Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo, an all-suites resort with amenities and a marina directly off the Atlantic Ocean, was one of many businesses and resorts facing major repairs and restoration following Hurricane Irma in the fall of 2017. The historic category 4 storm left a reported $64.76 billion of damage and destruction throughout the state of Florida and much of the eastern seaboard. Two weeks after the initial hit, and just a few short months after opening our Tampa office, Summit Design + Build Southeast was brought in to help manage the process of rebuilding.
Over 95 percent of the units at Ocean Pointe Suites, throughout five separate buildings, suffered major water damage during the storm. The resort was built in the early 1980’s and not up to current code, which meant that driving rain and 110 MPH winds blew soffits out on the fourth floor allowing water to find its way into the units.
“The damage was devastating,” recalled Scott Hutchison, Director of Southeast Construction. “A major problem was not having power restored for over two weeks and mold setting in.”
Get Clear on Protocol and Scope
When Summit Design + Build Southeast was first engaged, the project was under the direction of the Ocean Pointe Suites staff. “They very quickly realized the task was much more difficult than expected,” said Hutchison.
All construction activity was stopped to determine the protocol moving forward. The team spent countless hours in Procore, a cloud-based project management software, and walking unit by unit to determine the exact scope, which included 248 units, the clubhouse, marina and guard house.
From there, subcontractors were brought in to “determine and establish the cost for the determined work so we could get approval to proceed from the insurance company.”
To start on the right foot and get things moving in the right direction, Hutchison advised to “get clear on a protocol and the scope, then determine a budget.”
In addition to managing the protocol and subcontractors, the Summit team had to work with insurance adjusters to get approval for all work, something that will need to be handled in any instance of repair work.
“One of the bigger challenges was working with the insurances companies,” said Hutchison. What made this work more difficult was having separate insurance providers for the separate buildings at the resort, each with different coverage levels and approval processes. In order to efficiently manage this process, Summit “worked with the management company and each insurer to build out a system of tracking cost per building, area, etc.”
Build Your Team and Have a Plan
The Summit Design + Build Southeast team spent nearly a year at Ocean Pointe Suites, with a soft opening on March 31st and a grand reopening on June 1st, when the property was fully operational. When asked what step was most crucial to completing a project of this nature and scope, Hutchison recommended “assembling the right team immediately, including an industrial hygienist and remediation specialist. Rebuilding after a hurricane isn’t an easy or short process but with the right team looking out for all interested parties, you can put a plan together quickly and get it done.”
Moreover, “be prepared. Have a plan. You never know when it’s going to happen to you.”