Author: Brian Crowley

The Design/Build Advantage

When a client chooses to work with a well-balanced and professional design-build entity the outcome simply saves time and money. Relationships are transformed into an alliance which fosters collaboration and teamwork. Compared to the traditional design-bid-build project delivery method there are many advantages to using the design-build method of construction:

Single Point of Contact

The design-build approach provides a single source for the entire project. In the classic design-bid-build method the owner must: Select an architect/designer, finalize the design, bid the project, select a contractor, and then act as an intermediary. Contrary to this, by utilizing a collaborative team that includes the architects, builders, subcontractors, suppliers, as well as the owner, the design-builder can ensure the owner’s goals are met. This method fosters teamwork and lends itself to cooperation. The relationship built during the design phase helps to ensure that the stage is set for a successful construction project.

Budget Management

Outlining anticipated project costs during the design phase helps to keep the projects within a realistic budget. Communicating the cost implications of design decisions ensures that the owner plays a key role in arriving at the final project price. Once the scope of work has been finalized, the project costs are clearly defined and controlled by the design-build firm.

Enhanced Communication

Specific design and construction details are being developed throughout the entire process and the focus stays on owner “value”. The communication benefits of working with a design professional and a construction expert at the same time ensures that potential problems are discovered before the project starts.

Faster Project Completion

Design-build projects can be completed in a shorter amount of time as bid time is reduced, scheduling for the project can begin before design is finalized, potential construction problems are uncovered early and enhanced communication keeps everything moving. As a fully integrated team the amount of time from the inception of a project to its completion can be considerably reduced.

Quality Control

The design build method helps to remove ambiguity that may arise in material and construction specifications. Since the designer, engineer and builder are from the same firm, the focus remains on protecting the client’s investment.

Becoming An Architect

Becoming a licensed architect is a long journey consisting of several professional milestones:

  • Formal education from an institution accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board
  • Several years of professional experience under the direct supervision of a licensed architect.
  • Successful completion of all seven divisions of Architectural Registration Examinations as well as any
    other jurisdiction-specific requirements (additional testing & experience).
  • Obtaining initial licensure in one of the United States 54 jurisdictions.
  • Maintaining one’s license thru continued education.

Once licensed, professional architects may choose to seek additional accreditation with the National
Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). NCARB certification signifies that an individual has met
the highest professional standards established by the registration boards responsible for protecting the
health, safety and welfare of the public.

The Architectural Design Process

If you choose to enlist the services of a professionally licensed architect you can be assured they are well
versed with the standard practice of architecture which typically consists of the following phases:


Although not always necessary a client may enlist an architect to help them develop
a program for their project. This phase consists of gathering information, assembling the client’s
requirements and presenting them in an organized fashion which clearly outlines what the project
needs to provide.

Schematic Design (SD)

During this phase of the architectural design process the information that
has been obtained from the client is used to create various design options for consideration. This is
usually done with sketches and other graphic presentation materials to help the client visualize the
different directions the project could take. Preliminary cost estimates are provided at this time to
help ensure the selected design does not exceed the client’s budget.

Design Development (DD)

Once a schematic design has been agreed upon it is further refined by
working thru requested modifications and necessary revisions to make the design function properly.
Cost estimates that were established during the SD phase are revised to reflect any changes that
have been made.

Construction Documents (CD)

By this point a final design has been established and the preparation
of drawings, notes, and technical specifications necessary for bidding, construction, and permit
application begins. Contractors use these detailed drawings and specifications to prepare for the
next phase in the architectural design process.

Bidding & Negotiations

If an architect participates in the bidding phase of home construction the
client is at a great advantage. They will be able to assist the client in developing a list of qualified
contractors and help assemble comprehensive “bid packages” for the bidders to review and submit
pricing on. Architects can also assist in reviewing submitted bids, provide analysis, and help the client
compare costs from the various bidders. This phase ensures the contractors being considering for
the construction project are reading the plans and specifications correctly and are providing an
accurate bid for the project.

Construction Administration

Once a contractor has been selected and work begins the final phase
of the architectural design process, construction administration, commences. It is during this phase
the architect helps administer the construction process to assure conformance with design intent
and the client’s vision. During the course of construction site visits are conducted at pre-determined
intervals at which time various issues can be addressed and proper direction provided.

