BNBuilders recently began construction on major renovations at the County of San Diego Housing and Community Development Services (HCDS) administrative offices. This represents the third CM at-Risk project currently in the works in the San Diego area for the Seattle, WA-based company.

"CM at-Risk delivery method enables the contractor to work collaboratively with the owner and design team during the design phase to control costs, explore alternatives, scheduling/phasing plans, constructability reviews, and construction planning," says Jamie Awford, principal at BNBuilders' San Diego office. "For the County of San Diego, this is typically used on complex renovation projects, projects within occupied facilities, as well as technical projects that require the contractor input prior to starting construction."

Besides the HCDS project, BNBuilders was selected for the $2.9 million Hall of Justice Tenant Improvement in downtown San Diego that is currently in construction with completion scheduled for March 2017, as well as the $8 million East County Regional Center Tenant Improvement project in El Cajon that is anticipated to start construction in summer 2017.

The HCDS project received a notice to proceed in July 2016 and is scheduled to complete in May 2017. The County of San Diego contracted with BNBuilders to provide preconstruction and construction services for the 30,000-sq-ft HCDS administrative office renovation. The company is working on a $5 million construction contract for the job.

Designed by the San Diego office of BNIM Architects, the new space will include highly efficient MEP systems and controls, Solatubes for enhanced natural light, LED light fixtures, new exterior glazing and sunshades, new flooring, and new furniture for the County employees. The renovations will provide infrastructure improvements, and will yield water and energy efficiencies resulting in a highly sustainable, Zero Net Energy capable building.  In the future, when the photovoltaics are added to the facility, the total amount of energy used by the building will be roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site.

 “This project is designed to be a catalyst showcasing the County of San Diego’s commitment to providing human-purposed workplace environments which focus on health and well-being of occupants,” said Elif Tinney, associate principal at BNIM in a recent news release. “The open and collaborative work environment with views, abundant light and natural ventilation promotes wellness for those who serve the San Diego County community.”

Awford told me that one of the most interesting challenges his team is facing on the HCDS project is upgrading the structure's exterior skin, which will help exceed Title 24 requirements, as well as add natural light and ventilation. He says blending the new exterior components with the existing building and providing a seamless system that operates efficiently will be tricky.

"The challenge is coordinating the new details with the existing conditions to ensure the performance of these systems and controls work for the building occupants, as well as maintaining the costs and LEED requirements," says Awford. "We have been planning this effort for several months working closely with BNIM and their design team to coordinate the materials, systems, controls, and existing conditions using laser scanning, BIM, and subcontractor input to fully understand how these new building systems will integrate with the existing building."