Golden Construction Relies on Oldcastle SurePods to Fulfill Owner’s Vision for New Fair Haven Retirement Community

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Pre-fabricated bathroom pods speed construction while helping create a genuine home-like setting for seniors in Birmingham, Alabama.

We needed to bring speed to the project to drive financing cost down and create room in the budget for items important to meeting the owner’s vision for these buildings.

Methodist Homes of Alabama and Northwest Florida has a compelling and compassionate vision for senior living at its new Fair Haven Retirement Community in Birmingham: to create a genuine home-like setting, while providing elders with clear opportunities to direct their own lives.

The senior housing provider recently opened a renovated and expanded Fair Haven campus, including construction of three new buildings with 143 units of assisted living, long-term care and short-term stay, along with refurbishing existing buildings. The $42 million project was designed to accommodate a small group of residents, with each household featuring its own kitchen, dining room, living rooms and private sleeping quarters.

Achieving this vision required the general contractor, Golden Construction, to pursue innovative construction methods. “We needed to bring speed to the project to drive financing cost down and create room in the budget for items important to meeting the owner’s vision for these buildings,” said Hunter Benton, project manager for Golden Construction. These features included cove lighting, in-room heating/cooling controls and other finishes for a home-like environment.

To trim two months from the construction schedule and reduce project costs when developing its bid, Golden specified Oldcastle SurePods pre-fabricated bathroom units. In addition to speeding construction, Benton noted, “Having the bathrooms prefabricated offsite gave us an opportunity to combat the increasing workload the market put on the labor resources in our area.”

In contrast to traditional bathroom construction methods, Oldcastle SurePods consolidate more than 10 construction trades – including electrical, plumbing and finishing work – into one prefabricated product. The modular bathroom units are easy to lift, place and connect, which helps save contractors and building owners time and money, while improving bathroom quality.

Given the mobility challenges of some Fair Haven residents, as part of the community’s homey bathrooms, the project team specified code compliant roll in showers (model LES6337A75B) from Bestbath, which are both functional and beautiful. To ensure safe floors leading to the baths, Golden and Oldcastle worked together to develop floors for the bathroom pods with tighter tolerances than required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). “Oldcastle did a fantastic job working with us and the design team to integrate the new bathroom design into an existing design,” said Benton.

When asked if Golden would use Oldcastle SurePods again, Benton said, “Absolutely and without a doubt!”

Just as it did with the integration of the Bestbath roll in showers, Oldcastle SurePods is able to work with different products and specifications to meet architects’ and owners’ specific needs.

For building teams that might harbor doubts about modular bathrooms, Benton said, “Prefabrication is tough, but so is building traditionally. With pre-fab, when you figure it out, you give yourself an opportunity to succeed on a whole new level.” To be successful with pre-fabricated materials, Benton explained that it is important to set-up project scopes with subcontractors to avoid any duplicate pricing or added contingency related simply to the unknown. For pre-fabricated bathroom pods to provide the most benefit for a job, Benton believes the sweet spot for Golden currently is in the 50+ bathrooms range, and anticipates lowering that on future jobs.

As important as faster construction is, a quality bathroom is equally crucial for resident satisfaction. “Everyone we came in contact with bragged about the quality of Oldcastle SurePods,” said Benton.

Golden’s innovative approach to the Fair Haven project demonstrates how the contractor lives its motto of “building people, revolutionizing the construction process.”

Watch a video of Golden Construction’s installation of the pre-fabricated bathroom pods and hear more from Hunter Benton:

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