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Construction technique shaves three months off $110 million military project in New Orleans

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“On schedule and on budget” was the central theme of a recent progress report on the four-story, 411,000-sq-ft, $110 million Federal City Marine Forces Reserve building in New Orleans, the largest tilt-up project in the Gulf Coast region and the largest ever for military end use.

“We are right on target with our construction timeline and our financial budget for the Federal City site,” says Algiers Economic Development District (ADD) Chairman Jeff Arnold.

“It has been a little over one year since we had the groundbreaking ceremony. Our target is to complete the headquarters of the Marine Forces Reserve by September 2011, which is part of our 75-year lease agreement between the Algiers Development District and the Department of the Navy.

The tilt-up construction technique is expected to save about three months on the building schedule and up to 10 percent of costs for the building, says Gen. David Mize, who leads the New Orleans Federal Alliance (NOFA), the organization overseeing operations of the project.

The Federal City complex totals $150 million of current funding, including approximately $110 million for the Marine Forces Reserve headquarters, $7 million for amenity upgrades on the site and $33 million for infrastructure improvements and other work.

The MarForRes building stands on more than 2,600 pilings driven under its 3-ft-thick slab.

The exterior of the building comprises 196 tilt-up panels, each cast on site near or adjacent to where it is tilted by crane into place. Once in place, each panel is held steady by at least four 52-ft braces as temporary supports.

Altogether, the area of the tilt-up panels totals 121,618 sq ft and requires 2,849 cu yds of concrete weighing more than 11 million pounds. In addition, the concrete panels hold a total of 1.1 million pounds of reinforcing steel.

A total of 118,590 half-inch “thin bricks” are cast directly into the panels onsite so that the facade will be consistent with the surrounding buildings that were constructed by conventional brick and mortar.

The master developer of the Federal City complex is HRI/ECC LLC, a joint venture between privately held HRI Properties and Environmental Chemical Corporation specifically created for the development of Federal City.

Woodward Design+Build of New Orleans is the contractor for the building, which must be constructed to progressive collapse standards implemented after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

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