San Juaquin Apartments & Precinct Improvements

Contract Amount: $135,000,000

LEED Certification: Gold Contract

Duration: January 2015 – May 2017

Gross SF: 293,380 (Residential)

Site: 15 Acres 35,000 (Dining Hall)

The San Joaquin Apartments & Portola Dining Commons are the first increment of the new student housing expansion under UCSB’s recently approved 2010 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP). As an expansion of the existing centers of learning and excellence, San Joaquin provides housing for approximately 1,000 residents with the focus being on lower division students (sophomores). The project provided 186 new apartments, with most units housing four to six students per apartment, the new Portola Dining Commons, as well as surface parking lots for support staff of the new development.

The master planned site is divided into three primary precincts; the Gateway Towers, the North Village Clusters and the Portola Dining Commons. The site’s organization provides circulation paths which offers pedestrian and bicycle access to residences and amenities. Active plazas, recreational facilities, and courtyard gardens serve as key components of the campus plan, enhancing student social life. These areas create a sense of arrival and also connect to surrounding residential neighborhoods. A system of biofiltration planters and bioswales are strategically incorporated throughout the site to capture and filter stormwater runoff draining into adjacent wetlands. The overall project has achieved various LEED Gold Certifications through USGBC.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has designed the Gateway Towers, which contain student housing and a convenience store serving both the university and adjacent community. Oriented east to west, the two six-story buildings are parallel to one another and define an active plaza. A freestanding pavilion with a recreation room and study lounge is located in the plaza for the shared use of the student population. Living areas open onto balconies that overlook the plaza while bedrooms are situated away from the activity. The towers feature various sustainable features, including natural ventilation, rooftop solar hot water collectors, and maximized daylight to reduce energy use.

Kevin Daley Architects (KDA) and Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) collaborated on a series of apartment-style housing resulting in four clusters of buildings two to four stories in height. Respecting the adjacent scale and character, the designs provide housing clusters characterized by outward-facing campus-oriented perimeters. An undulating circulation system weaves between the various residential buildings and social spaces.

Kieran Timberlake Associates LLP rounds out the projects multi-architect effort by providing the design for the new Portola Dining Commons on the Universities 15-acre North Campus master plan. The 31,000 SF facility serves the entire student population of the Santa Catalina & San Joaquin housing complex.

545 North & South Aircraft Maintenance Hangar

Contract Amount: $38,568,348 & $35,024,012 (respectively)

LEED Certification: Silver

Contract Duration: March 2012 – May 2014 (expected)

Gross SF: 62,522 (each)

This project consisted of the design and construction of two new 2-story F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft maintenance hangars. Each facility provided a high bay space, crew and equipment spaces, administrative space and Special Access Program Facility (SAPF) areas. The project sites consisted of approximately 780,000 SF of new aircraft apron adjacent to the hangars as well as connections to and an extension of taxiways. The parking aprons included sun shields as well as all electrical and communication provisions for the in-house squadrons. New parking lots were also provided with all spaces covered with PV-covered carports.

Low Impact Development Strategies, energy and water efficiency measures and local materials with recycled content and high indoor environmental qualities were included to ensure occupant controllability, satisfaction and health. One of the most unique features of this facility were the high pressure aircraft cooling (CAS) units and supporting systems for aircraft cooling system. CAS units were located on the exterior of the facility and were capable of delivering 30-tons of cooled forced air to the aircraft housed in the hangar bays vis an underground network of fully insulated stainless steel ductwork. The successful delivery and commissioning of this type of system was the first of its type in an area where ambient air temperatures exceeded 125°F during the summer months.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft is the latest addition to the armed forces aviation program. These two state-of-the art facilities were a welcomed addition to the MCAS Yuma Base. Any marine wishing to become a pilot in the Corps is required to pass through this facility as part of their basic training program. I was fortunate enough to serve as both the Design Manager for this project as well as the on-site Quality Control Manager during construction. These tasks involved overseeing the Work as it progressed and ensuring it was built in strict accordance with the contract requirements and owners expectations. Being the one single individual involved with this project truly from cradle to grave was an incredibly rewarding and educational experience.

Courthouse Bay BEQ’s P-1251 & P-1254

Contract Amount: $75,874,765

LEED Certification: Gold

Contract Duration: August 2011 – September 2013

Gross SF: 207,160

This project included the design and construction of three (3) high-quality dormitory-style facilities providing a total of 400 double-occupancy rooms. Composed of six (6) separate wings the building recesses and offsets in the exterior walls provided rhythm and shadows to the building elevations. This layout also provided optimum circulation and access for the residents, reduced interior corridor length, and enhances the connection of the interior-exterior spaces. In addition to the main structure a 3-level parking garage was also constructed. The entire top level of the Parking Garage was covered with a roof structure and rack – mounted PV System. The Parking Garage exterior walls complement the architectural character of the Courthouse Bay Area and include a combination of exterior Brick Veneer and precast concrete columns.

