Gilbert Architects is the premier permanent off-site construction designer in the Northeast. To best serve our client’s needs, we have adapted various permanent off-site construction techniques that are specifically tailored for each project. The Gilbert advantage is that we have the vision to explore the opportunities and the experience in design and construction of these systems for over 15 years.
Off-site construction is defined as the planning, design, fabrication, and assembly of building elements at a location other than their final point of assembly on-site.
Permanent off-site construction offers a unique solution to facilitate construction schedules and to address projects with inherent site constraints. Off-site construction is completed within a controlled environment which means minimal damaged materials or schedule delays due to natural weather conditions. Building foundations can be completed at the same time the building is being constructed off-site and 95% completed. The building modules are then separated, transported, and erected onsite in a matter of days. Another advantage is that in states that have prevailing wages, the portion of the school that is constructed at an off-site facility can be done with no prevailing wage associated to that work.
Watch this video interview with one of our architects at the Cherokee Lane Elementary School construction site to learn more about the collaboration involved in permanent off-site construction.
Featured Permanent Off-Site Construction Projects:
University of Maryland, Baltimore County successfully completed a new, centrally located, 25,158 s.f. multi-level facility integrating health and counseling services. The Center for Well-Being is located on the site previously occupied by the Student Development and Success Center, which was a collection of 30-year-old, single-story, prefabricated structures with separate entrances. UMBC desired a fiscally responsible solution and a permanent building as quickly as possible. Off-site construction met both goals. Gilbert Architects was selected to be part of Whiting-Turner’s design-build team based on our extensive and successful experience with permanent off-site construction.
Gilbert Architects was contracted by Prince George’s County Public Schools to design a proto-type elementary school using permanent off-site construction. The new 95,827 s.f. Cherokee Lane Elementary School is a hybrid of on-site construction and off-site construction methodologies. Approximately 67% of the school was successfully built off-site. This reduced the construction schedule as multiple construction activities occurred concurrently. While foundations began, the classroom area of the building was constructed off-site utilizing standard construction materials. This work can be more closely controlled by the off-site construction company using hand-selected contractors at their facility. Many of these same contractors will complete the installation of the modules to ensure compatibility of all materials and systems.
2013 – Penn Valley Elementary School
Penn Valley Elementary School in the Lower Merion School District is centered in a residential neighborhood with limited usable area on-site for construction activities. The solution to construct an addition using permanent off-site construction minimized the disruption to the neighborhood and the educational program on a school-occupied site. Another advantage of this methodology is that it facilitates the construction schedule so that the students can occupy the building sooner. The foundation for the 4-classroom addition was constructed on-site concurrently with construction of the classrooms at an off-site facility. The classroom units were shipped to the site completely fitted out with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and the floors, ceiling grid, walls, and casework installed and finished.
West Reading, PA
At the West Reading Elementary Center in the Wyomissing Area School District, we proposed using the permanent off-site construction method for the new addition on this urban site. This benefits the project in more than one way. The construction schedule was compressed by several months because while the construction of the 2-story addition was built in an off-site facility the foundation work was ongoing on-site simultaneously. Since the construction contracts were awarded in November 2010, delays in the construction schedule were minimized because the off-site construction was executed in a controlled environment with minimal impacts for weather delays. Secondly, due to the site constraints of the city block in a residential neighborhood, we reduced the number of contractors on-site, eliminating the material storage and lay out space that would have been required if the addition was built on-site. This significantly minimized the impact to the surrounding neighborhood.
2010 – Coatesville Area Senior High School
At the Coatesville Area Senior High School in the Coatesville Area School District, our design team integrated a creative solution for the 2-story science wing addition that was challenged with site restrictions. The science addition, consisting of 12 state-of-the-art science labs with supporting prep rooms, were built in an off-site facility under controlled conditions using the steel frame building technology while on-site preparation and foundations occurred. The science addition was assembled on-site, resulting in less disruption to the existing facility, a reduction in construction schedule, and a resolution to the existing site constraints.
At Millmont Elementary and 6th Grade Magnet School in the Reading School District, we designed a new 750-student school on a triangular, 2.5-acre site. The confined site and building program offered some unique challenges in designing the school. To minimize the displacement of the students off-site, the project construction period was one school year. To facilitate construction, 67% of the school was designed as off-site construction to allow the preparation of the site and construction of the underground parking garage to occur simultaneously with the off-site construction of the classrooms. Delivered completely finished on the interior with cabinets, mechanical/plumbing and electrical systems, and most finishes, the units were set into place in 9 days.
2007 – Cornwall Terrace Elementary School
Sinking Spring, PA
Working with the Wilson School District, we designed the additions to the Cornwall Terrace Elementary School using the permanent off-site construction method. The project was bid two ways, both as steel frame and as pre-cast concrete modulars. Steel frame construction was selected since it could meet the construction schedule. The 2-story, 8-classroom wing served as swing space during the existing building renovations. At the completion of construction, these additional classrooms added the capacity needed for current and future growth. Off-site construction was also used for the front entrance addition to create administration offices (which were originally located internal to the building) and a secure entrance vestibule, thereby addressing a long-standing security concern