W.E. O’Neil Construction Company
W.E. O’Neil Construction Company (WEO) leads the construction industry by building trust and long-term relationships with its clients through teamwork, diverse industry experience and a proactive, technologically integrated approach to construction that results in higher quality buildings. The Chicago, Ill.-based firm has almost 90 years of industry experience behind it and over three decades of proven performance in the California market; it’s no surprise that the company has been called upon as the general contractor of choice for many of the country’s largest construction projects.
WEO’s portfolio runs the gamut, including aerospace and transportation, with heavy doses of retail, hospitality, healthcare and green building in between. The company employs 80 full-time LEED Accredited Professionals and has built over 4 million square feet of LEED-certified space.
No matter the location or industry sector, WEO professionals take pride in bringing the company’s signature construction management style to projects with sustainable goals of any size. Even if a client doesn’t plan on pursuing LEED certification, the team can help clients navigate the right technologies, building materials and design options to ease the building’s carbon footprint, reduce resource consumption and boost energy efficiency.
WEO’s Los Angeles, Calif., office was contacted in 2007 to complete work on Park Viridian, a $38 million multifamily residential development and one of the first LEED-certified multifamily residential developments in Anaheim, Calif. Park Viridian’s owner, BRE, contacted WEO to take over construction responsibilities while the buildings 420-stall underground parking garage was nearing completion in late 2007.
“BRE brought us on when the building’s podium was about 65-percent complete,” expands Kathy Gross, project manager at WEO. The 320-unit building was designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification, but the company’s professionals were able to come on to the job early enough and make minor changes that ultimately propelled the building to reach LEED Gold certification.
“It’s a post-tensioned concrete podium project that’s both Title 24-compliant and LEED Goldcertified; it’s your run-of-the-mill California job,” jokes Gross.
Gross and the entire Park Viridian team recognized the need to keep communication lines open and with the subcontractors, design team and owner anticipate complications, especially in the wake of the economic downturn by the time WEO officially began framing work on the project in early 2008. Many of the subcontractors had already been chosen by BRE, but those that hadn’t were carefully vetted for previous work experience, technical capabilities and financial strength.
“We were fortunate to work with BRE because the company truly understands the value of a contractor’s previous experience and makes a point of looking well beyond who happens to be the lowest bidder,” says Gross. “They also recognize the importance of building green and the future effects on the environment, because it’s the right thing to do.”
WEO assembled its ideal group of superintendents that had plenty of wood-framing experience to grab the development’s progress by the horns and keep things on track.
When framing and drywall crews began work on the building BRE and the project team opted to use different material and barriers in the unit walls. This created an airtight and smoke-tight seal between units and exterior spaces. Not only did the move contribute toward better fire safety, but also it also helped improve the development’s indoor and outdoor air quality and therefore boosted the building’s LEED certification credentials.
Fame and Fortune
Current residents might cite the development’s 23-meter pool, fitness center or pet-friendly policy as good reasons to move in, but the building’s environmental accomplishments are just as big a draw for many residents in Orange County. Over 96 percent of the building’s waste was diverted from the land fill and the building achieved LEED Gold certification for its use of carpeting, paints and sealants with low-volatile organic compound levels, low-flow water fixtures and energy-efficient windows. This also helps the building comply with California’s Title 24 requirements, which encourage energy efficiency that reduces a resident’s utility costs.
Park Viridian also happens to be in the heart of Anaheim’s Platinum Triangle District and within walking distance of both of Anaheim’s major sporting arenas. The district was once a low-density commercial and industrial space, but its location just east of Anaheim’s Resort districts and the Disney theme parks compelled the city to launch a full-scale redevelopment plan and convert it into a high-density urban area.
“In this economy, it’s about working smart and pursuing opportunities that make sense, both from the owners and the construction team,” adds Gross. Construction wrapped up in 2009, and Gross and the WEO team have shifted gears to focus on another nearby transformation. WEO will be managing a $10 million façade renovation at the Heritage Plaza, one of the oldest shopping plazas in Irvine, Calif., which will create opportunities for future tenant growth.
The firm’s longevity and total commitment to each client will help the company find the right opportunities for growth regardless of which market sector the WEO team focuses on. W.E. O’Neil Construction Company, backed by almost 90 years of experience, will continue to stay ahead of sustainability and prove that environmentally friendly choices can be wallet friendly as well.
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