Heralded as both an art and a science, the Salk Institute restoration project represents what all value engineering and restoration projects require. As we discussed in our introductory post about this case study, the project was able to be completed, salvaging a remarkable 2/3 of the original Teak; this achievement points not only to the expertise of the builders but also to the resilience and durability of this exceptional lumber species. Still, this project was ridden with unique challenges.
Salk Institute Lumber Replacement
Even though the majority of the original Teak lumber used was able to be restored and reused on the project, the restoration still required over 30,000 board feet of new Teak. And not just any Teak; it had to be similar enough to the original lumber used to blend with the restored lumber: all old growth, with a certain number of growth rings per inch, and quartersawn. As if those three characteristics didn’t make the task of sourcing appropriate Teak difficult enough, we also had to find many non-standard sizes. At one point, we weren’t even sure doing this would be possible – due to Myanmar export limitations and a log embargo. Upon closer inspection of the original boards, we discovered that not all were quartersawn which eased up some of the restrictions on which Teak boards might be usable for the project.
Salk Institute Collaboration
Not only did we visit the job site, but we invited GCI representatives to visit our lumber yard and examine documentation supporting the legality and sustainability of the Teak we import, as well as the material we already had in stock. A GCI wood scientist and restoration staff members were able to communicate with us the required characteristics and give recommendations for finishing and maintenance techniques that would allow this restoration to stand the test of time. Thankfully, these visits and meetings revealed that we had plenty of Teak already on hand that would help fulfill the unique requirements of this massive project. And so we began the momentous task of hand-picking over 30,000 board feet of appropriate Teak and getting it delivered to the San Diego job site.
This restoration project was certainly among one of the most fascinating and significant ones in which we’ve been privileged to participate. This important exercise in architectural and life-science applications combined with partnership with GCI, analysis and application of certain construction methods, and application of value engineering principles combined with our existing inventory of Teak to allow us to help the project to be completed with a 50% cost savings, when compared to the initial estimates.
While value engineering doesn’t always result in such a significant cost savings, on this particular project it did. And perhaps even more valuable than the bottom line is all of the lessons which we learned along the way.
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J. Gibson McIlvain Company
With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods. As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House and Capitol building. Contact a sales representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling toll free (800) 638-9100.