T.B. Penick & Sons – Hunters Point Community Library

tb penickHunters Point Community Library on Long Island is on schedule to be completed by next summer thanks to coordination and teamwork.
By Construction Today Staff Editor

T.B. Penick & Sons Inc. was founded in 1905 as a general construction contractor. In more recent years, the San Diego, Calif.-based company opened an East Coast office in New York City to work on more projects, according to Project Manager Jorge Garcia.

“We specialize mainly in structural concrete work,” Garcia says. “We also do construction management, design/build and innovative concrete systems for various sectors, including education, healthcare, theme parks and commercial.”

A current project is the Hunters Point Community Library. Located in Long Island City, N.Y., the 22,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art library is being constructed along the East River against the backdrop of Manhattan’s skyline. The design for the library at Hunters Point will stand as a public building and public park with community-devoted space, according to Garcia.

“We started construction in February of 2015, physical construction in May of the same year and are scheduled to complete the project by the summer of 2017,” he says. “It consists of three buildings: a one-story service building, a one-story parks and recreation building, as well as the main library which will be seven stories.”

Innovative Design

The library’s exterior facade is comprised of exposed concrete and finished with aluminum paint to give the building a subtle sparkle and glow. In addition, it will feature two outdoor spaces – a rooftop reading garden and a landscaped sitting area on the ground floor – and carve-outs for each of the library’s three sections for kids, teens and adults.

“The New York City Department of Design and Construction is the client for this project,” Garcia says. “The main feature of the library is architectural, so it will have large windows and a lot of open space because it’s a very open concept building. It’s a very unique building as well because it is on the waterfront, so it will have a spectacular view.” TB Penick and Sons box

The exterior of the building will have a wood grain finish. “With this project, a lot of it is about meticulous detail,” Garcia explains. “For example, the interior of the building will have a very modern décor, with bamboo and interesting floor layouts and furniture. The reading area will span about four levels, taking up one or two stories of the building. Each level will have a desk that overlooks the atrium with a periodical bookcase behind it. As far as design, it was all about maximizing the space with the furniture for this project.”

Making It Happen

Designing a building that does not have a traditional floor plan or layout can be challenging, Garcia acknowledges. However, with communication and coordination, nothing is impossible.

“Things have been going well since we are working together as a team,” he says. “Since we started with the initial construction when we went to receive steel, we have efficiently coordinated our work, including the concrete operations, steel erection process, as well as the mechanical trades. For a project like this, it’s mainly ensuring that coordination is ongoing, which is very important.”

Working in tandem with its trades on the project likely involves the most coordination of all, Garcia says. T.B. Penick & Sons subcontracted HVAC, landscape and other trades for the project. “Without them, the project wouldn’t be successful because it would be almost impossible to self-perform everything,” he explains. “In general, their work helps and makes a big difference.”

Garcia adds that the selection of subcontractors is important to the process as well. “We select our subcontractors on a quality basis,” he says. “People that we’ve worked with before usually take precedence as well because we know their work ethic and what they are capable of. Price is obviously a deciding factor, but the quality of work is the driving force. We want the best people with us on the job.

“Quality is not only about how well do the job, but how they are on the job as well,” he continues. “That goes into how responsive they are, if they come when we need them to and if they supply enough manpower. In addition, we want to know that the guys they have working with them are confident in their ability to get the job done. We want to know those things because they are all important factors.”

Some of the subcontractors on the project have long-standing relationships with T.B. Penick & Sons. “We have some fairly new ones on the job, but everyone is doing a fantastic job,” Garcia says. “For instance, this was our first time working with Vibra-Tech. On this project we have a state park that has historical gantries, so we used Vibra-Tech to place monitors on the gantries to ensure when we were driving piles from the foundation that none of the adjacent buildings were damaged. It was one of the cool parts of the job and they performed well.”

Overall, the most important factor on the job site is everyone’s safety. “All of our subcontractors are provided with their own individual safety plan. We follow at minimum OSHA’s building regulations,” Garcia says. “With a project like this, there is a lot of high ceilings and open spaces, which is why we require the subcontractors to tie off at anything above six feet. So we have strict safety standards to ensure just that, safety.”

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