Hospitable Debut


40 HyattI 400Orlando-based Finfrock Construction, Inc. is operating as developer, contractor, and architect of the new $30 million waterfront Hyatt House in Naples, Fla. The hotel will feature 183 suite-style rooms with a resort-style pool, indoor/outdoor cocktail lounge, marina, and adjoining parking garage. It is scheduled for opening in early 2016.

Finfrock is applying its recently introduced DualDeck building system, which integrates mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems into precast concrete panels with unprecedented flexibility. Fabricated on a new precast/prestressed line at the producer’s Apoka, Fla., headquarters, the DualDeck suits the upscale design and luxury amenities of a premium lodging property, while significantly reducing on-site disruption and compressing construction schedules.

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Finfrock is manufacturing 192 DualDeck pieces at its Apopka, Fla. facility for the 183-room Hyatt House Naples, located in Naples, Fla. Erecting is scheduled to be completed by mid-October with the riverfront hotel slated to open in early 2016.

To accommodate the new line, Finfrock built a 70,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility at its 93-acre campus, just outside Orlando. The building is designed to double in size if expansion is needed in the future. It contains two 25-ton overhead cranes, jig tables, three 400-ft. long forms (two top forms, one bottom), laser projector, custom manufacturing equipment, as well as offices. The producer is purchasing another piece of equipment soon to free up a crane, allowing more pours per day, notes Daniel (Dan) J. Finfrock, executive vice president and chief manufacturing officer, Finfrock Industries.


It was a 10-year process for the DualDeck to become a reality. Finfrock estimates that the company went through 50 different variations, and continues to find tradeoffs to limit site work. For instance, layout of stud walls using a 3D laser didn’t come about until pour 6 or 7 for the Hyatt House project after an employee’s suggestion. One person is now able to mark the form for the studs in less than 15 minutes utilizing the laser. This saves a lot of time in the field and provides better accuracy compared to using a measuring tape.

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The top panel of a DualDeck is lifted from numerous points (up to 22 on certain spans) and is moved over to a flipper located in the center of the production area. Once lowered onto the flipper, suction plates will adhere to the panel before it is inverted.

The DualDeck is comprised of two flat slabs joined by steel tension and compression members, resulting in a composite truss that when placed in a multistory building, such as the Hyatt House Naples, becomes the finished ceiling of one level and the floor of the level above. Because panels are poured upside down and flipped over, both sides of the product are perfectly flat. There is almost no camber in the product. “A double tee can camber 1–2 inches; this product may have a ½ inch of camber if that,” says Dan Finfrock.

The interstitial space between the two concrete surfaces provides an area for the mechanical, electric, plumbing, and fire protection subsystems. These are placed during DualDeck fabrication. Finfrock utilizes StructureWorks’ technology (see sidebar on page 42) for the 3D modeling and laser projection for placement of the utilities. Subcontractors for the plumbing and electrical components also utilize the 3D laser, which is calibrated every two hours and has an accuracy of ½ mm, to set the height and position. Putting the mechanical, electric, plumbing, and fire protection components inside the DualDeck in a controlled, CAD/CAM environment is a huge benefit because it speeds up construction, guarantees accuracy, and minimizes building obsolescence.

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An inverted top panel is assessed and test fitted to ensure that pipes and firestops line up. Once satisfied, a truck will come in and pour the concrete for the bottom panel. A vibrator shakes the concrete out so it spreads evenly. The top panel will then be lowered onto the bottom. Jigs are used to make sure the product goes in and is squared to mate. The DualDeck has to be dimensionally tolerant so accuracy is at 1/16 inch or less.
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For the Hyatt project, DualDeck spans are typically 40–65 ft. long and 12 ft. wide, with a 16–24 in. depth. Narrower and longer panels can be poured. The company typically pours 400 linear feet, 12 ft. wide every other day for the hotel project. The top prestressed concrete panel is cast first and after curing for 12 hours is inverted and mated with the highly prestressed bottom member. A self-consolidating mix is used on both the top and bottom panels, the latter using Fibermesh-dosed mixes. The truss consists of vertical angles spaced approximately 2 to 3 feet on center in each direction, and sloping D-20 deformed wires connecting the top of one angle to the bottom of an adjacent angle. A span can have up to 11 rows of trusses; all are gang pressed to set. No welding is done until the end assembly for the entry tunnel to the interstitial space.


Finfock Industries has already received positive feedback from potential owners that see DualDeck as minimizing their chance of having building obsolescence. With cast-in-place concrete there is only so many places one can core drill but with the DualDeck, the interstitial space allows someone to crawl inside. Typically, if a building is going to be completely renovated, an x-ray machine will need to be brought in to find the location of the utilities. However, with the use of StructureWorks technology, Finfrock can pull up files illustrating the precise location of these components. Furthermore, the product’s long-span capabilities make interior layout and future renovations much more flexible since there are fewer load-bearing walls as there are with tunnel forms.

Another benefit is that there is a lot of overlap. Individual drawings are being produced while pieces are being erected, reducing a lot of trades and onsite disruption. Fewer onsite workers are needed, which is great for small, tight sites. Since the entire building as well as the DualDeck is modeled using StructureWorks software prior to manufacturing, Finfrock can see if there will be any clashes, eliminating field fixes. Initial cost of the DualDeck itself is equal to or slightly above a double tee but, the producer notes, all the tradeoffs make it worth it. Laser deployment on wall production in some cases has saved 50 percent on labor. Finfrock is still waiting to see what it will be for the DualDeck but estimates a 40-50 percent savings.

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The finished DualDecks are stored outside with 4×8 sheets of Styrofoam situated in-between each one. Finfrock can store 160 at varying heights (maximum four high) at its facility.
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Precast producers around the world are beginning to embrace Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) tools as the companywide productivity-boosting tools they are designed to be. Those tools include: 3D modeling software, product management software, laser manufacturing technology, and drawing-free manufacturing software.

Finfrock Industries, Inc., sees the recent technology advances as just the tip of the iceberg. It utilizes StructureWorks, LLC’s BIM software as a tool to increase productivity in all areas. StructureWorks allows the precaster to drive 3D laser projection systems, rebar benders, and other custom automated machinery. Finfrock uses the software to push structure and product information directly from the model into project management, ERP systems or other database systems the company utilizes.

The company also uses StructureWorks’ PieceTracker program that records the status of each precast member from entry into design until release from the crane. Note Finfrock Industries’ Dan Finfrock, “PieceTracker gives everyone in the company real-time, accurate information, when they need it and where they need it.” He credits the StructureWorks software and laser technology with reducing labor costs by more than 50 percent and reducing errors by more than 90 percent.

StructureWorks technology has proved instrumental in commercializing DualDeck. Company chairman Robert Finfrock affirms, “Without BIM manufacturing the DualDeck would not be possible.” His company utilizes laser technology to position mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems in the product. Casting these systems into a very efficient structural product during manufacturing compresses schedules and minimizes site disruption. The ability to accurately position so many subsystems in wall and floor members during fabrication is giving Finfrock Industries a competitive boost in the industry.

Furthermore, a completely paperless process for precast concrete production is a dream that soon will be within reach. StructureWorks Vice President Wayne Maiuri says, “We’ve been systematically removing paper for about the last seven or eight years with PieceTracker. Now we’ve leapfrogged that process and started to remove drawings also with XceleRAYtor software.” (See “Shop drawing simplification boosts precast fabrication productivity,” Concrete Products April 2015, pages 40-41.)