Originally built in 1991, the Sands Expo has been a central part of the Las Vegas convention market for more than two decades.

The Las Vegas Sands sought to modernize the aging space for its worldwide audience. The owner contracted with a construction team that included submitter and specialty contractor Helix Electric to renovate and revitalize the facility.

Adding to the challenge, the project proceeded while the facility remained at least partly open for business. The project schedule posed a larger challenge, establishing a construction start less than 10 days after the project award. The scheme called for a significant portion of both the upper and lower levels to be demolished and renovated in less than 90 days.

Crews worked around the clock in order to take advantage of any opening in the convention center schedule. The odd shift schedule created the potential for workers to become sleep-deprived.

Another issue that construction crews faced was moving equipment and materials in close proximity to convention center patrons. The construction teams took extra care to protect the public in a variety of ways, including escorting lifts when moving in public areas, keeping cords and lines out of patron walkways and making sure that floors were clear of debris.

Due to these and other rather extreme challenges, Helix Electric replaced its customary weekly jobsite inspections with inspections during each shift. The company also required "mini risk-assessment" worksheets to identify the hazards of each task.

As part of the remodel, the upper and lower lobbies were completely renovated. The task included new ceiling, wall and floor finishes as well as new mechanical and electrical systems in dozens of meeting rooms and almost 1 million sq ft of exposition space.

"Convention centers are very complicated projects and this was no exception. They did a good job," said one judge.

One of the focal points of the project is the undulating ceiling installed in the second floor lobby. The ceiling design required extensive three-dimensional computer modeling to determine how to fabricate the components that make up each panel section.

Each individual section was assembled on site and installed one piece at a time to create the unique ceiling finish.

The existing meeting rooms, business center and executive offices were completely demolished and replaced with 23 new state-of-the-art meeting rooms, a business center and executive offices.

The contractor upgraded existing electrical distribution to include three new electrical rooms and two new intermediate distribution frame rooms. The team also replaced and upgraded mechanical systems—including the fire- and life-safety systems—throughout the space.

Sands Expo Las Vegas

Key Players

General Contractor Jaynes Corp., Las Vegas

Owner Las Vegas Sands Corp., Las Vegas

Architect Gensler Architect, Las Vegas

MEP JBA, Las Vegas

Structural Engineer Raymond Khoury LLC, Las Vegas

Subcontractors Gallagher Plumbing, Las Vegas; A-1 Mechanical, Las Vegas, Helix Electric, Las Vegas