News & Insights

Framing a Solution in the Historic Charlestown Navy Yard


BOSTON, MA – Starboard Place, the 54-unit condominium development being built in historic Charlestown Navy Yard, will open its doors to its first tenants in early 2015—thanks to the use of several Lean and sustainability-inspired construction approaches. The efficient, craftsman-quality construction of this 48,000 sq. ft. wood-and-masonry addition to the Navy Yard’s housing stock owes much to three innovative approaches:

  • Role of Consigli’s in-house, hands-on carpentry team to build the condo’s four-story wood-frame
  • Lean, time-saving use of 11,785 linear feet of pre-fabricated wall sections, for both the building’s bearing and non-bearing walls
  • Stabilization of the site’s debris-ridden urban soil with “Rammed Aggregate Piers®” (RAPs)

DIY, PDQ: In-House Crew Makes Short Work of Condo Framing

With Starboard Place’s exterior and interior framing completed in just ten weeks this summer—three weeks ahead of schedule— the condos will be ready for tenants in January. Consigli’s team, led by Project Executive Chris Scarvalas, Project Manager Ryan Jennette and Superintendent Bob Barry recognized opportunities for schedule savings in the construction of the wood-framed design.

Lean + Fab Pre-Fab: Pre-Fabricated Walls Cut Construction By 50%

Together Bob and Consigli’s carpenter foreman Willie O’Brien designed a Lean construction work flow for the framing process. In response to the site’s limited lay-down room—the condo’s 12,000 sq. ft. footprint on the 15,000 sq. ft. site left little wriggle room—Bob kept the schedule tight with “just-in-time” deliveries of the pre-fabricated wall sections synchronized with the crane used to hoist bundles of 12-to-15 wall sections onto each floor as it was built. Next, each individually numbered wall section was matched to its corresponding number on the sub-flooring, ready for installation. The combination of pre-fabricated walls and our hands-on installation team that could be scheduled with great efficiency reduced the wall construction process by fifty percent.

Solid Standing: Rammed Aggregate Piers Stabilize Urban Soil

An additional innovative technique implemented in response to this urban site’s particular challenges includes the team’s use of “Rammed Aggregate Piers®” (RAPs) to stabilize the site’s debris-ridden soil before the foundation work began. Also known by the proprietary term “Geopier®”—“RAPs” are a ground improvement system developed by the North Carolina-based firm, Geopier Foundation Company. This environmentally friendly process, developed only ten years ago, is growing in use. The team’s implementation of RAP soil stabilization for Starboard Place allows for shallow-spread footing foundations, instead of more costly, less environmentally friendly deep earth foundation systems. There are also minimal spoils from this process, helping to mitigate the risk of hazardous materials within the soil. The construction of the RAPs facilitated the foundation construction at Starboard Place.

In response to Boston’s increased demand for urban living, the development of Starboard Place is a public-private partnership between The Boston Redevelopment Authority and selected developer Kavanagh Advisory Group, LLC. Their 48,000 sq. ft., high-end condominium project on the City-owned Parcel 39A, is just a stone’s throw from the popular tourist destination, the battleship U.S.S. Constitution.

The project is also notable because of the many guidelines governing its design and construction. Because the Navy Yard is a National Historic Landmark, the design and construction of Starboard Place needs to conform to the Historic Monument Area design guidelines, which are in agreement with the National Park Service, Massachusetts Historical Commission, Boston Landmarks Commission, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

With its design by Boston-based architects Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype, Inc.,  Starboard Place will offer studio, one- and two-bedroom condos in this four-story, wood-framed building that complements the historic masonry architecture of the Navy Yard and responds to Historic Monument Area architectural guidelines.