Carolinas AGC bestowed the 2019 Pinnacle Awards to three construction projects which enhance their communities, and the “Build with the Best” Pinnacle Award to an individual who spent her career assisting the construction industry. Pinnacle entries are judged on unique aspects and challenges; special values; project management; budget and schedule; and safety performance. Pinnacle winning projects enhance the Carolinas and advance the construction industry! 

The CAGC Pinnacle Awards competition is co-sponsored by CPA firm GreerWalker LLP and the law firm of Johnston, Allison & Hord, both based in Charlotte. The Pinnacle Award ceremony was held at CAGC's 99th Annual Convention in Aruba in January. 

Johnston, Allison & Hord    Greer Walker CPA

Project Awards

Surf City Bridge Replacement

Best Highway Project over $5 Million

The new $54 million Surf City Bridge replaced an unreliable 70-year-old steel truss swing bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway that connects Topsail Island to the coastal mainland. The new bridge accommodates continuous marine and vehicular traffic in addition to providing improved emergency services, safe pedestrian and bicycle access as well as an improved hurricane evacuation route. 

The greatest challenge of this project was the scheduling due to an annual fish moratorium which prohibits bottom-disturbing construction work from April 1 to September 30 each year. When an unforeseen regulatory issue presented itself, it delayed the trestle installation until November 2016, which then delayed the in-water work window by a third. Consequently, all employees and subcontractors committed to an aggressive 7 day, 24-hour schedule through the holiday season of 2016 in order to stay on track. 

Over the next 18 months the team completed the entire structure, which included only three and a half months to remove the old steel structure, concrete turn-table, concrete spans, and the two fender systems that protected the old structure from marine traffic. Special care was taken during demo operations to remove all portions without impacting the surrounding sensitive environment or any marine traffic using the Intracoastal Waterway. 

The project also included two round-a-bouts that were built immediately after bridge construction and the removal of the temporary access trestle. Roadway crews had to work an aggressive schedule in conjunction with the precise scheduling of subcontractors to make an early opening possible. Winter paving and pavement marking temperature restrictions added another hurdle to overcome.

Ultimately, over two and half years and nearly 300,000 man-hours later, Balfour Beatty delivered the highway and bridge project 289 days ahead of schedule with no lost time incidents and with no environmental infractions. Limited site access, weight restrictions on existing structures, annual fish moratorium restrictions, challenging weather conditions (including the aftermath of Hurricane Florence), and enormous tourist traffic couldn’t slow down this project or team. 

In addition to receiving a Pinnacle, the Surf City Bridge project was also designated as a “Building Star Site” by the North Carolina Department of Labor, “Project of the Year” by the Pile Driving Contractors Association, and it received the ENR Southeast 2019 Award of Merit.

Muter Construction Logo

Pinnacle Partners

  • Precision Walls
Landfall Nicklaus Clubhouse Renovation

Best Building Project Under $5 Million

Renovations to the Country Club of Landfall Nicklaus Clubhouse included improving the main gathering and hospitality areas, enlarging the dining area, and adding extensive outdoor dining and entertaining space.

Because it was vitally important that all areas of the clubhouse remain accessible to members, Muter reworked phases of construction to ensure the club remained fully operational during the entire project, including keeping the facility in pristine condition for the 100 events held during the 9-month construction schedule.  

The clubhouse sits along the Intracoastal Waterway in an environmentally protected area, allowing for limited construction access and staging areas. Access to the rear of the building where the terrace, patios and decks were to be installed, was limited to a 20’ x 150’ area directly adjacent to the silt fencing. The Muter team managed subcontractor access and supplier delivery on an hourly basis to accommodate cart traffic through the area to the golf courses - a tedious but environmentally necessary daily task for the team. 

Custom and high-end finishes abound in the Clubhouse, beginning with a specially made stone waterfall in the lobby reception area. Because many of the high-end finishes and features required long-lead times (such as the leathered stone counter tops manufactured in Montana, the fireplace mantel constructed from river wood harvested from the Cape Fear, and 40-foot trellises—specified to be one continuous timber—from East Texas) Muter’s preconstruction team had to coordinate with suppliers from across the country to ensure both preferred pricing and a workable schedule. 

