Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Step Award

At the December monthly meeting of the ABCC (Associated Builders and Contractors of the
Carolinas) Triad Chapter HICAPS recently received the STEP Gold Level award. The STEP (Safety Training and Evaluation Process) Award was established in1989 by the ABC National Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) Committee, the STEP program was developed and written by contractors, for contractors. Through the STEP award ABCC is able to recognize companies who strive to maintain outstanding safety programs, policies, and procedures. HICAPS has an excellent safety record was proud to receive this award.

Monday, November 28, 2011

HICAPS Continues to Grow!

Don Thackston brings over 26 years of construction professional experience to the HICAPS team.  Mr. Thackston has worked in various aspects of construction from design, construction engineering, to project controls and project management for constructors and owners. His primary objective for HICAPS is project controls, including cost and time performance measurement and forecasting, as well as risk and claims mitigation.  We’re happy to have Don as a new addition to our team!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


HICAPS recently attended the FEDCON Summit at the Wilmington Convention Center in Wilmington, NC. The event was hosted by The North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) on October 19th & 20th.  These events provide insight into the future of federal projects. HICAPS is currently providing Construction Management, General Contracting and Project Controls services to the federal market. This venue and format is a valuable tool for all small businesses. The program included presentations, panel discussions, breakout sessions, a vendor expo and speed networking with:

•      Naval Facilities Engineering Command
•      US Army Corps of Engineers
•      Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard Installations
•      Other Federal Agencies
•      Major Construction Prime Contractors
•      North Carolina Companies

Thanks to NCMBC for providing this event!

(From left to right: David Yates, Peyton Fairbank, Gabriele Medley-Harry and Tim Spangler)

Monday, October 24, 2011

HICAPS - Lighting the Way

 Creatures of habit are we.  The first one in the office flips the light switch, and we see well enough to avoid the furniture, and make our way to our desk.  At the end of the day, the last one to leave turns off the lights and locks the door.  What a difference a new light bulb or even new fixtures can make in our office!  HICAPS recently updated our office lights, replacing old fixtures with energy inefficient bulbs with new fixtures, bulbs and ballasts.  The results in the central portion of the office are striking.  Gone are the shadows on the ceiling, and dark areas on the work surfaces.  Individual offices had motion sensors that light the office as soon as the occupant arrives, and turn off 10 minutes after the occupant leaves (or falls asleep—image, we don’t even have to turn off the light switch when we fall asleep at our desk!)
In addition to providing a pleasing and more productive work environment, the new fixtures, bulbs, and automatic switches save energy every day which make them cost efficient and the upgrade will qualify for a federal tax deduction capped at between $0.30 and $0.60/sq ft on a sliding scale based on a 25-40% reduction below the maximum allowable lighting power density W/sq/ft. ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-2001. Duke Energy is offering rebates under their Prescriptive Incentive program making upgrading lights a smart idea.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Salisbury LTC Renovation and Addition

The Salisbury Long Term Care Renovation and Addition Project is progressing on schedule.  The new Hospice building is dried-in, sheet rock will be completely hung by the end of the first week in October.  All low voltage wiring, including fire alarm, nurse call, security, intercom and phone and data is being installed, and ceiling grid is scheduled to start November 1st.   Power to the Hospice Building is scheduled to be connected and turned on November 6th.  The masonry veneer is complete and the siding and exterior trim is progressing.
The interior renovation on the Second Floor  of the Long Term Care Building is complete and occupied by the VA.  The 1st Floor renovation is in progress and scheduled to be completed by December 1st.  The Ground Floor renovation will begin once the VA has relocated their offices from the Ground Floor to the newly renovated 1st Floor offices.

Friday, September 16, 2011

HICAPS is on the GSA Schedule

HICAPS is excited to announce that we are now a GSA Schedule contract holder for the following schedules:

Professional Engineering Services (PES)
  • 871-7 Construction Management

Mission Oriented Integrated Services (MOBIS)

  • 874-1 Consultling
  • 874-7 Project/Program Management

It will now be easier for our federal clients to procure our services. HICAPS has made great strides in the federal market and becoming a GSA Schedule contract holder is a significant step in that process. We look forward to the new opportunities that this achievement will provide.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

- Award Notice -

HICAPS has been awarded a Design/Build contract at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salem Virginia for the renovation of a portion of Building 76 on their campus. The first floor renovation of the historic South Wing is the first construction project that HICAPS will complete for the VA in Salem. HICAPS will team with Lionberger Construction to provide professional project management and local knowledge of the subcontractor market. Our association with Lionberger Construction goes back many years, when Lionberger first turned to HICAPS for assistance in construction scheduling. The project will start in September 2011 with a completion in early 2012.

