TAMPA — When a developer approached Tampa-based CBG Building Co. with plans for a six-story off-campus dormitory to house students attending the University of South Florida, the finish date was all but impossible to meet — at least using typical construction techniques.
But Chris Hirst, vice president of construction for CBG, had an alternative plan for the dorm. He decided to go with a faster building technique — a 3D computer design system developed by Denver-based Prescient Co., Inc.. The patented technology and manufacturing company designs, then pre-constructs segments of the building, shipping them to the construction site for installation.
With a moniker of “faster, better, greener, cheaper,” Prescient is bringing its “disruptive technology” to the Tampa area for the first time to construct the privately owned complex.
“It is coming into a space dominated by wood structures or concrete structures or heavy steel construction, “ Hirst said. CBG has constructed two projects previously for students in California using the patented Prescient system, he said.
“By the time CA Student Living got everything pointed in the right direction for the Tampa project, there was only a year left to get the dorm ready for students by fall 2016,” Hirst said. “It’s a six-story parking garage and a six-story dorm with a very large central courtyard on a very tight site. By the time the 42nd Street Student Housing Dorm is done there will be only 20 feet around the building.
The dorm will be located at 14202 N. 42nd Street in Tampa. It must be completed by late August 2016, in time for USF students to move in.
“With a tall building, a tight location and a tight time line, we went to Prescient because we know their system well.”
What makes this building system so different is this: “We don’t construct our building,” said Prescient CEO Satyen Patel. “We assemble it.” The process involves three companies — one for software development, one that heads up the manufacturing technology and one that installs the products on site, Patel said.
“We deliver a post, a panel and a truss. Those are the three finished goods that come out of our manufacturing system and get assembled on site. We can go taller than timber and substantially less expensive than concrete.”
Patel said the Florida market will be big for his company for several reasons: the projects work well for senior living facilities, Prescient serves the higher density market and its system works well for in fill construction because it doesn’t require a large staging area like traditional construction does, Patel said.
“The project has just started. It’s just coming out of the ground,” Hirst said, and it will meet the fall 2016 deadline. “They’re building the wall panels right now in Denver.”
The 500 apartment-like dormitory suites that will go in the building will be 2, 3 and 4-bedroom units.
CBG, which Hirst said he “typically ranked in the top five multi-family builders,” has also constructed family housing at MacDill Air Force Base and constructed SoHo Square Apartments at South Howard and Swann avenues, which houses Ava Restaurant and other retail outlets on its first floor.
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