The Wendel Water Team members sharing their expertise on a variety of topics across the country this year: Andrew Casolini, PE, LEED AP (Co-Author: Jamie Johnson, PE, LEED AP) Strasburg Water Resource Recovery Facility Yields Major Cost Savings NYWEA 90th Annual Meeting & Exhibition Integrated Capital and Energy Planning (ICE), Co-presenter with Brian Sibiga, PE PennTec …Read More
The building process can at times seem overwhelmingly complex. Standing in your facility you can see that something needs to get done; too little room for your equipment, continuously climbing operations and maintenance budgets, patches being added to patches, training exercises you would like to do but can’t, falling response times, more and more difficult recruitment drives to name a few. The problems may seem obvious to you, but solutions are usually a little less clear, especially where expenditures of public funds are involved. Tax payers and public officials often require proof of need, validation of requirements, and will no doubt have competing alternative solutions to suggest.
The Pre-Design phase of a building project is intended to bring together all the requisite information to determine the feasibility and direction of a building program.
Predesign is the most important phase of any fire station project. There are many questions to answer and decisions to be made. How much to build and where to build it? Do we need to build, should we build new or add on, can we even add on, what is the cost differential to additions versus new construction? Your community will no doubt have many questions of their own…and those will likely change as the discussion around your construction project evolves. The following is a list of simple predesign studies that can be commissioned to get you the answers you need.
Facility Review: A facility review should have two primary components; conditions of the existing building and an operational review. The condition assessment will include a review of the building envelope and mechanical and electrical systems to determine their functionality and continued serviceability and ability to support additional loads if an addition is contemplated. Energy efficiency should be considered as well.
The operational review will determine if your facility is operationally efficient and functional for your department. A sound building could still potentially be problematic. Older facilities in particular may have challenges with PPE gear stored in bays and behind vehicles, lack of drive through bays that restrict access to vital equipment, and smaller doors that lead to mishaps with today’s larger equipment. These operational issues can be as important to a discussion regarding building solutions as pure space needs.
Space Needs Analysis: This step, also referred to as programming, will determine the amount of space you should be planning for in a building project. This is not just an exercise in replacing spaces you already have, but should be viewed as an opportunity to seek improvements in current operations. An experienced programmer will bring the experience of other facilities and departments to your project and may even challenge you to think about how you can do what you do better.
Station Location Study: The fire service is acutely aware of response time issues in providing service, but there is more to locating a station than just minimizing time from the station to the fire.
Finding the proper location within your service area can include a lot of factors such as:
- Response Time
- Specific risks in the community
- Areas of increased demand
- Home and work locations of responders
- Traffic and traffic patterns
- Availability of property
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) will provide graphical representation of the data collected that will support the decision making process to the community and elected officials.
Site Selection Studies: Where Station Location Studies look at the larger picture of where a station should be located, Site Selection Studies examine a specific site or sites. There are many general site selection formats that can be used that account for utilities, topography, soils and other site development issues. Emergency services facilities, however, have a number of specific challenges that should be considered as well.
- Appropriate size and shape
- Multiple points of access
- Access to primary and secondary response routes
- Relationship to natural and manmade hazards
- Neighborhood adjacencies
- Impact on tax base
A well prepared site selection study will use a numerical ranking system that prioritizes important departmental issues creating data-based selections that avoid political or personal preferences.
Feasibility Study: Once an approximate size and location of your facility is known, knowledgeable professionals in the building industry can assist with providing budgetary costs for construction based on the cost per square foot of similar facilities. Care should be taken to plan for appropriate ‘soft costs’ such as contingencies, furniture, fixtures and equipment, required technology, professional and legal fees and other costs that are not directly related to building construction but will impact your project budget. Again, knowledgeable professionals can assist you developing the details you need to account for the full cost of a project.
Other studies that are sometimes performed as part of a Predesign process include: Shared services/merger, operational and personnel management, and equipment utilization and maintenance studies.
There is no set guideline for developing these studies or an order in which they should be performed. Determine the specific issues challenging your department and define the questions you need answered. Include that information in your request for proposals. Likely you will fit into one of the types of studies outlined here, but if not, there are likely consultants able to assist you in finding the answers you need. Don’t be shy about asking professionals for direction and advice. Even if they do not provide the service you are seeking, they likely know who does.
As the name implies, this is necessary work that typically occurs before the design phase of a project. These studies are easy first steps that can be taken without committing to a course of action or large costs. The information you derive will go far to answering your questions as well as the questions others will have. Most importantly, they will help you to solidify your vision of the solution to your facilities issues and become the beginning of the plan that solves it.
Written by: Michael Clark, AIA
Wendel, a nationally recognized design, construction and energy services company (ESCO), is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of Architectural Design Group, LLC (ADG), a leader in architectural design and planning in Wisconsin, to enhance its service offering and market reach in the Midwest United States.
ADG’s expertise encompasses healthcare and educational facilities, as well as municipal and public safety services. United by a common culture, Wendel and ADG share a commitment of customer service, collaboration, and sustainable and energy efficient design. Together we have delivered excellence in the fields of architecture, design and construction for over 100 years.
