Send in the engineering troops

Military facilities present an army of challenges—exacting codes and regulations, stepped-up security issues, and budgetary concerns. Here, engineers who’ve earned their stripes on such projects share advice on how to win the battle.

07/24/2013


Kevin D. Bomboy, PE, LEED AP, Chief mechanical engineer, STV Group, Douglassville, Pa. Courtesy: STV GroupDavid Callan, PE, CEM, LEED AP, HBDP, Vice president, McGuire Engineers Inc., Chicago. Courtesy: McGuire EngineersRobert L. Crance, Mechanical engineer, Black and Veatch, Overland Park, Kansas. Courtesy: Black and VeatchJoseph H. Talbert, PE, ARM, Project manager, Aon Fire Protection Engineering, Lincolnshire, Ill. Courtesy: Aon Fire Protection EngineeringWilliam Valdez, Northwest justice and civic sector leader/principal, DLR Group, Seattle. Courtesy: DLR Group

Participants:

  • Kevin D. Bomboy, PE, LEED AP, Chief mechanical engineer, STV Group, Douglassville, Pa.
  • David Callan, PE, CEM, LEED AP, HBDP, Vice president, McGuire Engineers Inc., Chicago
  • Robert L. Crance, Mechanical engineer, Black & Veatch, Overland Park, Kansas
  • Joseph H. Talbert, PE, ARM, Project manager, Aon Fire Protection Engineering, Lincolnshire, Ill.
  • William Valdez, Northwest justice and civic sector leader/principal, DLR Group, Seattle

CSE: What engineering challenges do military facilities pose that are different from other structures?

Kevin D. Bomboy: One of the main challenges is providing force protection measures to prevent the building from being a target of terrorism. Required setbacks to eliminate hiding places for bombs dictate the placement of outdoor mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP), and fire protection equipment—chillers, transformers, etc.—farther from the building than would be otherwise desirable. Outside air intakes have to be elevated to make it more difficult to execute a chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) attack on the building. Emergency shutdown systems are required to close all outside air dampers on indication of a CBR attack. Because of the regimented routines of the occupants, plumbing systems in military barracks have to be designed to serve brief periods of very high demand usage in showers and laundries. The stringent requirements for physical, electronic, and information system security that most military facilities have can be challenging to meet.

David Callan: I think there are several engineering challenges and opportunities. The most obvious engineering challenge is security. Depending on the installation, an engineer can encounter a need for physical and environmental security (i.e., CBR protection, cascading pressurization, filtration, and protection of openings). These apply not only to the military, but also many federal applications with national security interests employ these techniques. Since Sept. 11, 2001, we have seen a raising of the bar with respect to security standards. Perhaps a less obvious challenge—one I consider an opportunity—is the breadth and depth of building and systems types an engineer will encounter working with the government and military specifically. We have been involved with housing, office environments, labs, medical buildings, food service, and others.

Robert L. Crance: Military facilities must be designed to support specific criteria beyond what is required by code for commercial facilities. The additional criteria includes provision for force protection, requirements for reduced energy and water use beyond current code required performance, design of facilities for a useful life greater than usually required for commercial construction, and, for some projects, considerations to support continuity of operations. Special criteria necessary to support mission objectives can include higher degrees of air quality achieved through special filtration processes, requirements for redundancies, provisions for system decontamination, and special facility and system post-event survivability.

Joseph H. Talbert: Military facilities have a wide variety of occupancies and uses, which makes for very interesting projects.

William Valdez: Many of the military projects DLR Group is involved in have sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIF). Particularly unique here is the need to comply with Intelligence Community Directives (ICD) 705-1,705-2, and other applicable ICD and Intelligence Community Standard (ICS) technical specifications for physical security requirements. The nature of this kind of design problem-solving in architectural, mechanical, and electrical disciplines can be very challenging.

CSE: Please describe a recent military facility project you’ve worked on—share challenges you encountered, how you solved them, and engineering aspects you’re especially proud of.

Crance: A recent telecommunications central office facility was designed to provide 36,400 sq ft of new building space used for data/switch functions and administrative support space. The project was located on a very tight site and was required to support integration into the existing infrastructure with minimal impact to ongoing system operations. This project was designed in accordance with the U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC v2.2 rating system to achieve a Silver certification. Achieving this favorable building performance was accomplished through careful integration of all components of the facility design and by using commonly applied HVAC system solutions with long proven performance histories rather than implementing any developing or unproven technologies that may not support the critical nature of the facility mission.

Valdez: Our engineering firm is extremely proud of having a hand in making Fort Carson, Colo., one of the “greenest” installations in the country. Through the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) construction, Fort Carson has gone through an enormous expansion of its facilities and infrastructure. Our firm has been involved in six of the new buildings at Fort Carson during that period. Of the six new buildings, two have been certified LEED Gold while the project requirements only mandated LEED Silver. One of the key success factors for the team has been our integrated approach to sustainability, the process of empowering all engineering disciplines to generate ideas together in creating the sustainable systems for each project. An example of one way that we elevated sustainable design at Fort Carson was through a ground source heat pump (GSHP). This geothermal heating and cooling system serves a 13,000-sq-ft facility. It uses 40 400-ft-deep wells that transfer heat into and out of the building by circulating water below ground where the Earth’s temperature is constant. Prior to our Division Headquarters Band Training Facility project, Fort Carson had never used such a system. Because of this, the biggest challenge was educating the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the GSHP system is proven technology, would yield the performance requirements of the request for proposal, and would be easy to maintain. In the end it has become a great success story for both DLR Group and Fort Carson, which led to our use of GSHP systems on all six facilities that we’ve designed there. GSHP systems have become the new standard.

Talbert: One recent project involved the installation of a fire alarm system in a particularly noisy environment. Because the occupants were required to wear hearing protection, all occupants were effectively “hearing impaired.” The solution was to supplement the speakers in the space with visible notification appliances situated so that all occupants could see the visible notification appliances from any point in the room.

STV Group’s recent military facility projects included work on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Armed Forces Reserve Center; shown here is a bay of its operational maintenance shop. Courtesy: STV GroupBomboy: STV works on numerous military facilities each year, ranging from headquarters and training facilities to housing and dining facilities; each brings unique challenges. One common challenge is the design/build delivery method very often used for military projects. This delivery approach is very prevalent in military facility projects and requires development of a building MEP design during bidding in sufficient detail and accuracy for our build partner to generate a bid price. This requires skill, diligence, and focus to generate a 30% to 40% design over a very tight schedule. Meeting the energy-efficiency requirements of the project, while holding the construction costs within the authorized funding limits, can also be challenging. It is gratifying that nearly all of our military projects have been able to qualify for LEED Silver certification or better. 


<< First < Previous 1 2 Next > Last >>

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.