Friday, August 26, 2011

LEED Volume Program: Cost Effective Method for Certifying a Large Number of LEED Buildings

USGBC came up with a smart solution for large volume organizations and companies that are large users of LEED. The LEED Volume Program was developed to offer a cost effective method that leverages uniformity in design and maintains the integrity of LEED standards. In lieu of certifying per building, LEED Volume Program offers organizations the option to create a prototype design that is then pre-certified and can be applied to certify like buildings and spaces throughout their building portfolios. Since the program is based on design uniformity, buildings in any geographical area are eligible for certification.
The LEED Volume Program was conceptualized in 2006 and officially launched at the Greenbuild 2010 Conference & Expo in Chicago. The process begins with interested companies applying to USGBC to use the LEED Volume Program. Once in the program, companies have access to services and online tools that help facilitate prototype development. The next step is creation of a prototype which is basically the design and plan for future volume projects to adhere to, providing sustainable design features and protocol. Once the prototype is approved, work can begin on all volume projects. Needless to say, this drastically reduces per building certification costs as the quantity of projects increases. To ensure these projects maintain the LEED standards, Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) will conduct random audits of a percentage of projects. This phase is referred to as "ongoing certification".
The LEED Volume Program reinforces USGBC's commitment to provide smart and cost effective solutions to large users of LEED. The benefits of sustainable construction have a huge impact that includes better performing buildings that save energy and reduce operating costs as well as reduce harmful environmental impact. Using the LEED Volume Program's streamlined certification process companies can take advantage of lower cost for LEED while still reaping the advantages that come with building sustainable buildings.
Gabriele Medley-Harry
Director of Sustainable Construction

Friday, July 29, 2011

HICAPS Continues to Grow!

Tim Spangler, PE

Tim Spangler recently joined the HICAPS Team as Director of Building Diagnostics and Senior Project Manager in Federal Contracting. For over 20 years, Tim was a partner in a general construction company in Greensboro, specializing in manufacturing, water and wastewater treatment plant construction.
Tim graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy with a degree in civil engineering and served ten years active duty in the Coast Guard, in civil engineering assignments on both coasts. He completed his Coast Guard career in the reserves, retiring a captain in 2004. He plans to increase the marketing outreach for our building diagnostics services as we grow that area of HICAPS’ expertise.
The father of three grown children, Tim enjoys relaxing at the beach with his wife, Susan, or fixing up his 1910-era farmhouse in the mountains.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

HICAPS is certified by the State of Tennessee as a Service Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (SDVBE) Small Business

Greensboro, NC – June 01, 2011 HICAPS, INC. ( has been certified as a State of Tennessee Service Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (SDVBE) by the Governor’s Office of Diversity Business Enterprise. The purpose of this program is to foster growth of minority, woman, small, and Service-Disabled Veteran owned businesses who are seeking procurement opportunities in the State of Tennessee.

HICAPS is a VETBIZ Federally verified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business, a North Carolina certified HUB firm and is a licensed general contractor in the State of Tennessee. HICAPS is presently the Prime Contractor for a $1.3M Pharmacy Renovation project for the US Department of Veterans Affairs in Murfreesboro, TN.

“HICAPS is extremely excited to announce this certification in the State of Tennessee. HICAPS strives to provide a level of service that exceeds our customer’s expectations. This certification will provide an additional value-add to our customers who wish to utilize State of Tennessee certified small business sub-contractors,” HICAPS Vice President and Co-Founder, Wayne McGee, stated.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Making Smart Choices for a Sustainable Project

Green or Sustainable construction is a hot button topic these days. In our blog discussion on making choices that make $ense, solar options seem to be a more and more popular choice today for a renewable energy source. As always we are a proponent of planning. In the planning stage you will determine if this is the right option for your project and budget. Doing your homework will save you time and money later in the project. Below are good steps to follow as a rule of thumb to ensure solar is right for your project.

