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Orascom subsidiary completes largest student housing complex in US

Weitz, a wholly owned subsidiary of Egyptian contractor Orascom Construction, has completed the largest student housing development in the United States

The Weitz Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Egypt-headquartered contracting giant, Orascom Construction, has completed the largest student housing development in the United States.

The Park West accommodation complex is located in College Station, Texas, on the campus of Texas A&M University. Construction commenced in Q3 2015 and completed within two years.

The 20.2ha, 3,406-unit project was constructed as part of a public-private partnership (PPP) between Weitz; Texas-based developer, Servitas; and the Texas A&M University System.

Weitz handed over Park West to Servitas in July 2017, one week ahead of schedule. The developer will operate and manage the facility as part of a 30-year agreement with the Texas A&M University System.

Shane Bauer, vice president of Weitz, said: “Most projects of this size have a much longer duration. To finish in two years, we engaged our in-house experts and sub-contractor partners early in the design-build process, and also implemented [Lean and Last Planner] construction practices, keeping all parties fully committed throughout the building process.”

At the peak of development activities, more than 1,000 construction professionals were working at the Park West on a daily basis. During the course of the project, Weitz used the Lean and Last Planner systems to directly supervise 58 sub-contractors, and indirectly oversee the activities of 50 others.

Weitz also used building information modelling (BIM) to identify constraints and clashes with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) and structural sub-contractors before work was conducted. Virtual reality (VR) and Bluebeam technologies were also employed in the construction process; more than 370,000m2 of Park West was replicated in a virtual environment to facilitate timely decision-making.

READ: Egypt’s Orascom completes US fertiliser plant

Rafael Figueroa, chief executive officer of Servitas, commented: “Park West is a milestone project for us and for the Texas A&M University System, which will see benefits from this incredible development for many years to come. We are exceptionally proud of this project and thankful for Weitz’s part in delivering such a beautiful development.”

Phillip Ray, vice chancellor of business affairs for the Texas A&M University System, added: “This [PPP] has led to the best student housing development in the country – maybe in the world – to be constructed without the university taking on any debt, as well as allowing the system to strengthen our core mission of teaching, research, and service.”

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Construction Week - Issue 754
Nov 23, 2019