As Phase Two of development progresses at Summit Pointe, we are proud to announce updates on the construction of the first commercial and residential properties coming to Summit Pointe. Construction is underway on Helix, the first living community at Summit Pointe. These urbane, modern units will sit atop ground-floor retail and feature direct access to a covered parking garage. Additional construction began this week on the adjacent office building, which will feature a two-story atrium lobby and Class A+ office space over ground-floor retail and restaurants.

Leading the construction at Summit Pointe is Superintendent Bob Barker of Clancy and Theys Construction Company. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Bob and learn about his experience building communities, some of the technologies being employed on this job, and the excitement he is seeing from local business owners and citizens alike.

How long have you been a Superintendent at Clancy & Theys Construction Company?

About 3 weeks ago I celebrated my 25 year anniversary with Clancy & Theys.

What are some of the most memorable projects you have worked on over the years?

I worked on the Martin Agency building in Richmond, VA’s Shockoe Bottom. I’ve also worked on the construction of 6 office buildings and an adjacent garage at Innsbrook in Henrico, VA.

Have you worked on the construction of other mixed-use urban communities in the past?

Yes. 2 years ago I worked with the developer Greystar on a mixed-use development called Overture Virginia Beach. This was a 172-unit development for active adults 62+. I’m proud to say that the development was awarded the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Best 55+ Community of the Year and the ABC — Virginia Chapter’s 2017 Honor Award of Excellence.

Do you ever return to see the communities that you have helped create?

Yes, I enjoy going back to these developments to visit tenants and other people located there. Over the years I’ve formed many spontaneous friendships with the residents, who know me as ‘Bob the Builder’, by showing them around and discussing the development with them.

What are some advancements in construction technology that are being used at Summit Pointe, like soil strengthening/reinforcing?

There are several great advancements that we’ve utilized in the Summit Pointe project so far. Among them are the deep foundation system, IT developments, and panel systems.

Deep foundation system: In this process, a specialist bores down into the ground and deposits aggregate into the surrounding ground area. The aggregate is compacted and then acts as a support for the foundation. It increases the load-bearing capabilities of the soil and foundation of a building. This technology replaces piles, which can be expensive and cause noise and environmental disruption. A deep foundation does not cause a lot of noise or shaking of the ground when it is installed. This minimizes disruption from noise and vibrations to neighboring offices.

IT Development: The use of iPad and smartphone technology allows us to easily access all the documents needed for a construction project such as contracts, drawings, plans, and lists of changes. The process of going around to retrieve documents from different areas- and getting stopped with dozens of questions along the way- used to take all day. Now, these steps are instantaneous thanks to digital technology! Another upside is that all the different tradesmen can access documents as needed and anyone can get the information needed to answer questions about the construction specifications.

Panel Systems: Contractors will panelize systems so that all walls will come pre-assembled and can be loaded into place in frames. Add the frames, walls, and a floor and then this step of construction is done! This allows for better quality control, time saved on the project, and building as well as cost efficiency.

How do these advancements in technology impact work at Summit Pointe?

This will make the work more time and cost-effective, as well as of a higher quality. It will reduce disruption for those located around the construction area (such as people working in the Dollar Tree tower). It will also allow us to more easily answer questions, make changes, and track the development and progression of construction.

How is technology like drones impacting large construction projects like Summit Pointe?

Our company has a certified drone operator who uses the drone and it photographic equipment to document progress and verify measurements and placements, as well as to document the construction and locations of key components for future reference. These drones are used throughout the entire construction process.

Are there other new technologies that are commonly used today?

We also use a technology called HoloBuilder which allows us to take 360-degree photos of construction progress. This allows us to go back and check on developments made. It also makes answering questions much easier!

Another technology we use is called OxBlue. It’s a camera system that photographs job sites every 10 minutes as a way to track progress.

What has it been like building the foundation for a new community at Summit Pointe?

It’s very exciting. Everyone in the area knows Summit Pointe is coming and this has created a lot of buzz with the local business owners I’ve spoken with, as well as with employees at the Dollar Tree tower. Business owners have told me that they are excited because the influx of construction workers and eventually other workers and residents will bring them more customers. And Dollar Tree employees, as well as local citizens, have been watching all of the progress and want to learn more about what is being built.

How do you build apartments over retail?

The Helix apartments are being built as a “podium job”. The ground floor will be built with a concrete foundation, and then the 5 stories of apartments on top are built with wood frame construction. Everything on this project is fitted from the ground up. In the case of Helix, which will have parking garage access on all unit floors as well as from the ground floor, we build right next to the parking garage with about a 2-inch gap between the two structures. Once construction is complete, residents will be able to easily access the garage from all floors of the building.

How will residents of the Helix apartments access the parking garage?

There will be access to the garage from each level of the units. There are also public elevators on the ground floor which will give further access to the garage. We actually had to plan these access points from the very beginning- before the parking garage was even built!

What challenges do you face building in an urban setting?

The old days of having 30 acres around you to swing your elbows and do your magic aren’t there anymore. Sites are tight and precise planning and timing requirements are needed in order to successfully complete projects. We’re used to building next to already-inhabited urban spaces and always take measures to ensure that construction is safe and unintrusive for residents in the surrounding area. Safety is one of the driving forces of everything we do, making sure that everyone goes home safely every night.