Off 2 A Solid Start
The Architectural & Site Concrete Division of Bomel Construction has begun 2015 with a pair of the largest projects in its four-year history. The Del Amo Fashion Center job in Torrance will be completed by October 1, while the Veterans Affairs project in Loma Linda will wrap up next April. The two contracts total about $8.5 million.

ANAHEIM HILLS, Calif.––April 28, 2015.––Shawn Devine, vice president of Bomel Construction’s Architectural & Site Concrete Division, was cautiously optimistic last fall about his team’s chances of landing a $4 million contract from Walsh Construction for a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient healthcare facility in the Inland Empire. His intuition turned into reality when the division started working at the 38-acre Loma Linda site last December.

The great news continued in the form of an additional $4.5 million site and decorative concrete contract from The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., the general contractor for the $200-million expansion of the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, where Anaheim Hills-based Bomel Construction is nearing completion of a 1,950-stall parking structure.

The Loma Linda and Torrance projects are the largest in the history of the Architectural & Site Concrete Division, which was established in 2011. Moreover, these two contracts alone exceed last year’s total sales figure for the division by more than $3 million.

“We’re going like gangbusters,” Devine said earlier this month when asked to asses his division’s status. “We averaged about three jobs a month last year; we’ll be working on 14 projects just this month. We sold a lot last year, and this year everything is coming to fruition.”

One peach of a job is in the small San Bernardino County city of Loma Linda, where Devine’s division has already completed about half of its work to support next year’s grand opening of a 271,000-square-foot ambulatory care center. The three-story, steel-framed outpatient healthcare facility is being built for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs by Walsh Construction, which also serves as the owner under a 20-year leaseback agreement. The $117-million building is projected to be home to a staff of 500 and surrounded by about 2,000 parking spaces on a roomy Redlands Boulevard site, not far from the Loma Linda University Medical Center where Bomel completed a seven-level parking structure last year.

Walsh Construction awarded Bomel the complete site-concrete scope, totaling about 17,000 yards. “It includes everything outside the building, from the parking lot, curbs and gutters, concrete pedestrian pathways, vehicular areas, truck loading docks, a ring road and entry paving to the hospital,” Devine explained.

A big chunk of work is the 850,000-square-foot concrete parking lot that has been divided into four phases. Bomel’s crews, managed by Ivan Marin and Steve Devine, will range from 12 to 24 workers at any time during the schedule. Workers have already completed the south and east parking lots. Bomel’s contract includes the hiring of a grading contractor, Howard Contracting, which provided compaction and crushed miscellaneous base.

Working at a spacious site has its advantages.

“It’s such a big site, we can be working on the parking lots without impeding any other subcontractors,” Devine said. “Walsh is strategically planning our work scope in a counterclockwise direction around the building structure. Because it takes so much time to pour all the concrete and do all the processes we have to do, we started in the southwest corner and work in a counterclockwise method around the building. The other trades are moving in the same direction with us.”

While the majority of the job is natural gray concrete with a broom finish, there are decorative elements, including saw cutting and exposed aggregates with a top-cast finish. Concrete thicknesses will vary: the fire access road and the loading dock require a depth of 5 ½ inches, the parking lot is 5 inches and pedestrian walkways are 4 inches. Concrete was chosen over asphalt due to the much longer life cycle of concrete and lower maintenance costs.

With a completion date set for next April, maintaining an aggressive schedule is the biggest challenge.

“All four parking lots will be completed this year. As the completion of the building draws near, we’ll finish the ring road, which is 122,500 square feet,” Devine explained. “Then we’ll do the concrete for the building’s perimeter and everything adjacent to the building. We’ll be on the site until it opens next year.”

Walsh Construction recently praised Bomel for its ability to keep up with the fast-paced nature of this project.

“They’re doing a fantastic logistical job so far. They’re a fine group. I am very impressed,” said Jim Major, Walsh’s project superintendent.

Major, who has been in the construction industry for three decades, said Devine has been very professional in terms of explaining costs and being forthright.

