Monday, February 13, 2017

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"


On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article:
At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.
Skanska jabs back

Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows the company jabbing back:
The challenge with a modular building is that all of the building’s major components, whether constructed in the field or the factory, must come together and be assembled at one location much like the frame and components of a car comes together for assembly on the factory floor. Workers on a factory floor should not be improvising or force fitting components. Accordingly, the designer of a modular building, like the designer of car, must not only consider how each component will be designed, but how all of the components will fit together and ultimately be assembled into one, integrated whole. As a result, the modular building designer has a much greater obligation than the designer of a conventional building that simply includes some prefabricated elements.
When Skanska made its agreement with Forest City, Forest City had claimed that it had "Cracked the Code" of modular design and construction. Skanska had no design responsibility for the B2 Project. In fact, Forest City agreed that Skanska was entitled to rely upon the information supplied to it by and on behalf of Forest City. Thus, Skanska expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment.
(Emphasis added)

Lawsuits pending

They're still suing each other, by the way. Two of the three legal cases in which Forest City and former partner Skanska are jousting about cost overruns have been adjourned until 6/28/17. The third case has not (yet) been rescheduled for that date.

The two cases are:
ATLANTIC YARDS B2 OWNER, LLC vs. SKANSKA USA BUILDING INC.
SKANSKA USA BUILDING, INC. vs. ATLANTIC YARDS B2 OWNER, LLC
The other case is:
FCRC MODULAR, LLC vs. SKANSKA MODULAR LLC

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