·    Feasibility analysis – Be sure this will fit the OPR (Owners Project Requirements)
·    Preliminary proposal – Pricing is another key component
·    Available incentives (tax credits, accelerated depreciation, state and utility solar rebates)
·    Financing options, if needed (e.g. leases and power purchase agreements)
·   Non-tax based incentives: Incentives offered through local power companies.
·     System Design-Have a strategy in place
·     Project planning: Working with all parties involved in the project (perspective and feedback)
·     Analysis, scheduling and planning-tools
·     Procurement of materials-Do some investigating and pricing
·     Solar Panel Installation-Use reputable firms with the qualifications to do the project
·      Inspections
·     System commissioning and testing

·     Training of facilities personnel (system monitoring and maintenance)
·     Administration and execution of all warranty coverage
·     Field service and technical support, if required

Following these steps and knowing what the ROI (Return on Investment) will be, eliminates the unknown and unpleasant surprises. A significant portion of the commercial solar system's cost is paid for by taking advantage of state rebates, incentives and the 30 percent federal solar tax credit / grant and accelerated depreciation which makes this a good time to consider going solar if it fits.
Gabriele Medley-Harry, LEED AP BD&C
Director of Sustainable Construction

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Budgeting Methodology for Sustainable Construction

Time and time again the topic of “How much more does it cost to build sustainable buildings?” has come up. This is a tricky question. Whether it is a sustainable building or not, ultimately the cost of construction will be determined by the choices we make and why we make them. The dynamics of a building are crucial. Business models have a huge impact on what our expectations and goals will be. I would like to address several topics in the next few blogs that relate to various factors in sustainable construction. The first is along the lines of Planning and Scheduling. This is a core capability of our firm here at HICAPS. We live by this rule. It is amazing how this relates to so many things in life.

First and foremost, you need to make decisions for the right reasons. If it makes sense to focus on energy cost savings, then of course you would make choices that would achieve that goal. Therefore it is necessary to understand and establish the project goals, including specific goals. For example if you are designing and constructing a LEED building, the first step is to fill out the LEED checklist. This will enable the team to clearly understand the project goals and expectations. The next step is to have a cost model that will align your budget to these goals. This clearly defines the project budget and communicates to the team budget limitations. Once you establish your cost model and allocate funds to achieve the goals set by your project, stay on track throughout the entire project. To do this, documentation should start as early as possible in the project. Update and monitor your checklist on a regular basis so you have clear understanding of how the sustainable goals are being met. Use energy and cost models as design tools. Cost models will allow you to track cost impact from any necessary changes in design or procedures as the project progresses.

Gabriele Medley-Harry, LEED AP BD&C

Director of Sustainable Construction


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

HICAPS, Inc. along with teaming partners Hoffman Building Technologies and George White Consulting are pleased to begin the installation of advanced utility meters at the West Texas VA Health Care System in Big Spring, TX. This is the first of six other VA medical centers and five National Cemeteries within Veteran’s Integrated Service Network 18 where we are designing and installing advanced steam, chilled water, irrigation, potable water, and natural gas meters that will remotely communicate data to a national repository. We are pleased to be part of the VA’s energy management efforts in helping improve their capability of measuring their energy consumption within a percentage of their over 5,000 owned buildings and 150 million gross square feet nationwide.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Route 58 Bypass

Another success for HICAPS & BHI. Schedules were produced by David Steger of BHI with HICAPS' assistance and project reviews and audits over the last 3 ½ years.

As we enter our 4th (and final) season of the $83 million Rte 58 Bypass BHI is poised to complete the project almost two months early. Since the notice to proceed over 2 million cubic yards of cut/fill have been handled and 8 bridges constructed. Careful planning and monitoring of the plan over the 4 years of project has allowed BHI to achieve all of its construction season goals (8months of intense production and 4 months of winter slow down per year). Season goals are set from March – Nov each year.

NTP was given 10/02/07. Projected substantial completion of the 5.3 mile Bypass is 09/01/11.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Selecting Sustainable Commercial Interior Surfaces that fit Your Environment and Cleaning Processes

For years commercial buildings and surfaces were designed and manufactured to be impervious and withstand many environments and most cleaning compounds. Builder’s, designers and cleaning crews learned through trial and error, developing a knowledge base selecting materials suitable for a commercial structures form and function. Many of these surfaces were reliable, inexpensive and could be easily replaced if damaged.