A Rainwater Harvesting System for each BEQ was utilized to collected roof rainwater, providing pre-treatment using first flush type downspouts. Underground tank storage with a float type inlet pipe and pumping system was used for water storage with rainwater being filtered before entering storage. Once harvested non-potable water is collected in a storage tank and delivered for toilet flushing by pressurized pumping. For additional energy savings a complete Ground Source Heat Pump System (GSHP) and Geothermal Well System with a deep well field of vertical loops was also provided. The GSHP System combined with the high performance building envelope and high efficient lighting system to provide a 40% energy savings.

The Living/Sleeping area provided an efficient furniture layout, allowing placement of Desks, Bookshelves, Nightstands, and Twin XL size Beds with Storage Headboards and Pedestals. Quality was addressed with numerous high quality residential finishes, each selected to be highly durable and low maintenance including epoxy terrazzo flooring in the corridors and an acrylic plaster wall finish throughout the facility. Also included were dual pane windows with solar tinted, Low E Glazing for improved solar heat gain efficiency.

Primary exterior materials consisted of architectural Brick with a variation of complementary accent banding. Decorative brick quoins at the building corners, decorative brick cornice detailing at exterior eaves, smaller paired windows on the ground floor, and decorative pre-cast window sills and lintels were all used for additional character.

Building 5955 TBUP Renovation

Contract Amount: $32,477,776

LEED Certification: Silver

Contract Duration: September 2011 – March 2013

Gross SF: 231,572

The objective of this solicitation was to provide a renovated dormitory that would have a minimum 50-year useful life. One of the highest priorities to the owners was considering the maintainability, operability, durability, sustainability, and energy consumption of the facility while developing a final design which best balanced all of those elements within the cost limitations of the contract. Careful research and cost control practices during the bidding of the project as well as thoroughly qualifying all incoming bids prior to submitting final pricing contributed to the successful award of the contract.

To increase the longevity of the remodeled facility both interior and exterior finishes were provided with mottled, flecked or speckled pat terns which helps hide soiling and reduces the look of wear and tear. In efforts to contribute to the sustainable goals of the project specific products selections focused on maximizing recycled content. Additionally, a new air barrier system was also provided which traced a continuous plane of airtightness throughout the building envelope with flexible seals at moving joints which significantly improved the efficiently of the building’s mechanical systems.

Being located in an area of the country prone to high winds and potential tornados a new FEMA Safe Room was provided within the center of the facility on the ground floor. Unique design features of this space consisted of upgraded structural components as well as wall assemblies capable of withstanding wind forces in excess of 100 MPH.

The Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) for the facility was a Hybrid-Geothermal Heat Pump System (H-GHP) which was designed to extract solar heat stored in the upper layers of the earth to provide heat to the building, or, conversely, reject building heat to the earth (cooling the building). The designed system was successful in reducing the energy required for space heating and cooling by as much as 32% per ASHRAE 90.1 standards. Fresh air for occupant comfort was provided by dedicated outside air units. From these units the outside air passed through the Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) just as building exhaust leaves the building through the ERV. ERV units are 80% effective transferring energy between airflow streams; pre-warming the air under cold conditions, or precooling the outside air under warm conditions.

P-1069 Recruit Barracks Complex

Contract Amount: $44,997,265
LEED Certification: Platinum
Contract Duration: September 2011 – October 2013
Gross SF: 123,151

This contract provided for the design and construction of a four-story open floor plan dormitory-style facility which served two separate companies simultaneously. After researching many options and working through various design charrettes it was determined a two-wing, four-story building created exceptional function while maximizing the desired daylighting and views for the open bay sleeping areas as well as opening the site for improved layout and utility. The wings were designed to separate the building for the two resident companies.

The two-wing building layout eliminated tight courtyards that would otherwise block natural cross-ventilation airflow, daylighting, and views. Operable windows on opposite walls of the open sleeping bays maximized natural daylighting by allowing natural light to penetrate deep within the spaces, promoting energy savings by lessening the need for supplemental lighting. The operable windows also capitalized on the prevailing wind for abundant natural cross ventilation.

Also provided within the scope of this project was a multi-level parking structure to accommodate the parking needs of the facility. Provided with two entries it was designed with two-way traffic lanes. The design eliminated long access ramps and dead-end parking aisles for improved circulation. The parking structure also includes structural carport shade canopies covered with photovoltaic panels over every top level parking space for architectural appeal, shading, and reduced heat island effect. Additionally, on the hillside immediately behind the parking structure terraces were carved into the topography to accommodate twenty (20) fully operational sun-tracking PV arrays to generate additional power which contributed to both the dormitories and parking garages energy consumption.

