El Paso Energy

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PROJECT OVERVIEW

Marek Location:  
Project Location:  
Houston, Texas
Project Sector:  
Office Building/Headquarters
Architect:  
Gensler
General Contractor:  
Gilbane

The El Paso Renovation Project was a multiyear/multi phased project that consisted of remodeling the building from the sub basement all the way to the 32nd floor, moving the credit union to a new location in the downtown tunnels and remodeling the Travis Place parking garage lobbies. Even thought this was a 4 year project there still was a completion date. At the beginning of the project of this duration it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the completion date was met. Many would say that this renovation was a long time coming. The building was completed in 1963 and this was the first major renovation of all the floors. With the installation of High efficiency HVAC systems additional office space was added to each floor to include changing the 31st and 32nd floor from full mechanical floors to half mechanical and half executive floors. One of many major challenges was the construction of a temporary exterior wall on the balconies of the 31st and 32nd floor. This allowed the existing exterior walls to be demolished and the new exterior walls to be installed without endangering the pedestrians and workmen below, while at the same time providing a weatherproof environment so that the interior construction could continue. Another challenge was noise control. The ceiling height of the first floor is 27 feet and with the hard finishes in this area (glass, stone and back painted glass) noise would becomes an issue. Marek Brothers Systems install 5,100 square feet of an acoustical plaster (BASWAphon) in order to minimize the sound bouncing around the first floor. On the executive levels (31st and 32nd floor) we installed 15,490 square feet of sound proof drywall (Quietrock) isolating the mechanical rooms from the executive offices and conference rooms.

One of the more challenging aspects of this project was keeping this building and the downtown tunnel system fully operational and safe for all the building occupants and visitors while going through this bottom to top renovation. Marek had to construct temporary tunnels in the down town tunnel system in order for the public to continue to use the tunnel system on a day to day basis without being impacted by the construction. We had to modify these tunnels as the construction progressed and the public had to be rerouted in order to keep them safe. These were not your ordinary temporary pedestrian tunnels. These tunnels were constructed out of 2 x 6 wood studs and joist, drywall walls, plywood decks, lighting, carpet floors, and paint. During the course of construction the project site passed the 1,000,000 man hour mark without an accident. This was achieved because of a team effort from all interested parties with a commitment to safety.

Thanks to a wide range of finishes that are throughout this project, it is hard to see the workmanship that Marek Brothers put into this project. Just from looking who would be able to tell that on the 2nd floor there are 38 feet tall interior walls, there is a unistrut support system above the drywall ceiling capable of handling several thousand pounds of signage and of course all the Quietrock that was installed at the executive levels.

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