Firm name: H+A Architects and Engineers
Project building name and location: Ordinance Training Facilities for Central Campus, Fort Lee, Va.
Type of building and type of project: Training Facilities and Tracked Vehicle Maintenance, New Construction
Project completion date and project duration: February 2010
Engineering challenges and solutions:
The project requirements included a rigorous fast-track design schedule. The schedule entailed a staggered delivery with the first four buildings being designed, constructed and ready for occupancy in 24 months from notice to proceed (NTP). The new facilities were at the heart of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program, requiring entire organizations to move their operations from closed bases into new buildings. Because the completion of these facilities was on the critical path for a whole host of nationwide base realignment activities, meeting the construction schedules was essential – the schedules could not be delayed or extended for any reason.
The completed construction of five buildings totaling 774,195 sq ft was completed in 24 months, three months ahead of schedule. Construction was complete in February 2010 with an original complete date of May 2010. H&A complete the engineering design in a total of nine months. To ensure the success of the project, weekly team review meetings were conducted throughout the programming, planning and design phases of the project. These meetings included not only the design team and general contractor, but the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) key personnel and end-users as well.
Allowing the USACE reviewers to be a part of the design process greatly reduced the required submittal review time and number of submittal review comments. On one occasion, a representative of the owner indicated that it would take several days to obtain an important piece of information needed by the design team to stay on schedule. It was the second week in a row that the individual had not come prepared, lacking the critical data necessary to keep that portion of the project moving ahead. In response, H&A’s project principal arose and emphatically stated that the engineers and architects were at that moment doing a “week’s worth of work in a day, and a month’s worth of work in a week,” and waiting several more days for this information could essentially cost a month of progress in the design. Upon hearing this, the army colonel in charge pointed to the individual responsible and said, “you will have that information to them today.”
From that point forward, information and data sharing became a critical focal point of the process. In addition, H&A’s structural engineers created an internal team schedule with milestones for information required from the architects and other engineering disciplines, which were necessary to keep the structural design ahead of schedule.
By breaking the structural submittals into numerous stages and setting design team milestones early in the project, H&A was able to ensure that the project remained on schedule.
“H&A was instrumental on this project. They worked with all the designers to bring them up to speed with understanding the importance of customer involvement in the Design/Build process. They insured compliance with the contract requirements, achieved the quality product that the customer demands, and have shown by the quality of their product that they possess the design technical expertise. H&A made sure the team met all of the milestone design submissions. They used internal quality control means to assure that the submissions were accurate, timely, and complete.” Mr. William Robson, P.E. (Ret.) BRAC Program Engineer BRAC Area Office, Fort Lee, VA