The simplicity of the design made the construction portion of the development equally basic. Cavenaugh hired a general contractor with whom he had worked with previously and together they deconstructed and built the new LEED Silver rated building. The general contractor J.P. Viellet comments, "It was a simple box that was simple to construct".
The project successfully recycled 98 percent of construction and demolition waste using curbside recycling. As the general contractor deconstructed and constructed, they created material-specific piles around the site. Every week he put out ten plastic recycling tubs full of materials and, by the end of the project, almost all C&D waste was recycled. These materials included metal banding, metal plumbing fixtures, and cardboard among others. Some of the scrap wood was also salvaged for firewood. Viellet notes, "It’s much more economical to do that (recycling). We probably saved $1,000…it didn’t cost us anything but a little bit of time".
The building structure is stick and frame and the second floor ceiling is exposed CDX plywood decking. Viellet points out, "Normally, when you simplify a building the labor costs go way up because every piece of exposed wood has to have a crisp finish and look really clean." However, Cavenaugh’s understanding of construction practices and desire for a "rough" industrial feel characterized by exposed truss joists and unfinished ceilings substantially reduced the amount of labor going into the construction. Likewise, LEED consultant Mike Shea recommended "putting the money where people put their hands" by prioritizing the aesthetic of building components such as doors and windows that occupants physically interact with on a daily basis.
All materials were sourced within a 500 mile radius from the site and Cavenaugh comments that "they probably all came from within a fifty-mile radius. I just drove around looking for stuff." FSC certified wood was desirable but not available at the time so locally manufactured wood was used instead to reduce upstream transportation impacts.
In keeping with the spirit of questioning the assumptions of traditional building practices, Cavenaugh waited to pour a concrete slab floor in the kitchen area until a tenant was selected. Typically, restaurant tenants cut and remove portions of the kitchen floor to accommodate rough plumbing runs and other programmatic needs. Cavenaugh, in an effort to save money, energy, and materials, waited to let the tenant decide the flooring scheme and then covered the cost for the tenant to pour the concrete according to their specifications. This eliminated the unnecessary installation and removal of new and unused concrete and saved the project somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000.
Nine new trees were planted on the site - 5 street trees and 4 interior trees around the parking lot and buffering the patio.
Keys to Success - Construction:
- Recycle all C&D waste
- Source all materials locally
- Do not finish exposed ceiling materials
- Prioritize the aesthetic of materials with which occupants frequently and physically interact
- Plant additional, native trees to provide shade and heighten the site’s aesthetic and ecological value