Case Studies

NAVFAC Parking Structure & BEQ – Hensel Phelps Construction Company

Military Personnel Abodes

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) is undergoing the construction of new residences to house 650 Navy sailors who are currently stationed aboard ships at Naval Base San Diego (NBSD). The new Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ) is part of a 2003 initiative to provide Navy sailors with better living conditions while in port. Because living quarters aboard the ships can be cramped, the Home Port Ashore Program provides more comfortable housing for those serving.

NAVFAC is working with Hensel Phelps Construction Company (HPC) in order to grant sailors with better-suited accommodations. HPC is a general contractor and construction management company headquartered in Greeley, Colo., with eight offices around the United States, including Irving, Calif. NAVFAC chose HPC based on the company’s broad portfolio of projects, and the fact that the HPC team has developed a well-reputed working relationship with the military over the years.

Bill Welch, project manager at HPC, says the company has recently completed another Home Port Ashore Project at the Coronado Naval Base. “We finished that in 2011,” Welch explains. “It’s just across the bay and it was a very similar project.”

Project Specifications

HPC is working with a network of experienced subcontractors to construct two buildings on the base. “We’re building a parking garage for 800 cars and a seven-story BEQ,” says Welch. “This is the second project for the program on the West Coast and we’re looking at a 23-month job.” The team broke ground on the project in January 2012 and Welch says it will be complete by the end of 2013. “The construction is very straightforward,” he explains. “We had 6 stories cast in place for the parking garage, which is pretty standard for 800 cars. We had seven months in which to complete the garage. The BEQ is a nice looking building, but straightforward. It’s mostly CMU construction with cast in place concrete floors.”

The finished project will include several unique features. The BEQ is designed to offer a home-like setting with enlarged bedrooms, semi-private baths and common areas with kitchens and living rooms. The building will also have 4,000-square feet of community space including a game room, internet café, and communal television and study areas. The outdoor layout features recreational areas for barbecues and picnics, an amphitheater, a running track and bicycle storage.

Working with Restrictions

As a military project, HPC’s design-build work had to adhere to several government requirements. “There are a lot of restrictions on building specifications,” Welch explains. “We’re always afraid we might miss something.” In order to minimize changes to the plan and save potential remediation costs, HPC placed the focus on the design process. “Even though it’s a design-build project, our plan was complete before we even broke ground,” says Welch. “ha’s actually an unusual luxury in this business. We phased the design on the parking garage so we could get started right away, and we couldn’t begin construction on the BEQ until the garage was complete.”

Part of the restrictions set in place by the military is an emphasis on energy efficiency. The parking garage incorporates a series of 750 photovoltaic panels that draw energy from the sun, positioned on the top level. The BEQ meets LEED gold standards with water and energy efficient features as well as a natural air ventilation system.

HPC has performed several military projects, thus building a unique niche in the construction industry. With military projects, Welch explains, “It’s easy to get in trouble if you don’t know what you’re doing.” Aside from building restrictions, the company has to meet security restrictions while moving materials and manpower in and out of the base. “All of our subs have to have past working experience for NAVFAC,” Welch says. “We leave out a lot of people who aren’t ready to deal with security requirements. We have to get badges for any of our personnel working out there.” The management team carried many subs over from the Coronado project and another project at Camp Pendleton.

The military has become a major repeat client for HPC. “Our company works across the country and the government is one of our biggest customers,” Welch explains. “NAVFAC Southwest is sort of the Navy’s building division. They take care of all of the bases in California and Arizona and they do the most projects of any of the NAVFAC divisions.

In the last few years, HPC has been focused on projects with NAVFAC and other military outfits. “We’ve had a major push with military construction over the past few years,” says Welch. “I think they’re even ramping it down a bit.” The company will continue to work closely with NAVFAC and Welch estimates his team may be involved in a few more Home Port Ashore projects within the next few years.

NAVFAC’s Home Port Ashore initiative has helped push for better housing for service members in the Navy while bringing a greater awareness to the comfort needs of military personnel across the country. The BEQ and parking space will alleviate congestion elsewhere on the base while making a home for dedicated sailors. Green initiatives like the solar panels are helping the military to reduce spending while still doing good by the men and women who serve.

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