Design and Construction at Omni Resort and Country Club - Barton Creek, TX | WGI

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Design and Construction at Omni Resort and Country Club – Barton Creek, Tx

By Chris Drake, Team Leader

BIG RED DOG, a division of WGI, teamed up with The Beck Group for a $150 Million renovation and expansion of the Omni Barton Creek Resort. Located in southwest Austin, Texas, the project includes the renovation of an existing guest tower, restaurant, member’s clubhouse, central laundry plant, pool area, guest check-in area, and clubhouse. In addition, several new buildings will be constructed:  a new guest tower, parking garage, conference center and ballroom, golf pro shop, and events pavilion.  BIG RED DOG, a division of WGI provided MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) engineering services for the project.

Figure 1: Entrance to the resort and country club

During design, weekly ‘Big Room’ meetings were held at the architect’s office. Architectural, construction, MEP, structural, civil, landscape, food service, and communications team members were all present to discuss incremental design milestones, deadlines, and any ongoing design or budget issues that needed to be resolved. These regular meetings helped to facilitate communication among all of the team members and helped resolve issues in a timely manner.

The delivery method for the MEP design on this project was “design assist” between the MEP engineers and contractor. This is a form of design practice that allows the contractor to be heavily involved in the later stages of the process by providing insight into cost and constructability implications of different design configurations. Meetings between the engineers and contractors were frequent.  The contractor’s BIM team utilized our MEP drawings and design knowledge to construct 3D plans for the field. It was often a give-and-take process between the engineer and contractor to divvy out scope responsibility to ensure work was not overlapped and scope holes were avoided.

Figure 2: View from janitor closet looking up at the mechanical mezzanine

An existing pavilion space was renovated to become a restaurant. Many existing air handling and fan coil units serving the existing space were in poor condition. The design team worked closely with the resort’s maintenance personnel to see which equipment could be reused, relocated, or replaced. This proved to be a balancing act that included factors such as equipment condition, budgetary constraints, and re-use practicality. In some cases, the resort’s maintenance personnel were able to make the replacement a part of the yearly up-keep budget, as to not affect the current project’s budget.

The Omni Barton Creek Resort utilizes a central cooling system with condensers located near the entrance to the resort. As part of the design, the condensers were replaced to provide an increased capacity to support the additional buildings in the resort. It was imperative that the design team account for the size of both the existing resort’s cooling load and the new cooling load’s central cooling system. This was challenging due to the fact that architectural programming was not finalized prior to determining what size cooling plant to provide.

Figure 3: The central chiller plant. In the background, elevated tennis courts with parking below.

Another challenge was replacing a domestic hot water boiler in the existing tower. The existing conventional boilers were removed and replaced with a high-efficiency condensing boiler rack system. With the existing boiler room being located on the lowest level of the existing tower, it took much coordination to find a route for intake and combustion flues to be routed. It was necessary for the architect to design furr-outs and chases to get the piping to the exterior of the building.

Figure 4: New high-efficiency, condensing water heater rack system to serve existing guest tower.

From weekly meetings with the design team and contractors early on in construction, the team was able to get a comfort level with one another and were able to hash-out problems as they arose.

Figure 5: Stand-alone pavilion for private events.

In closing, you can be sure that we will be with you during the entire design and construction process to ensure that a quality product is delivered to the owner.

The Omni Barton Creek resort is scheduled to re-open in early summer 2019.

Contact us today to get more information on how we can help with your next project!

About Author

Chris Drake

Team Leader

Chris Drake is a Mechanical/Plumbing Team Leader at WGI. He received a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Texas. His professional experience includes over 12 years of design for plumbing and HVAC systems in the commercial, institutional, sports, multifamily, and manufacturing markets.

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