“We had some other bidders––some lower, some higher, some comparable and qualified, including shopping it with ourselves. We do this work, too. We just felt it was best for us to go with Bomel. Their resume of working over at Loma Linda was a feather in their cap, too,” Major explained.

“Once we picked them, we met Steve, Ivan and the team, and their professionalism has carried through in terms of making the dates, doing what they say and having a can-do attitude. I can’t say enough good things.”

Successfully completing an aggressive schedule with a wide variety of challenging work at the expanding Del Amo Fashion Center will also require the utmost in professionalism. Already one of the largest malls in the nation, the Del Amo site is bursting with activity as workers battle to erect an additional 540,000 square feet of retail space––including a 140,000-square foot Nordstrom building, and the four-level, Bomel-built parking structure before the year-end holiday season.

With an average of 22 to 28 Bomel workers on the site, “we’re going to hit the ground running this month and not stop,” Devine said in early April. Bomel started working at the 60-acre mall in February and will be done by October 1.

While the scope of the project includes intricate median, perimeter and retaining walls and curb and gutter work, a tough segment that starts in June focuses on wave-patterned decorative concrete with various finishes at the mall’s five main entries.

The project has been divided into about 20 phases, with six areas already completed. Crews are now working on curbs and gutters and an undulating 227-foot-long median wall at the mall’s Hawthorne Boulevard entrance. Building the artistic wall, which ranges in height from 2 ½ to 5 ½ feet, is taking some careful craftsmanship.

“It’s a bit tricky because it’s finished with plaster, but we’re driving the overall look with our formwork,” said Bomel Project Manager Ivan Marin. It’s a low wall that mushrooms on top. It’ll take about three weeks to get the wall and wall cap poured.”

The complexity of the entire project is the main reason why Whiting-Turner hired Bomel. “We were selected over another subcontractor who was already working on site due to our capabilities and the fact that Whiting-Turner is very satisfied with our performance on the Del Amo parking structure under construction,” Marin said.

Del Amo Fashion Center’s new perimeter walls will be far from ordinary. “Some are illuminated,” Marin explained. “There is a lot of architectural focus on the way these walls look. The tops actually follow the profile of the street, so if you were driving along Hawthorne Boulevard, the walls’ height is uniform with a car’s height.”

Two creative features inside the mall will test Bomel’s expertise. In the first-floor’s gathering areas, crews will be building unusual oval seat walls that cantilever on one side. A terraced seating area will be constructed on the landing of the grand staircase. “This was work turned down by another contractor on the job because of its complexity and challenges and given to Bomel due to its capabilities,” Marin said.

Bomel’s in-house engineers are doing all the layouts. “We can create our own shop drawings and give to our own field crew,” explained Marin, who was hired by Bomel last year. “These serpentine walls require very experienced detailers, and we have them. It’s one of the main reasons why Whiting-Turner asked us to handle this project. They told us they knew we can get this kind of work done.”

By the time the Del Amo project is finished in the fall, Bomel will have poured about 4,700 yards of concrete, with decorative concrete accounting for 900 yards, executed during a lightning-fast schedule.

“The schedule often demands moving our crews from one area to the other very rapidly. And we have to have multiple crews doing the same type of work in different areas at the same time. Flexibility and quick coordination are extremely critical skills on a job like this,” Marin added.

About Bomel Construction Co.: Established in 1970, Anaheim Hills, Calif.-based Bomel Construction is widely regarded as the dean of parking structure construction in the West. The family-owned business generated $135 million in total revenue in 2014. Its other current high-profile projects include Del Amo Fashion Center (1,950 stalls), Cal Poly Pomona (1,800) and Plaza San Clemente (1,167), with several additional parking structures set to begin construction this year. Bomel Construction, a design-build concrete contractor, has completed major parking structures for developers and owners of many of the largest shopping malls, casinos, stadiums, high-rise office buildings, colleges and universities throughout the West. Bomel has regional offices in Carlsbad, Calif., and Las Vegas.

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