After lying dormant for five years, a project that will dramatically improve a Birmingham federal building’s energy efficiency was re-energized by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. The Robert Vance Federal Building, built in 1921, will receive new mechanical and electrical systems, as well as other enhancements, when construction is completed in 2012.

Birmingham, Ala.
Birmingham, Ala.
Federal office building in Birmingham, Ala., finally receives energy-efficiency upgrades.
Photo: Hoar Construction LLC Birmingham
Federal office building in Birmingham, Ala., finally receives energy-efficiency upgrades.

The General Services Administration project was a long time coming. A design contract awarded in 2004 to Quinn Evans Architects, Washington, D.C., was later shelved. The project was selected to receive $45 million of ARRA money because of its energy-efficiency goal. In August, a construction-management contract was awarded to Hoar-Christman LLC Joint Venture, Birmingham.

Robert Vance Federal
Building Renovation
Jobs Created Construction Jobs:
100 - 150
ARRA Contract Amount $32 Million

“All mechanical and electrical components are coming out, and the piping and electrical services will be upgraded and replaced,” says Randall Curtis, vice president of government services, Hoar Construction LLC, Birmingham. “There have been several minor upgrades over the years but nothing this comprehensive.”

Windows are part of the upgrade. “Because of the historical nature of this particular building and anti-terrorism issues, it is a real challenge,” Curtis says. “We have to design blast-resistant, energy-efficient, historically accurate windows.”

The building will be occupied during construction, so Hoar-Christman will run parallel electrical and mechanical systems to keep the building operable. Work is expected to start in December. Anywhere from 100 to 150 construction jobs will be created by the project.