The Beck Group
The Beck Group (Beck) was founded in 1912 and is currently headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The firm has developed extensive and international experience in development, architecture and construction with a heavy emphasis on sustainability over the years. Today, BECK operates from offices in Mexico City, Tampa, Fla., Atlanta, Ga., Denver, Colo., and Austin, Houston, Ft. Worth and San Antonio, Texas. Above all, Beck prides itself on providing clients with the talented professionals in-house to tackle projects of any kind.
The Beck advantage lies in the company’s longevity and signature integrated enterprise philosophy, where no gap exists between architecture and construction professionals. Instead of contracting design work out as part of its design-build services, Beck maintains an in-house design team at each of its national offices to facilitate better collaboration and innovative problem solving.
The integrated enterprise system saves clients both time and money by eliminating the need for change orders and facilitating cross-disciplinary exchanges. “At Beck, architects sit right next to the project managers. So when we need answers or solutions, we don’t have to go very far,” explains Michael Monce, project manager at Beck.
In addition, Beck’s approach capitalizes on the best available technology from building information modeling to data management through the Beck Technology division. When market solutions can’t meet a client’s needs, Beck has the in-house expertise to develop a custom software solution.
As a result, Beck maintains a strong presence across private and public markets and has been a part of building and renovating some of the nation’s architectural and cultural landmarks from Dallas’ Historic Union Station to Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Federal Building.
Over summer 2011, Beck completed work on Duke University’s Pascal field house, its fifth project for the university. When Duke University’s football players rushed into the new Pascal Field House in early August 2011, not one of the players had any idea that 25 scissor lifts peppered the barren structure only four weeks prior. The original schedule BECK provided was ambitious to say the least, but the firm forged ahead with the boon of its integrated enterprise approach to ensure the facility was open in time for the Blue Devil’s first practice of the season.
Rising to Any Challenge
The newly christened Pascal Field House is BECK’s second design-build project for Duke University and was named in honor of All-American running back and Duke Alumnus, Bob Pascal. “Having worked for Duke University in the past, we were able to assemble the right set of subcontractors that we knew could keep up with a demanding schedule and deliver the quality Duke expects from us,” asserts Monce.
The $11 million field house provides much more than simply a roof over players’ heads. The 80,000-square foot facility provides enough space for 120-yard football surface complete with retractable field posts, a filming tower and state-of-the-art Musco sports lighting. In addition to providing indoor practice and training space for the university’s football team, the new space will also house other field sports including soccer, ultimate frisbee and intramural activities.
Before crews could get started on the buildings’ interior though, crews tackled extensive site work and encountered a few surprises. The field house was essentially built into a hillside and crews spent over three months preparing the site to go vertical. The original plans called for crews to install a 42-inch diameter storm sewer line, but the client upgraded to a 72-inch diameter line and requested the line be rerouted to the building’s exterior, so Beck mobilized to accommodate the changes as quickly as possible.
“When you’re digging 25 feet down, you’re bound to find a few surprises and ours came in the form of hitting rock at 16 feet,” says Monce. To make matters worse, the excavation site was also the only access point for construction crews. Though blasting would have been permitted on site, the permitting process takes two weeks and Beck simply didn’t have two weeks to spare. Instead, crews diligently chipped away at the rock and by the end of March, the site was finally ready to begin structural steel work.
Heat Waves and Happy Faces
As summer unfolded, Beck quickly realized just how much of an advantage its preplanning efforts and industry experience would provide. By July 1, crews finally began work on the building’s interior. Beck brought in 25 scissor lifts so crews could complete work all the way up to the building’s 65-foot pitch. Additionally, a record heat wave produced above 100-degree weather for five consecutive days in Raleigh, N.C., shattering the previous record.
“We really cranked. The final tally was in the neighborhood of 3,700 overtime hours worked during the month of July alone and it’s a testament to our subcontracting partners that we were able to work Saturdays, Sundays and overtime to get the building ready in time for the first football practice of the season. When the team came in, it was clear from their expressions that they really appreciated all of the extra work we put into the space,” boasts Monce.
Aside from providing the football team with a controlled environment for training and practice, the new facility also provides essential shared space for the university’s popular health, physical education and recreation department. Having witnessed firsthand the appreciation of Duke’s student body, The Beck Group team can rest assured that every extra hour spent planning and problem solving made a difference.
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