Sustainable interior designs offer up a new pallet of surfaces and looks that are attractive and make environmental sense. Sometimes they may be an expensive initial investment but provide a longer term esthetic and financial benefit. Many of the these materials are new and there is very little experience with long term usage or interactions with cleaning chemicals, or soiling specific to the intended environment.

Therefore new surfaces require a new selection and evaluation process in that several decisions are necessary in making a sustainable surface evaluation or selection. They are the same decisions that had to be made previously but unlike those materials you no longer have a historical understanding of their performance and longevity.

  1. Will the surface or equipment function adequately within the confines of the environments intended use? For example, a compressed sesame seed or sunflower seed table may work well in a commercial office or doctor's office, but is it adequate for the customer area in a restaurant with high levels of grease and oil and food spills?
  2. Will the surface or equipment hold up to the cleaning requirements necessary for the environment? Hospital surfaces are exposed to high disinfectant levels; food service to high soil loads and sanitizers; with office buildings requiring high aesthetic value and clean ability with low soil loads.
  3. Who selects and evaluates your cleaning products?
  4. Is your cleaning program internal or is it performed by a third party?

Surface Selection-

· Make sure that the supplier bidding for your project understands where and how their surface will be used and do they have a history with your requirements. This should be in writing and specified to protect you from a product failure claim in that you used the material in a manner which it wasn’t intended.

· Request all supporting documentation for how the surface should be maintained along with cleaning recommendations. This should not be an issue if your project is going for LEED accreditation.

· Request 1-2 material samples from three different production lots to test under your intended conditions. This means testing the surface with soils that may be associated with your environment and the current cleaning program or new cleaners under consideration. A general test overview is provided at the end of the article.

Testing of new sustainable surfaces is an additional step that is new to the building process and can be difficult to manage and coordinate as well as to understand how much time should be allotted. The material supplier or chemical cleaning supplier may be willing to provide the testing if your account is substantial or they may be willing to provide the name of a third party evaluator and cover or share in the costs. Be leery of any material that does not have any historical data for you application. It’s not that it will not work but the supplier may not be aware of all of your applications. Document…document…document or test.

Contributing writer:

SSS-Cubed (Sustainable Scientific Solutions)

David Harry, Consultant

Gabriele Medley-Harry, LEED AP BD&C

Director of Sustainable Construction


Friday, March 18, 2011

Wythe County Expands Social Services with a new 911 Dispatch Center

Wythe County Virginia has broken ground on a project that will double the size of its Social Services Building. The building will include a new 911 Dispatch Center in the lower level and new Administrative Offices on the 2nd and 3rd levels. South End Construction Company – Roanoke Virginia is the General Contractor. HICAPS is working closely with South End on this project to assure that it finishes its two phases. Elevator and Stair Tower turn over is scheduled for June 2011 and the Building completion is projected for January 2012 after which the 911 Call Center and the administrative offices for Wythe County Health and Social Services will move in.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Changing of the Lights/T12s

Department of Energy rules and regulations phase out use of T12 lamps in commercial buildings and commercial building owners are being urged to upgrade their lighting systems. There are incentives available to help offset these costs.

A highly underused program for updating lights from T12s to T8 or T5s through Duke Energy is their prescriptive Smart Saver program. If you are renovating an existing building and looking for ways to save on energy savings in the form of lower energy costs and lower demand charges, look at this program. Other financial incentives include tax and other benefits from the government. Commercial lighting system buyers can receive up to 60 cents per sf by qualifying for the Commercial Building Tax Deduction. For projects completed before January 1, 2014, a CBTD (“INTERIM LIGHTING RULE”) can be claimed that covers up to the entire deductible cost of investing in the installation of energy-efficient commercial building property. For more information on Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings, visit this link

Here is some "Gee Whiz" Information:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting represents 40% of the average commercial building's electric bill
  • July 1st, 2010 marked an important "changing of the light" so to speak, because on that date it became illegal to manufacture or import many popular conventional T12 magnetic replacement ballasts
  • T12 lamps were introduced in 1938 (you heard that right!)
  • T8s were introduced commercially in 1981
  • The greater efficiency of T8 lighting and the smaller amount of mercury per lamp could cut mercury infiltration by 43%
  • 2010 marks the 10th anniversary of the T5 lamp
  • A T5 high-output lamp can replace two conventional T12 lamps

Gabriele Medley-Harry, LEED AP BD&C

Director of Sustainable Construction


Friday, March 4, 2011

Sustainable Thinking Makes “Cents”

