JE Dunn-SmithGroup Wins First Award Under New Federal Contracting Method

“The research that will happen in EMAPS will fill a huge gap in today’s industry of scale-up and adoption of the materials crucial for a clean energy economy.”
—Martin Keller, Director, NREL

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has hired the design-build team of JE Dunn Construction Co. and SmithGroup as it tests a new procurement strategy. It will be used for a $224-million project to build the Energy Materials and Processing at Scale facility at the federal agency’s South Table Mountain campus in Golden, Colo.

use of the cooperative construction contracting approach, NREL, a unit of the U.S. Energy Dept. focused on research and development for renewable energy and energy efficiency, aims to speed up future contracting processes and boost construction efficiency by working with a single construction partner for projects valued at more than $10 million.

The approach uses a three-step procurement process. NREL will issue a sources-sought notice, a request for qualifications and a request for proposals to shortlisted teams, records show. It then signs the team to a task-ordering agreement—in this case lasting up to five years with a combined order ceiling of up to $500 million.

Future task orders under the contract may be at the South Table Mountain campus or its Flatirons campus in Arvada, Colo., procurement records state.

award of the contract comes about a year after a U.S. Government Accountability Office report recommended various changes to DOE contracting processes to attract more bidders. But solicitation of this contract started before that report was published.

The Energy Materials and Processing at Scale project is the first task order to be awarded under the contract. It would be a multi-disciplinary research facility for collaboration by private industry, universities and other DOE labs on development of new energy products and processes related to energy storage, advanced manufacturing, grid modernization and net-zero chemicals and fuels.

Design of the 127,000-sq-ft facility is underway. NREL wants a high-performance design and plans to seek at least LEED Gold certification. Construction is scheduled to begin late this year.

Mark Kranz, SmithGroup design director, said in a statement that the facility is being designed to “integrate elegantly into the architectural brand of the campus.”

JE Dunn and SmithGroup previously worked on NREL’s 180,000-sq-ft Energy Systems Integration facility that is adjacent to the new project.

“Returning to the NREL campus is more than just securing another project,” said Charlie Slattery, JE Dunn project director, in a statement. “It marks the continuation of a valuable partnership.”


MW Golden Is Selected to Build Copper Kitchen in Black Hawk, Colo.

the Copper Kitchen

Design elements for the Copper Kitchen will help preserve the mining aesthetic of historic Black Hawk, Colo.
Rendering courtesy PEH Architects

MW Golden Constructors will break ground in April on the Copper Kitchen project in historic downtown Black Hawk, Colo. Designed by PEH Architects, the project is part of the town’s plan to preserve some of its original architecture and character while transforming and adding buildings to the Gregory Plaza pedestrian corridor. The pizzeria and bar and an adjacent stand-alone elevator tower will blend modern construction with architectural elements of the historic mining town, according to Castle Rock, Colo.-based MW Golden Constructors. Expected project completion is summer 2025.


Engineer IMEG Acquires Idaho Firm E&D Co.

Engineering company IMEG Corp. has acquired E&D Co., an Idaho Falls-based owner’s representative and design firm that provides civil, rail, structural, mechanical and electrical design services. The year-end transaction “expands IMEG’s industrial portfolio and enhances [its] full line of services and geographic reach in the Northwest,” said the Rock Island, Ill.-based firm that has about 2,600 employees in 93 U.S. locations. It ranks at No. 57 on ENR’s Top 500 Design Firm list, reporting $382.3 million in design revenue for 2022.


Power Engineers Adds Transmission Tower Design To Its Services Portfolio

Power Engineers is adding specialized transmission tower design services to its capabilities with the acquisition of Tower Drafting Services, based in Pittsburgh. The deal was announced Dec. 19, but no transaction details were disclosed. The firm “has been an important part of the power delivery industry for decades, providing specialized expertise in steel lattice structure detailing,” said Tim Kautz, Power Engineers regional manager for line management. The addition will combine the acquired firm’s lattice tower structural expertise with the parent’s capabilities in transmission line design. Tower Drafting Services also has skill in re-creating missing or illegible lattice tower design records in CAD, essential to utilities for upgrading and hardening infrastructure, according to Power Engineers.


RDO Expands With Eight John Deere Locations

Equipment Co. has acquired Honnen Equipment’s eight John Deere construction equipment locations in Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. The Dec. 11 deal expands the RDO Equipment footprint to 12 states, said Chris Cooper, RDO president. About 150 Honnen employees in the Wyoming cities of Gillette, Casper, Cheyenne and Rock Springs; in Utah’s Salt Lake City, St. George and Ogden; and in Idaho Falls in Idaho join RDO, said the firm, which has 80 U.S. locations and partnerships in Africa, Australia, Mexico and Ukraine.