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Posted 12/10/2015

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By Eileen Williamson
US Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District

Three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District architects who are providing in-house design for several facilities at Fort Cason, Colorado, as part of the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade recently sat down with Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division Military Construction program manager Dave Packard to talk about their projects and the design process. 

Each of the district architects, Andy Temeyer, Askelon Parker and Karen Jarvis, have designed projects for several hangars and support facilities at the Butts Army Airfield on Fort Carson. Military construction projects often have unique aspects, a challenge that the Army Corps of Engineers professionals are eager to address, doing their best to deliver in the most efficient and flexible way possible. 

The project architects provided some thoughts on how Army Corps of Engineers design teams pride themselves in providing flexibility on even the most challenging projects and designing sustainable facilities for the United States military.

  1. Engage Army Corps of Engineers Project Delivery Teams. They are familiar with Federal sustainability concepts, policies, and goals. Tough questions early-on in planning and programming allow designers to plan realistically for design, construction, and operations.
  2. Start as early as possible. Early or proper planning and programming can yield long-term success during design and construction. Engage all appropriate stakeholders including the Director of Public Works, Base Civil Engineer, Centers of Standardization, etc. 
  3. Establish clear goals. Root all stakeholders in higher-level policies to ensure they reflect the types of facilities that all are being tasked with procuring. Army Corps of Engineers designers can often be the bridge among sometimes difficult challenges.
  4. Coordinate. Building Information Modeling and energy modeling are good tools to facilitate coordination among design teams. These tools allow designers to essentially construct a facility in Virtual Reality. So much more can be learned about a facility this way.
  5. Iterate. An iterative design process yields better-tuned, higher performance facilities. 
  6. Choose the best design/contracting mechanism for the job. Not all projects are created equally. Chose the contracting mechanism that has the best potential to yield the intended results within schedule and budget limitations.
  7. Invest in the design process. Committing to a successful design effort should yield payback throughout the life of the facility. There are so many parallel efforts between the different services, a collaborative investment in a design process can foster shared knowledge and a greater investment in the overall process.
  8. Validate goals. Throughout the design and construction process, review the project goals to ensure work is focused on these goals. Validation is also beneficial during facility operations such as re-commissioning or retro-commissioning.
  9. Stay Engaged. Design teams should stay engaged as appropriate through construction. Implementing an effective feedback loop that involves all stakeholders including Army Corps of Engineers headquarters will improve business processes.
  10. Educate facility occupants and operations personnel at turnover. Proper operations and maintenance ensures a high-performance building stays "tuned" throughout its intended life.