Making the right choices for the right reasons makes the difference. More and more building owners are seeing the value in energy efficiency which makes for sound sustainable business practice. With the right approach sustainability does not have to cost more and to get less. Energy efficiency is a driving factor in sustainable construction. In fact, states are placing more and more emphasis on code development and enforcement. The ASHRAE 90.1 energy code model has been widely adopted by federal, state and local governments. Of course it is always good to comply with code because it is the law, but, it is also good because it can save you money. As we move forward into 2011 we will see ASHRAE 189.1 become the new energy code model. The federal contracting world has already begun writing specs that will incorporate ASHRAE 189.1. Putting logical thinking into building projects and renovations can have a very positive ROI. Some energy efficient tips to consider are:

  • Life Cycle cost analysis that takes into consideration how the facility will operate
  • Daylighting
  • Weigh the pros and cons of increasing insulation of the building envelope
  • Use lighting controls
  • Control the amount of outside air brought into the building. This will save energy by only cooling the amount of outside air needed for ventilation
  • Measurement and verification- re-evaluate. Changes may be necessary to optimize the design in the system once it is being used
  • When replacing lights consider updating, ie: change your T12 to T8 or T5 light and ballasts
The little things can add up to huge cost savings. That certainly makes $ense!

Gabriele Medley-Harry
Director of Sustainable Construction

Monday, February 28, 2011

Commitment to Sustainable Construction

HICAPS has embraced sustainable building as part of our corporate culture and committed our resources to the training and accreditation of our associates in support of sustainable design and construction. We feel sustainability is the future of our industry. We recognize that it is important to be good stewards of the environment and HICAPS has worked hard to build a solid base of expertise in support of sustainable construction. HICAPS currently has five LEED AP associates with experience in all aspects of construction and sustainability. We are proud to support green building and be a part of the sustainable future.

HICAPS was proud to be on the Guilford County School team for Northern Middle and Northern High School. The project was a 120 acre site encompassing a 285,000 square foot High School, a 140,637 square foot Middle School, stadium, ball fields, and sustainable design features. This was one of the first sustainable projects of its kind at the time in 2004.

As Construction Manager for the project we were very involved with the sustainable goals and processes implemented in the construction of these schools. The goal of the program for the school was to reduce operating costs, protect the environment, design buildings as an educational tool and optimize facilities for health, safety and comfort. Some features of the schools were:

  • A living machine (360,000 gallon tank collects rainwater for use in toilets, after the water is flushed it travels to a plant based cleansing wetland)
  • Recycled water is used to water the athletic fields
  • Daylighting
  • Curved translucent light shelves
  • Solar Thermal Panels
  • Under floor air distribution

Since this time HICAPS has continued to support and play a role in being proactive in sustainable construction. Follow our blog posts on sustainability as we share information on projects and sustainable innovations as well as ways to be more energy efficient.

Gabriele Medley-Harry, LEED AP BD&C

Director of Sustainable Construction


Monday, February 14, 2011

Going for the Gold

HICAPS recently completed two LEED projects at FT Bragg, NC. The first project was the Training Support Center at Ft Bragg, NC.

HICAPS provided LEED management for construction phase and commissioning of building systems for a new 118,700 sf training support facility at Ft. Bragg, NC. Services included the fundamental commissioning of building systems per LEED standard Fundamental Commissioning of the Building Energy Systems to include HVAC, lighting controls and domestic hot water. The project target was LEED Silver; however as the project neared completion we found we were one point away from achieving LEED Gold status. The team analyzed and discussed the point status. Seeing we could attain exemplary performance credits under Materials and Resources for three different credits with no additional cost to the project, in addition to achieving the targeted goals for LEED, the team was able to achieve the points necessary for LEED Gold. The USACE will move forward with certification on this project.

USACE Project

Architect: Dewberry

General Contractor: Osborne Company

The second project was the 4th BCT 58 man barracks at FT Bragg, NC. HICAPS provided LEED administration and management construction phase services for the construction of a 26,000 sf $10 million 58 soldier barracks located at Ft Bragg, NC. This was a SPiRiT/LEED project with a goal to meet LEED silver standards. The project achieved SPiRiT/LEED Silver goal.

USACE Project

Architect: AECOM

General Contractor: Osborne Company

Gabriele Medley-Harry

Director of Sustainable Construction