Case Studies

Biltmore Construction Co. Inc.

Quality commercial construction in Florida for 60 years

Biltmore Construction Co. Inc. (Biltmore) has been in business for over 60 years. In the 1940s Edward Parker Sr. began as a residential agent and builder, developing properties throughout Belleair Estates and Pinellas County. In 1954, he established Biltmore as a corporation in the state of Florida focusing on commercial development and construction.

Biltmore is now in its third generation of family ownership and operation. When Edward Sr. retired, his three sons, Ed, Jr., Rick and Bill, took over the family business. The brothers are still the primary owners of the company, while Travis Parker, Jeff Parker and Vito DiRuggiero, vice presidents of Biltmore, oversee the day-to-day operations to continue developing the business.

As the oldest construction company in Clearwater, Biltmore’s commitment to quality has allowed the business to grow and diversify attracting new clients, as well as maintaining existing client partnerships for repeat business.

Biltmore employs a staff of 47 experienced professionals, many of whom have been with the company for over 25 years. Customers have come to trust and rely on this firm for high-quality, efficient construction services, which include construction management-at-risk, general contracting, design-build, integrated project delivery and program management. Today, as a major construction management firm, Biltmore offers a comprehensive range of services constructing new facilities and renovating existing structures from the Florida Panhandle to the Florida Keys.

Sustainable commitment

A strong advocate for sustainable, green construction, Biltmore is a founding member of the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). With multiple LEED Accredited Professionals on staff, the business has developed a strong portfolio of sustainable projects that reduce clients’ energy use, water use and environmental footprint.

Keeping it cool

Recent work includes the new James Center for Molecular & Life Sciences (James Center) at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. Built to the latest ecological standards, the $25 million science center houses the chemistry, biology and biochemistry programs at Eckerd College and is equipped with cutting-edge scientific instrumentation. Seeking LEED Platinum certification, the new James Center incorporates an extensive list of sustainable concepts. A revolutionary air-conditioning system is at the heart of the exceptional efficiency Eckerd College sought for the center.

Because Eckerd College places a high priority on conserving potable water, the college sought an HVAC solution that did not include a cooling tower. Cooling towers reject heat by evaporating tap water and a conventional cooling tower for the James Center would evaporate 7.5 million gallons of tap water per year.

Another solution, an air-cooled chiller, was considered. Although less expensive, air-cooled chillers are also less efficient and last only about 12 years in the salty, humid air on the Florida coastline. Instead of a cooling tower or an air-cooled chiller, the college ultimately selected a solution that uses reclaimed non-potable water for cooling.

This system capitalizes upon a pipeline of reclaimed, non-potable water from the nearby St. Petersburg wastewater treatment facility that city residents use for watering lawns. The system pipes this water through the building’s heat exchanger to cool the building’s HVAC system, air-conditioning the building at a very low cost without using potable water. After use, the water is returned to storage tanks at the St. Petersburg water treatment plant.

Other energy efficient technologies in the James Center include negative air pressure in all the classrooms and labs via a Building Dashboard system to visually monitor energy consumption levels in each room. Over 30 percent more efficient than standard buildings, sensors throughout the building monitor activity and occupancy through carbon dioxide emissions and adjusts to provide quality indoor air for the occupancy load. All cabinetry is bamboo, a renewable resource and coatings make windows more energy-efficient.

A cool roof reflects the sun’s heat rather than transferring it to the building, and is 1.5 to 2 times more airtight than a roof on a traditional building. And fabric structures (hardened to Cat 5) are used for both energy efficiency and protection from the intense Florida sun in the entry and courtyard areas.

A growing portfolio

Another unique sustainable project for Biltmore is The Elliott Museum in Stuart, Florida, which highlights achievements in transportation and technology. Biltmore worked with the museum and design team over a period of two years to create a design and construction plan for this unique building.

One of the more interesting components of the project is a robotic storage and retrieval system for the museum’s enormous antique car collection. “This was a really interesting sustainability aspect,” Travis explains. “We were able to greatly reduce the footprint needed for storing vehicles, with no ramps or aisles. With this system, you pick the car, push the button and the system brings it down from storage, puts it on a turntable and spins around. It uses a kind of robotic forklift to retrieve and move cars.” While the project has been registered with LEED for certification, the process is not yet complete.

Other recent work includes a new parking garage for the Miami-Dade Department of Health. The new seven-level facility features metal sight-proof louvers to camouflage vehicles and enhance aesthetics. The design also provides natural ventilation, eliminating the need for forced air fans. All construction was performed with precast concrete panels and the building meets all mandated environmental and energy saving standards.

A bright future

Despite a slow recovery from the recent recession, Biltmore has a strong backlog of upcoming projects. The business remained stable during the recession by leveraging relationships and maintaining focus on the projects at hand. Moving forward, Travis and his partners are working on expanding existing margins in this competitive construction market.

“I am optimistic,” Travis explains. “We are celebrating 60 successful years in business, which is something we are very proud of. We have strong relationships with our clients and our strategic partners that have offered us continued support over the years.” As the private sector continues to recover, opportunities are opening up all over the state. With a strong team, unmatched experience and a working method that prioritizes collaboration, Biltmore Construction Co. Inc. will continue to provide high-quality construction management services in the Florida construction market for generations to come.

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