on time.
"Because of the timeframe, the project team had to erect the structure around us while we worked, so there were a lot of people in a small area—the casino floor looked like a race track filled with hydraulic lifts," Cundiff says. We all had to keep up with each other's pace, since our speed depended on how quickly the crew ahead of us was installing the ductwork. For the most part, everybody understood the situation and worked together really well."
"It was a very aggressive schedule," Davidson adds. "We were working seven days a week and probably 12-14 hours a day. Everybody realized when they were brought on that we would all have to work together as a team and cooperate or the job wouldn't get done. The opening date was set for July, and they had a bunch of celebrities coming in, so missing the deadline was not an option."
The collective teamwork and long hours paid off, as the project was finished successfully with one month to spare before the Greenbrier Classic. The team of contractors received glowing reviews from resort management, as well as each other.
"Everybody was very pleased with the results," Davidson says. "With the help of Kirby-Vass Insulation, we were able to make a really good installation in the amount of time we were given. They brought their A-game and supported us well."