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Situation:

Harvard University selected BOND as its construction partner of choice to build Northwest Laboratories, a 500,000 SF, eight-story science and research building. As part of this larger effort, BOND completed preconstruction and construction management services for a new Central Energy Plant (CEP) that included a chilled water plant and electrical substation. As part of an expansion of Harvard’s district cooling concept, BOND installed both an NSTAR electrical vault and Harvard’s own medium voltage vault within the CEP’s electrical substation. The chilled water plant connects to the campus’ chilled water distribution loop.

Prior to the start of building construction, BOND completed an extensive enabling phase during which all underground utilities (chilled water, sewer, electrical, natural gas and telecomm) in the building’s footprint were relocated.

Challenges:

  • Located on a tight, urban site adjacent to an occupied residence hall and a campus museum housing highly sensitive artifacts
  • Schedule maintenance to ensure a time-sensitive delivery date based on Harvard’s academic calendar
  • Extensive installation and tie-in of utility systems from the campus to the new CEP
  • Removal of 4,000 tons of contaminated soils during enabling period

Solutions:

  • Selection of an innovative up-down construction methodology to facilitate the mining of four below-grade stories in conjunction with the construction of four above-grade stories to accelerate schedule
  • Extensive vibration monitoring measures to minimize disruption to adjacent structures, particularly during the project’s 50-foot-deep excavation phase
  • Careful coordination to develop sequencing and cutovers for sensitive utility systems
  • Development of detailed soils disposal plan with trucking and logistics

Results:

  • Project savings of $1 million as a result of up-down construction methodology
  • Improved Harvard’s campus electrical capacity and provided improved reliability with the installation of the new NSTAR electrical vault and Harvard’s medium-voltage vault
  • Improves campus infrastructure reliability and redundancy
  • Completed on schedule with minimal disruption to Harvard campus operations