Submitted by Barnhart Balfour Beatty

The University of California, Riverside’s $7.6-million modernization project for both the Geology and Physics buildings were performed in phases, which helped minimize class disruption and the need for swing space during construction.

The Physics Building was the first to go under construction. Phase two continued in the 58,546-sq-ft Geology Building where the focus of work included upgrades to building systems, infrastructure, and seismic enhancements. Upgrades to the building systems included new circuit breakers, emergency generators, and all lighting and communications systems. Replacements were also made to all windows and sunshades, interior partitions, doors, HVAC systems, offices, electrical and plumbing services in all labs. The entire second floor and a portion of the first floor were completely renovated.

The Geology Building had already undertaken an 18-month renovation to certain portions of its 50-year-old structure during the phase one project. The building occupants included world-renowned geology researchers entrusted with archeological materials and data from every continent. The phase two project was planned to complete the exterior and interior renovations, while remaining fully occupied by researchers, faculty, support staff, as well as students.

In order to prevent any challenges from occurring, construction manager Barnhart Balfour Beatty and its team worked to identify and resolve challenges before they became problems. This strong communication plan was put to the test late in 2008 when the state of California placed a freeze on all bond sales, forcing all work to be suspended on this fully state-funded project for a period of eight months (January-August 2009). The suspension not only prolonged the unfinished conditions and the associated impacts on the occupants, but took a toll on the prime trade contractors that had received suspension notices from the university and realizing all materials and equipment already purchased for the project and not installed, could not be paid for by the public agency.

The project was at 75% completion at the time of the state’s freeze. Work re-commenced in mid-September 2009, with all original prime trade contractors remobilizing to complete the project.

Project Team

Developer/Owner: University of California, Riverside
Construction Management: Barnhart Balfour Beatty, San Diego
Architect: DLR Group WWCOT, Riverside
Structural Engineer: Saiful Boquet, Pasadena
MEP Engineer: Syska Hennessy Group, San Diego
Subcontractors: Alpha Mechanical Service, San Diego; Baker Electric, Escondido; Hickman Mechanical, Arcadia