To give you a better idea of the extremely high level of craftsmanship that went into the Nicklaus Clubhouse, to mimic the design intent of the vaulted ceilings, crews installed diamond-shaped waffled grid ceilings in the steakhouse. Lights were first installed in the center of the diamond; then the ceiling was lifted and the lights were aligned in the center. The process then required 5 additional weeks to frame and trim out the ceiling. Rather than the wood ceiling system specified in the original design, Muter installed 1,500 square feet of Linwood Ceiling System in both the bistro and the bar. The material presented a similar aesthetic as the original wood at a cost of $30,000 less and required extensive coordination with Pinnacle Partner Precision Walls. 

In addition to the accelerated schedule and limited site access, the Muter team faced lost time and damages due to Hurricane Florence in September, which delayed the project 21 days because workers were either displaced or couldn’t access the site due to road closures. In addition to trying to regain lost time, the owner added additional repair work from damages caused by the hurricane without extending the completion date. 

The Muter team worked 51,800 man-hours with no lost-time accidents while providing more than $1 million in value engineering to bring the project into budget. At the end of the project, Muter was able to return a shared savings of $180,000 to the Club—a huge gift considering the original project estimate was 30% over budget.
New Atlantic Contracting
Markor Art Center

Best Building Project over $5 Million

The Markor Art Center is a 4-story, 142,200-square-foot facility, home to the A. R. T. and Caracole furniture brands.                   

But this isn’t just any building - a breathtaking exterior features a unique façade that challenges the limits of non-linear architecture with 32 twisting panels. The west and north panels have a counter-clockwise twist while the south and east panels have a clockwise twist. The convergence of these panels occurs at the southwest corner and creates an iconic entry to the Caracole suite, where the panels have a “peeled apart” appearance. 

With Markor’s team mostly based in China, the language, distance, and cultural barriers proved initially to be a challenge. To overcome the language barrier, personal translators were utilized. However, this was a barrier in itself since complex construction terminology was incredibly difficult to convey. Many times, the construction and design teams had to refer to internet images, sketches, visits to buildings, and tours of vendor manufacturing facilities to ensure both sides were on the same page. Cultural differences were evident - but none so much as building code variances between the United States and China. 

One example was the desire to use a preferred vendor in China to fabricate the decorative metal railing for the rooftop dome. However, when it arrived on-site, the handrail didn’t meet North Carolina’s building code. The construction team modified the handrail to meet the building code while still maintaining the design. Also challenging where the curved walls at the Caracole’s entry, which were designed to be metal-framed sectionalized panels. Due to excessive structural loads, this was not possible and required the addition of structural steel. To achieve the original vision, the structural framing was fabricated off-site and then stick-assembled on-site. It consisted of laser-cut steel plates, sloped columns, and pre-bent, pre-cut structural metal studs that were uniquely piece marked for their location. 

The Markor Art Center was enrolled in the OSHA Consultative Service Program, which resulted in multiple on-site inspections from OSHA with no safety citations identified. Extensive safety planning was done, in collaboration with the City of High Point, to maintain pedestrian, vehicular, and on-site visitor/worker safety. 

The Markor Art Center has already been recognized with 2 significant awards, ENR Southeast Best Project in the Office/Retail/Mixed-Use Development Category and the National EIFS Hero Award for Design and Construction.

Build with the Best Pinnacle Award

Build with the Best Award

Norma HoustonThe Build with the Best award honors someone who is not a contractor but has contributed to the betterment of the construction industry and the overall economic welfare of the Carolinas.  
Carolinas AGC is proud to recognize Norma Houston, a lecturer in Public Law and Government at the University of North Carolina. 
Norma has been an invaluable resource to Carolinas AGC for many years, first working with Dave Simpson to develop the “Contracting for Construction and Design Course”. This course gave CAGC the opportunity to be the only association in front of local government purchasing and contracting officials across the state. It’s also an excellent platform for CAGC to share with local government the construction industry’s perspective and experiences with public bidding and procurement. It is truly a “win-win” for both sides.  

The knowledge and understanding of state law that Norma freely shares with us—particularly as it relates to government contracting and government contracts—has made her an asset to our industry. CAGC has sought Norma’s insight countless times on legislative and policy proposals. An expert on North Carolina’s general statutes and constitution, Norma can readily point out the various policy implications a bill may have and determine its constitutionality. On several occasions, her insight resulted in CAGC’s ability to defeat extremely damaging legislation.

Watch Norma's Thank You Video

Construction Excellence Awards

CAGC Construction Excellence Awards are recognized by the CAGC Pinnacle Award Judges as projects of distinction. 

Excellence Winners