The House on Kent Street Restoration Project entailed an 11,000 S/F gut renovation to an existing 19th Century Victorian residential house. The house was transformed into a home for families whose children are undergoing treatment at Children’s Hospital Boston, located nearby in the Longwood Medical area. The house, which was purchased by Children’s Hospital Boston from the Phi Gamma Pi fraternity, was restored with 21st century amenities, 22 bedrooms, a large kitchen, and common rooms. Construction also included historic preservation to the exterior facade and interior woodwork, a 5,000 S/F addition and the installation of a four-story elevator. In addition, extensive site work surrounding the perimeter of the house was performed by the G. Greene site division

Challenges to the Project

1) Residential Neighborhoods
The project was located within a neighborhood of Brookline that required G. Greene Construction to work within sensitive guidelines. One of the neighbors adjacent to the property is a Ronald McDonald House whose occupants are very susceptible to bacteria in airborne dust. Because of this, the project team had to coordinate all outdoor construction activities when the Ronald McDonald House was not occupied by patients. Working closely with the staff of the Ronald McDonald House to develop a schedule, the G. Greene Construction team completed all exterior, demolition, site work and landscaping within a three week window.

2) Historic Commission
Because the project was a historic structure in the Town of Brookline, the exterior had to be restored to compliment the neighboring houses and keep the same appearance as the original house which was built in 1889. Working closely with the Town of Brookline, the façade was renovated with historically accurate materials and colors to blend in with the neighboring properties. The historic commission also played a role in evaluating the overall appearance of the house, making sure that it met all requirements both inside and out. The original woodwork was retained where possible. Templates were produced from deteriorated woodwork to create accurate substitutions. In areas of full deterioration historic photographs were used to develop templates for artisans to recreate copies of ornate carvings.

3) Existing House
Structurally Deficient Due to years of neglect and poor construction practice, the existing structure was weak and failing in many areas. G. Greene rebuilt 50% of the structure of the house before reconstruction could commence on the project. By doing this, the team was able to save the owner over $500,000 by selectively replacing the structure instead of demolishing the existing structure and rebuilding it from the ground up.

4) Mold Abatement
Due to a substantial flood several years prior to the renovation, the entire structure was contaminated with mold spores. Every square inch of the structure had to be aggressively scrubbed and rinsed in order to remove mold spores. Following this procedure, the structure was extensively tested for mold presence, and in many cases, areas had to be re-cleaned due to persistent mold growth.

5) Time Constraints
Because of the weak structural integrity of the building and severe mold contamination, the project fell five months behind schedule while the team worked tirelessly to make the property a safe and secure facility. G. Greene Construction was able to overcome this challenge and deliver the project to the owner on time and on budget.

Collaborative Measures

1) Prior to construction, G. Greene Construction and Martin Batt Architects met with the local neighborhood group on a weekly basis to fully disclose the intent of the project and adjusted the scope of work to respond to neighborhood concerns. Also included in this team was The Next Generation Developers Task Force. They are a group of real estate and marketing experts who work in and around Boston to help raise money to support projects such as this. The project needed neighborhood support as zoning relief was required for the work to proceed. A neighborhood committee was established that included project managers, fundraisers, volunteers and user groups. This complex group was guided through the project in a manner that allowed for full involvement as well as an understanding of the process. Everyone involved felt they made a valuable contribution to the success of the project.

2) All team members were committed to a communication process that realized the full potential of the project. Senior representatives from G. Greene Construction, Martin Batt Architects and Children’s Hospital Boston were present at all project meetings so that issues that arose could be addressed immediately without delaying the schedule.

3) In addition to the initial value engineering process, G. Greene Construction, Children’s Hospital Boston and Martin Batt Architects constantly evaluated the scope of work that could be eliminated without having an impact on the overall intent or appearance of the house. This resulted in a savings of over $165,000 to the owner.

Special Client Needs

1) Due to the extensive unforeseen and latent conditions of the 140 year old house, Children’s Hospital Boston required a contractor that was both knowledgeable and quick to resolve issues as they arose. With coordination from Martin Batt Architects and various engineers, G. Greene Construction was able to quickly ascertain various issues and present options for resolving the matter in a cost efficient manner.

2) Due to Children’s Hospital Boston’s evolving needs in terms of scope, G. Greene Construction had to be prepared to make changes promptly to accommodate last minute requests in order to keep the schedule on track.

3) G. Greene Construction collaborated with Martin Batt Architects and engineers, to assist with the selection of supplementary equipment and infrastructure to provide Children’s Hospital Boston with a highly efficient and useful facility.

4) The project site was often visited by dignitaries and project donors as an effort to continually raise money for the project. G. Greene Construction coordinated with Children’s Hospital Boston and all subcontractors to arrange meeting areas inside the construction zone to ensure that the site was constantly monitored for safety.

Sensitive Project Community

1) The Ronald McDonald House next door needed special precautions taken so as not to cause any harm to the patients that were living next door. G. Greene Construction protected their building from airborne dust and bacteria by sealing the windows and vents.

2) Our project team established an excellent relationship with the neighbor next door to the project. With their help we were able to implement a plan that allowed construction workers access to the side of the house through their yard and driveway. In return, G. Greene Construction re-paved the neighbor’s driveway and landscaped their yard.

3) G. Greene Construction had to maintain special working hours to keep noise to a minimum. This meant starting construction only after 7:30am and shutting down if the noise became too disruptive.

Innovative Construction Methods

1) G. Greene Construction utilized fiberglass reinforced plastic paneling replicas of the existing frieze panels that surrounded the exterior of the building. By doing this, production time and cost were cut down dramatically. The time it would have taken to hand carve the panel would have been upwards of 4 months, but by utilizing the FRP panel, G. Greene Construction was able to produce the panels in just two months at a fraction of the cost of the hand carving.

2) Epoxy injection was utilized on the existing structural beams to reinforce the beams rather than remove and replace all of them which would have been a much more costly endeavor. The epoxy injection procedure saved nearly $30,000 for the owner and proved to be another efficient method of keeping up with the strict schedule.

3) Existing in-place millwork was integrated into the new wall sheathing, including shimming and padding the studs as needed. By leaving the existing millwork in-place G. Greene Construction was able to cut two months out of the millwork installation schedule.

4) G. Greene Construction adhered to a 75% recycling rate with the debris generated from construction. This allowed for a cleaner and more environmentally efficient construction site.