Issue 4 of 2015
DBIA’s Project of the Year, the Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove Federal Building, is a testament to the viability of design-build as a delivery method for complex projects and the winner of five National Design-Build Project/Team Awards in total. As a project excelling in multiple aspects, the Federal Building also earned Excellence in Category and the Excellence in Process and Excellence in Architecture Awards. The building, which operates as a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) campus, totaled 383,000 square feet and was delivered on time and on budget, providing the owner with an iconic structure, capable of withstanding security threats while respecting the natural Florida landscape. Delivering the project through design-build allowed the team to utilize innovative strategies for delivering the most challenging aspects of the project.
Delivering Complex Project Requirements
As a building designed to support the FBI’s mission to protect and defend the U.S. against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, the General Services Administration (GSA) sought a facility that would meet their P-100 guidelines, performance specifications and the FBI’s Program of Requirements (POR). The standards created a real challenge for the delivery team as they required extensive fiber optic and copper cable networking to service classified work areas and Secure Work Environments (SWE), as well as a progressive collapse structure and a custom curtain wall façade to meet blast requirements.
As a result, the owner structured the P-100 and POR requirements as a combination of performance, prescriptive and functional standards. This allowed the design-build team to determine what design solutions were most suitable while maintaining essential owner needs. For example, in order to minimize cost for the owner, the team altered the original design that would have required over 3,000 specialized window units by revising the building geometry’s fracture lines to create a set of common window elements. This ultimately reduced the number of specialized window units to 300.
“The project is a clear demonstration of outstanding problem solving and strategic thinking,” stated GSA Project Executive Steven Smith. “This complicated project clearly met and exceeded the goals of on-time, on-budget, superior quality, and positively impacted the local economy and small business community.”
On Schedule and on Budget
Through constant communication and heavy involvement of the owner, tenant and subcontractors, the design-build team was able to complete the project on time and within the $157 million budget, without compromising quality or safety.
When faced with change orders during the course of construction – some having a major impact on the schedule – the team responded quickly and effectively. For example, a request submitted to make changes and additions for the electrical and communication components to the offices and systems furniture would have pushed the substantial completion date back by four months. As updated drawings were created, focused reviews allowed GSA to verify that earlier concepts had been developed consistently with the earlier decision-making process. The BIM model was updated so the team could see in real-time what their decisions would look like and how the project would be impacted.
Contract form also played a significant role in staying on budget. The utilization of a lump-sum, bridging design-build services contract based on the GSA Solicitation, Offer and Award form, allowed the client to clearly communicate the budget available for the project; therefore, maximizing the design-build team’s ability to stay within budget and meet the client’s technical performance requirements.
DBIA Best Practices pervaded deeply into each stage of the project’s delivery. The project team consisted of seasoned design-build professionals, well-versed in Design-Build Done Right, which undoubtedly aided the project in its success.
Instituting a DBIA Teaming Agreement, the importance for team alignment and defined expectations and commitments were well communicated. During the design phase, design and construction teams co-located at Gensler’s offices in Washington, D.C. The proximity to GSA allowed for a close working relationship with the owner and the user group, maximizing team integration and group cohesion. This assured that diversity of opinion was expressed and that communication was timely and focused. .
Additionally, key team members were identified and brought on during the RFP submittal process. All team partners participated in the post-award design meetings and reconciliation of the proposal criteria with RFP criteria.
Operating around the clock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the finished Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove Federal Building achieves LEED certification amidst the stifling Miami climate due to several innovative strategies vetted prior to award. The facility includes an array of photovoltaic cells located on the parking garage roof to generate 20% of the facility’s energy and a customized sun-shading system on the south-facing facades, which limits solar gain. Similarly minimizing the visual footprint left by the building, the building’s award-winning design effectively pulls the surrounding Everglades into the building’s reflection.
Consolidating nearly 1,000 FBI employees to a single location, the six- and seven-story office towers, connected by a six-story link, boasts executive office spaces, private offices, team office spaces, conference space, storage, a fitness center, treatment rooms, workrooms and an armory. The facility was dedicated April 10, 2015, in honor of Benjamin Grogan and Jerry Dove, who lost their lives over 29 years ago in an agency-infamous shoot-out. In his dedication speech, FBI Director James Corney highlighted that, “this building is a memorial and an inspiration.”