In addition to acquiring ADG, Wendel is also gaining Five Bugles, ADG’s planning and design services division focused solely on the public safety service industry. Five Bugles will become a division of Wendel, retaining its brand and commitment to public safety and emergency services in the Midwest. Wendel plans to take the design expertise Five Bugles brings to all locations across the U.S. where Wendel has a presence.
The expansion to Eau Claire, Wisconsin represents Wendel’s growing geographic footprint and complements the company’s existing presence in nearby Minneapolis, MN, as well as all of the regions where Wendel operates. Joining the Wendel team are 22 staff, including Principals Steve Gausman, AIA, NCARB, David Kimball, AIA, CSI, CCS and David Cihasky, AIA.
“We are truly excited about the growth Wendel is experiencing nation-wide,” said Stewart Haney, President & CEO. “Acquiring ADG and Five Bugles increases our capabilities in the strategic areas that align with our current and future growth plans.”
“Joining forces was a natural fit,” said Steve Gausman, AIA, NCARB. “With Wendel’s deep customer relationships, strong brand, innovative design solutions and a recognized portfolio of best-in-class projects across the nation, we will be able to deliver additional services and added value to our clients as well as provide new opportunities for our employees as part of a larger company.”
When asked to write on the future of terminal design, I found the challenge daunting as well as thought provoking. When I am designing, my goal is to design a building that is both functional for and attractive to future generations. To design a building whose function must adapt to a rapidly evolving world, designed with new, smarter technology is even more challenging. A transit center must adapt to an evolving population of travelers, the vehicles that transport them, new fuels, maintenance needs, real-time communication technologies, geographic impacts and more.
I reached out to several transit design experts on my staff and here is what I heard:
What are the biggest challenges in designing a facility?
When designing a transit facility our goal is to design a building that can physically last for 50 years before needing major renovations. However, anticipating the potential program changes in transit vehicles
and user requirements is a significant challenge for the designer. With the rate of technological advancement, designing 50 years in the future is an almost impossible task.
In addition to technological changes, it is also important to understand that transit riders now want a very personalized experience. Two examples of which are the Heathrow Pod and Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). These driverless vehicles provide an intimate mode of transportation. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is also changing the look of transit, leading to smaller but more frequent transit stations providing a faster, more frequent service for the rider.
These alternate modes of transit are differentiated from the typical fixed route bus system that is currently determining transit facilities. Trying to provide flexibility for all the new future modes will prove to be the biggest challenge in the future. Provided by: Sean Beachy, architect
What design considerations do you find exciting to contemplate?
The design of a future intermodal facility is less about the passenger waiting and more about the passenger experience. I think you will see these facilities become more like an airport with shops, retail, restaurants – places that people want to use as well as it being a multimodal center.
The large, static passenger waiting areas of the past do not serve people well – it needs to be active, vibrant, and useful while still providing waiting areas for transit users.
For example, colleges would not have just a transfer station; it would be a transfer station, a student union, a coffee shop and more.
In the deep inner cities, the station could house government functions providing social services. Provided by: Ron Reekes, southeast regional manager
Transportation Center Design
From an architecture standpoint, the look of the transfer station is what is going to draw in people. For people to choose to ride transit – there must be appeal – aesthetics, amenities, ease of use and helpful technologies. Safety, security, and atmosphere are incredibly important, but ultimately people have to know stops exist where they want to go. Provide by: Jeana Stright, architect
What is happening right now?
The future, in a word, is flexibility. Dealing with the next generation of vehicles and vehicle types. The intermodal facility of tomorrow will accommodate many more modes than we have right now. Intermodals of the future will need to facilitate other modes such as heavy, light and commuter rail, and even high-speed rail, while remaining pedestrian friendly, accommodating significant bicycle use, and rideshare connectivity. Provided by: David Duchscherer, PE
How will new fueling options affect transit center design?
There is an accelerating trend for electricity to be the prime energy source. The impact on transportation terminals will be hubs for generator power (solar, wind, pavement motion, dynamic thermal change) for on-site consumption and for export to utilities. Potential exists to provide charging for large and small vehicles including fixedroute buses, paratransit vehicles, private cars, bikes and trikes, and commercial vehicles. Provided by: Phil Muse, architect
In addition to electric fueling, hybrid, CNG and ultimately hydrogen fueled buses will certainly factor into the mix. The variety of future fueling possibilities will require more flexibility and foresight in the design of transportation terminals to allow for a mix of fuel usage at the same terminal. Provided by: John Havrilla, director of alternative fueling services
What are some of the trends and technologies you see influencing the future of transit center design?
Generational and social trends will greatly influence the future of transit center design. One of the more intriguing current trends is how the millennial generation prefers to take transit because it is sustainable and elevates their quality of life by increasing their social interaction in person and through technology. Since each generation has its own unique characteristics and expectations, it will be interesting to see what future generations expect in the way of mobility and travel. Keeping in step with those expectations and desires will be key in designing future transit centers they will want to use.
So what does all this mean? The transit center of the future will be a living, social organism that will be technology-based and need to have ultimate flexibility as it grows, evolves, and morphs, much like people do. It will be expected to enhance our quality of life through sustainable principles as transportation systems and vehicles get us to where we need to go. The possibilities are exciting to contemplate.
Written for BusRide Magazine by:
You can reach Don at email@example.com