Getting Ahead of Challenges, Maximizing Opportunities
Early in the design and preconstruction phase of the project, Sunriver communicated the critical importance of the existing outdoor pool and onsite restaurant, The Spotted Frog, remaining open and operational throughout construction. With large crowds concentrated in the guestrooms and suites surrounding the pool and lodge, this facility is the go-to pool and casual restaurant for those that choose to stay near the lodge and therefore the resort could not afford any closures or major disruptions. Additionally, all vertical construction needed to occur between Labor Day and Memorial Day in order to avoid peak summer season.
To add a greater level of complexity to the challenges above, COVID hit just before the project commenced. This added a level of uncertainty and created one of the most difficult building environments seen to date with material delays, crew member shortages, closures of services at the resort and more. Luckily, Sunriver made the commitment to prioritize this project and proceed with construction as planned.
In the fall of 2019, a year before the start of construction, a new entry was created by excavating the hillside next to the existing pool and the entry adjacent to the restaurant was relocated. Expediting these improvements helped crews get ahead of the impending ground freeze and also allow ample time for the landscaping to adjust to ensure the guest experience in and out of the pool facility was smooth and welcoming throughout construction.
Then in Spring 2020, our team was able to take advantage of the near-vacant resort to perform early work in preparation for the Labor Day official project kick off. Several trees were removed while others were staked for protection around the site. At this time, lumber for the project was pre-ordered and able to be stored near the site to avoid any downstream material delays. This also saved costs as the team was able to get ahead of the spike in lumber pricing.
In addition to the early site work, R&H’s superintendent added valuable insights on sequencing and early procurement during the design and preconstruction phase in order to meet the resort’s tight timeframe once construction began. Building in Sunriver during the cold winter months is no small feat with single digit temperatures, rock-solid frozen ground and typically heavy snowfall. Weather, coupled with the occupied nature of the community and the need to keep the adjacent Spotted Frog open during construction, posed numerous obstacles for our team to overcome.
To get ahead of these challenges, our team knew that any critical excavation work needed to happen before the ground froze for the winter or be contained within the building. This meant that exterior excavation work for the process piping of the pool, typically done later in the project, was expedited during the first months of construction, then covered while the building shell was erected. Similarly, excavation work on the interior of the building was delayed until after the structure was in place, an uncommon approach that was necessary due to the timing of the work in relation to the sub-freezing temps. With the shell in place, excavation and the interior slab pour was performed via access through the large overhead doors allowing for equipment to flow through the building as if it were an outdoor setting.
Another challenge posed was uniting old and new, both above and below ground. The existing restaurant building, The Spotted Frog, needed to be stitched together and join the new natatorium building at a difficult intersection point, the active commercial kitchen. A of wall within the kitchen was removed and the grease inceptor quickly rerouted to keep kitchen services functioning. ground, utilities for the existing facility had to be rerouted and those for the new facility required tying in with existing lines, many of which were decades old. On top of this, utility lines beneath the site also serviced surrounding buildings including the main lodge, the most active of all buildings in the area. This required precise coordination with utility providers, Sunriver and the construction team.
Close coordination with the pool contractor, Anderson Poolworks kept the project tracking as well. Anderson’s team was from out of state and typically would have lodged in Bend, 16 miles away, but because the resort had ample availability due to COVID, they were able to stay onsite. This prevented any transportation challenges on the roads from Bend to Sunriver that can be treacherous for those not familiar with Central Oregon winter driving conditions. Keeping team members at the site prevented any delays in decision making and construction sequencing while helping overall team comradery.
Additionally, efficiencies were added by utilizing R&H crew members to self-perform several scopes of work including all the building framing, interior trim, carpentry, and exterior siding. Having this talented team of craftsmen and women on staff is always of benefit to R&H’s team but particularly during COVID times when subcontractor availability and resources became extremely stretched. These crew members were also working on several other projects within the resort. This meant that they could quickly transition from one project to the next to keep efficiency high across the board for Sunriver.