Advanced Exterior Systems helps refresh and modernize Wilson Medical Center
(Picture above: Exterior restoration of Wilson Medical Center in progress)
Advanced Exterior Systems (AES) of Raleigh, North Carolina has built a reputation for crafting exterior wall solutions that are ideally suited to expressing the character of each individual building, helping to bring the vision of the architect and owner to life, while skillfully working to exceed their expectations.
Although operating independently day-to-day, AES is a proud subsidiary of Precision Walls, Inc. (PWI), a regional powerhouse specialty contractor headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, with satellite offices in South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. With nearly 1,000 employees and upwards of a quarter billion dollars in annual revenue, PWI is consistently recognized by Engineering News-Record as one of the Top 10 specialty contractors in the country. Like AES, they share a commitment to employee empowerment—indeed, both companies are 100% employee owned. They also share a Mission Statement— “Our Mission is building strong customer relationships and being the partner that helps drive your job.”
“Being part of the Precision Walls family is very important to AES,” said AES Chief Operating Officer Matt Chance. “They help bring brand recognition to the marketplace and they back us with excellent corporate support and resources.”
A refresh for Wilson Medical Center
Wilson Medical Center, a Duke Lifepoint Hospital, established in the 1960s, is the only hospital serving the residents of Wilson County, North Carolina, so when Duke LifePoint Healthcare offered to bring the facility into their growing family of healthcare organizations—and invest some $120 million in medical upgrades—the community warmly welcomed the opportunity.
The extensive, multi-phase effort—running from 2016-2022—included a substantial renovation and modernization inside and out to provide a superior experience to patients and stakeholders. The community would see upgrades including a new behavioral health unit, larger and more feature-rich patient rooms, larger operating and recovery rooms, a renovation of the ICU, and, most apropos to this discussion, a complete restoration to the Center’s exterior façade, now reflecting at a glance the high quality, contemporary level of care offered within.
“Although much of industry focus and experience is often on new out of the ground construction, AES is also doing a lot of building restoration projects,” noted Chance. “It’s a very strong trend and one which can provide a lot of benefits to the owners.”
This hands-on experience with building refreshes—and successfully managing their inherent challenges—is likely one of the reasons that AES was tapped by HMK Architects and general contractor Robins & Morton to handle the highly anticipated, highly visible exterior of the Medical Center. According to Chance, the challenges of restoration, as compared to new construction, are many. For example, the work must often be performed during ongoing operations, and the case of a hospital setting, special precautions must be taken to minimize traffic, noise and other distractions, and remain as unobtrusive as possible while keeping the work moving. In addition, there are extra steps such as an intensive surface cleaning, preparation and testing process that must be performed in order to ensure that the existing exterior is ready for the installation of the new cladding system. In this case, that meant the need to skillfully prepare an existing, long standing worn brick surface.
Fortunately, these are all challenges AES is adept, with their well-honed skills and experience at new constructions and restorations. No small part of the job, noted Chance, is deciding which manufacturer to partner with—the quality of their contributions can make or break any project. However, he said, once AES was brought in on the project, they knew right away which manufacturer would best be able to support them effectively onsite: Senergy by Master Builders Solutions.
“What led us to bring in Master Builders Solutions? Their proven product quality for restorations like this, as well as the customized logistical and delivery support that would help us roll with shifting conditions and limitations,” said Chance. “We knew 100% that we could count on Master Builders Solutions.”
Respecting hospital operations
“It’s important in a restoration project like this to be aware that the priority for the hospital is the patients and not the construction effort, and we need to accommodate that—keep the noise down, adjust the hours, do whatever it takes to make it as painless as possible and let them do their work,” explained Chance.
A huge part of that, Chance noted, is managing the huge volume of supplies and manufacturers that are always a part of any construction project.
“It’s important not to make patients and staff have to see a lot of industrial materials and bags of stuff in the way. That means that the manufacturer and their distributor have to take a ‘boutique approach’—make a lot of smaller, precisely on-schedule deliveries to ensure that we have enough product to keep the work moving but not so much that it disrupts traffic or people,” said Chance. “Frankly, not all manufacturers are able to do that, or are willing to work with us on that. We knew that the Master Builders Solutions team would be willing and able to do that—and that’s exactly what they did.”
And while AES noticed and appreciated the extra efforts from Master Builders Solutions, their extra efforts in turn were appreciated by their customers—the general contractor, owners and onsite staff.
“Our goal was to, as much as possible, be so inobtrusive that they didn’t even know we were there—and Master Builders Solutions definitely helped us achieve this,” said Chance. “We were glad to have received a lot of good feedback and accolades about our work throughout the process.”
Master Builders Solutions products help achieve beautiful results
According to Chance and AES Senior Project Manager Dijalma Galvao, the Channeled Adhesive CI Design, a durable and fully integrated wall system from Senergy a brand of Master Builders Solutions, is their go-to wall system for new construction projects, as well as for restoration projects.
“New construction or restoration projects, we have a high degree of confidence that Senergy wall systems will perform well because of our experience with them,” noted Galvao. “They’ve proven their long-term quality on job after job.”
Although every component of the wall system is important, the AES team noted that there was one particular aspect of the Senergy wall system that really stood out for them on this particular project.
“The finish coat carries the texture and the color, so it is what people see and respond to, and Senergy’s finish coat is designed to help everyone get the best results possible,” said Chance.
With the relative quality of the finish coat application very technician dependent, Chance notes that the Senergy finish coat is especially designed to help all technicians avoid the undesirable variations of cold joints or burning the finish by over-troweling.
“The Senergy finish coat is very ‘trowelable’ right out of the bucket,” he said. “It’s the perfect consistency and viscosity and gives us a head start toward a very good looking, high quality job. Plus, we find that the color is very consistent from bucket to bucket, further ensuring a smooth, even, consistently beautiful look all around the building.”
With the restored Duke LifePoint/Wilson Medical Center fully operational, the facility is getting kudos for function and aesthetics from all stakeholders—from owners to patients to staff.
“Our Mission—and our passion— is to always be building strong customer relationships,” noted Chance. “Master Builders Solutions always treats our delivery needs and every need of ours with the utmost of urgency, and gets the quality products we need, when we need them. That goes a long way toward helping us fulfill our Mission on every project.”
Wilson Medical Center, serving the Wilson, North Carolina community is modernized and restored into a best-in-class healthcare facility with Senergy's Channeled Adhesive CI Design. The fully integrated, code compliant wall system features continuous insulation (CI), weather barrier and drainage for optimum heat, air and moisture management.