Additional energy-saving systems incorporated into the facilities design included the use of a Geothermal Ground Source Vertical Loop System, a domestic solar hot water system sized to supplement 30% of the facilities peak demand as well as underground storm water chambers necessary for displaced runoff. These sustainable features in addition to the upgraded Solarban 60 Low-E glazing and various environmentally-friendly interior finished all contributed to a USGBC LEED Platinum certification.

Joint Fires & Effects Training Simulation Facility

Contract Amount: $22,177,265

LEED Certification: Silver

Contract Duration: December 2009 – June 2011

Gross SF: 80,000

This contract provided for the design and construction of a facility to house JFETS simulator trainers, virtual reality environmental trainers, digital distributed learning classrooms, video teleconferencing, administration space, secure storage, break room and restrooms necessary to support the training mission requirement at Fort Sill. At 80,000 square feet the building layout was designed to meet the functional and adjacency requirements required by the program. Emphasis was placed on design features which optimize functional/operational requirements such as interior/exterior finishes and systems as well as life cycle/energy efficiency.

The building was designed with the functional spaces required to provide a stand-alone fully functional facility. All interior spaces were designed to be column-free for maximum usability. He purpose of this facility was to provide independent “lab” spaces where simulators would be installed for virtual training. Given the programmatic needs the building design incorporated many special acoustic features including all Lab partitions having a minimum STC rating of 63 which extended to the roof deck above. All other spaces had a minimum STC rating of 45. Sound attenuation at walls separating adjacent training labs and training lab walls at corridors was also provided. Additionally exterior walls were designed to meet STC 50.

To save annual energy costs and off-set carbon-based emissions a solar water heating system which provided 76% of the building’s domestic hot water requirements was provided. This system was made up of solar panels placed on the roof which supplied a storage tank to meet peak demand.

To further enhance the facilities sustainable systems a Hybrid-Geothermal Heat Pump System (H-GHP) was provided. Additionally the fresh air for occupant comfort was provided by a Dedicated Outside Air Unit (DOAH). As the fresh air enters the DOAH free energy is recovered in the form of warmer or cooler air. The energy exchange is provided by an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) in the mechanical room. The airstream of fresh outside air and the building exhaust pass through an “energy wheel” (within the ERV) where energy is captured and transferred to the incoming fresh air. The ERV unit is 80% effective in transferring energy between airstreams; pre-warming the outside air under cold conditions, or pre-cooling under warm conditions.

BEQ Package 6

Contract Amount: $90,256,146

LEED Certification: Platinum

Contract Duration: September 2009 – March 2011

Gross SF: 291,272 (total)

This contract consisted of the design and construction of three separate dormitorystyle facilities all to be situated within a master-planned campus setting. One of the greatest chal lenges presented were the extensive logistical requirements of the given site. Located on the aggressive slope of an existing hi l lside tens of thousands of cubic yards of earth had to “cut” from the hi l l and relocated to the other side of the site, contained by a 60 FT retaining wall.

Once earth moving operations were successful ly completed focus was placed on the incorporation of al l necessary infrastructure required for a campus of this size. Once basic uti l ities were in place the construction of the individual bui ldings commenced, staged in a rotational pattern to maximize schedule efficiencies. Whi le unique in their rights the structures themselves shared design simi larities such as smaller building footprints and the appearance of a modern residential community. The buildings were composed of small “clusters” of rooms, designed to be small in scale thereby breaking up the building mass, reducing the overall size, and simultaneously broadcasting a variety of roof heights and forms. Similarly each building had open breezeways to promote natural daylighting and capture prevailing wind for cross ventilation.

Adding to the “home-like” feel desired by the owners numerous site amenities were incorporated through the masterplan including horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, built-in custom BBQ pavilions, oversized picnic/shade Structures, covered outdoor eating area as well as an Outdoor Fitness Facility. All of these items were much desired by the end users to maximize the benefits of such a campus in the remote area it was located in.

In order to accommodate the almost 2,000 new residents this masterplanned area provided over 630 parking spaces. Designed and constructed to receive a LEED Platinum rating all of parking spaces were provided with carport shade structures covered with PV panels. A PV system of this size provided all of the buildings with 100% of their annual energy usages.

The provided landscaping design was contributed to the sites energy-efficient and sustainable goals by utilizing xeriscape principles such as low/no maintenance planting, low water use automatic drip sprinklers, and a creative use of varied crushed rock mulch and trees to accent key features.

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