Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 86

Institutional | CONSTRUCTION - AMHERST COLLEGE NEW SCIENCE CENTER

Advanced Expertise
BARR & BARR'S EXPERIENCE HELPS BRING A NEW SCIENCE CENTER TO AMHERST COLLEGE. BY CHRIS KELSCH

Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year,
Barr & Barr is working with repeat client
Amherst College on a major project.

E

ven for long-standing universities
known for their excellent liberal
arts programs, there is no getting
around the fact that STEM education is extremely important. Like other
schools, Amherst College has seen its math
and science curriculums grow tremendously in recent years. To meet this demand,
Amherst enlisted Barr & Barr, a longtime
partner with the university, to build its New
Science Center.
In July 2018, the school will open the
four-story, 250,000-square-foot New Science
Center with state-of-the-art teaching and
research facilities. The center will include
a science commons that will unite the five
wings of the building.
It will also include classrooms, teaching
labs, a library, café and informal learning
areas for students. In addition to the new
building, improvements will be made to
the infrastructure that serves the building
as well as the Greenway Dorms. These
upgrades include steam, chilled water,
stormwater, sanitary sewer, electric and
tele-data utilities.

86

CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017

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Modern Tools
Barr & Barr is a renowned firm celebrating
its 90th anniversary with profound experience building in the Northeast. The Amherst
students will not be the only ones using the
latest science and technology - Barr & Barr
utilized extensive building information
modeling (BIM) throughout the project.
Bill Aquadro, vice president of Barr &
Barr, is serving as project executive and
notes BIM's importance.
"We primarily used it to coordinate
the routing of the mechanical systems,"
Aquadro explains. "In laying out the systems in a 3-D environment, we were able
to coordinate amongst ourselves as well as
eliminate any and all conflicts in the field,
particularly with different piping systems
such as plumbing, electrical and HVAC."
Ben Hedges serves as BIM manager on
the project and notes how crucial the BIM
process was during coordination of the
concrete structure. "We had a cast-in-place
concrete superstructure with numerous
structural constraints, including 1,900
tons of steel reinforcing," Hedges explains.

"There were limited opportunities for coring
holes after the concrete was placed. It was
absolutely critical to first build virtually in
an effort to avoid costly errors in the field."
Hedges also notes that BIM helped with
subsurface coordination. "Two levels of the
structure are actually below grade," Hedges
says. "Due to the presence of ground water
and surface water runoff, an extensive underslab/perimeter and site drainage system
was required."
The system Hedges refers to was among
a network of site utilities that interacted
with the building's foundation and required
careful coordination. Using BIM, Aquadro
and his team accurately modeled all of the
surrounding site utilities and were able to
identify problem areas prior to excavation
and installation. The 3-D site utility model
was used as a vehicle to communicate system routing and encouraged construction
sequence pre-planning.

Mechanical Coordination
The mechanical, electrical and plumbing
(MEP) coordination and clash detection
process took more than 12 months to complete. Throughout the various laboratories
and faculty offices, there are numerous
spatial constraints.
The primary MEP risers are housed
within the limits of concrete shear cores
that span multiple levels. Hedges notes that
BIM technology was utilized in an effort to
determine the most efficient mechanical
routing while encouraging MEP system
pre-fabrication.
After an extensive constructability
analysis and consideration of all structural
limitations, MEP risers were detailed as singular full-height racks. "BIM ultimately allowed us to prefabricate 60-foot mechanical
risers," Hedges says. "They were fabricated
and assembled off-site and then delivered,
pre-tested and pre-insulated." Indeed, the
racks were installed during off-hours when
the project's tower crane was available.


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