Community organizer Michael Mullins of Cranesport, LLC, wanted to preserve Hedges Hall, a three-story, 20,000 sf conference center that was slated for demolition. His vision was to relocate and repurpose the building as a community center in Northport, Maine. To do this, Michael and his team needed to disassemble the entire the building piece by piece.
Challenges in the Field
Unfortunately, the site at which the disassembled building was to be relocated wasn’t determined yet. This meant that the team needed to deconstruct the building, then package and store the building components until the new site was ready.
They soon discovered that there was no practical way to efficiently label and organize tens of thousands of building pieces before they were taken down and temporarily packed away.
“In the beginning, we started going around the building and labeling everything with a label maker, but it was very time consuming,” recalls Project Coordinator Sage Curtis. “Another problem was if something was changed or the carpenters taking down the building had moved something to a different spot, the entire system would be thrown off.”
The team had considered using barcodes, but had no organized system to contain the data for this unusual adaptive reuse project.
Another issue was locating the exact position of each component when it came time for reconstruction. Referencing building plans in an attempt to match the labeled numbers on each piece was not going to work as there were too many building components to record on one drawing.
A Time Saving Solution
In researching a better solution, Mullins found Layer.
“I was so excited when I found out we were going to be using the Layer app,” reports Curtis. “I had spent a week labeling and thought this was just going to be a nightmare to do.”
Getting started, the Layer team helped Mullins and his team create their own customized documentation workflow. They created a Layer category for each interior elevation and then built a customizable form to capture unique data like a component’s type, photo, and barcode.
They then uploaded AutoCAD elevation drawings into Drawing View. As Curtis walked around tagging each building component with a barcode, her colleague would drop an annotation pin on the drawing or photo and then scan that component’s barcode. A Layer element was created with each pin that was then automatically linked to the scanned barcode and the component’s location on the elevation drawing or photo.
While it took time setting up around 500 barcodes for just the upper and lower trim in one room, it was a drop in the bucket compared to the time and difficulty involved in using just a label maker.
In terms of time saved, Curtis estimates for her work hours alone saving several weeks using Layer. “Layer will be another time-saver when we rebuild the building. When we come across an item, we’ll scan the barcode into Layer and know exactly where in the building it needs to be placed.”
Building components barcoded and scanned
Labor savings in the digital documentation of components
Estimated labor savings in the re-assemblage of components
About Cranesport Development
Cranesport, LLC, is a commercial real estate and construction company in Camden, Maine, with a focus on renovating, construction and enhancing existing buildings. They target adaptive reuse and preserving building structures and materials.
Hedges Hall Deconstruction & Relocation; Northport, ME
→ Complex deconstruction of a 20,000 sf conference center
→ Tagging, tracking & packaging of 3,000+ building components
→ Coordination between 15+ deconstruction personnel