Behind the Enormous Lincoln Square Expansion Project

Sponsored by MacDonald-Miller

There is a tidal wave of construction taking over the Pacific Northwest. One project surpasses the rest in scope and size - the Lincoln Square Expansion. And who better to discuss the new expansion than the Vice President of Engineering at Kemper Development, Dave Nieman.

What is the scope of the Lincoln Square expansion project?

The Lincoln Square expansion is 1.5 million square feet, multi-use, high-rise office, high-rise hotel & office space project. It has a north and south tower, and those towers are anchored to huge concrete plates in the ground. The first one was the largest contiguous pour in Washington state history, the next one happened to be even bigger than the first, so we set two records in the course of a month. Approximately 3,000 people are involved in the construction of this facility, scheduled to open in fall of 2017.

How did you choose your mechanical contractor for such a major project?

We are relationship driven when it comes to our vendors. MacDonald-Miller has been a vendor of Kemper Development for over 25 years as our design-build group. They are doing all of the mechanical systems in this project – responsible for installing the chillers and plumbing systems – as well as the controls.

Have there been any surprises?

You would think that over a 25 year period there would be many events that could possibly damage the relationship, but one of the reasons we have had such a long partnership with MacMiller is that they do respond to our issues. If we have a particular problem, I can go to them and say, “Look, I’m not feeling comfortable about this or this isn’t how I want to see this,” and they respond to that. They don’t say, “well this isn’t part of the scope so we aren’t going to look at it.” They respond at a performance level you don’t get from a lot of other companies.

What is the result of having the right mechanical contractor?

From a clientele’s standpoint and a visitor’s standpoint, it all has to work together to keep everyone as pleased as possible. From controlling lights to HVAC, you name it – we got it. We have everything right here at our fingertips. Any one of my technicians can go to their computer and have instantaneous access to anything in the portfolio, which makes it much easier in keeping our clientele happy.

Is the controls aspect specialized for your building?

Every building is unique. The Lincoln Square expansion is going to be different from any other building out there. The software has to reflect that, and adapt to the conditions it’s controlling.

Why is that significant?

You cannot physically respond fast enough to make all the changes that would be necessary to keep the environment comfortable. With today’s system, you have all these data points coming in, with the separation of the heating and cooling. In the old days, everyone was comfortable but at a huge cost. Today, it’s live, real-time data. It’s being crunched continuously and the modifications to the controls program are fluid and automatic, which not only keep the building comfortable, but very efficient because we don’t have this simultaneous cooling and heating going on that we would normally have without that level of control.

What is unique about your work with MacDonald-Miller?

Their engineering group developed one of the best energy efficient programs available.Through custom sequence of operations with the control system changes we have made, we have cut our utility expense by 25%, which is huge. We have not had a single down day or a single complaint from our clients. From a satisfaction standpoint of an end-user, it’s an experience that doesn’t happen all the time, but it has consistently happened with our relationship with MacMiller.

As an industry leader in Building Performance, MacDonald-Miller designs, builds, and optimizes, saving energy costs for our customers. With optimal energy performance, the utility costs of a building can be trimmed by 50%. Not only does this eliminate wasteful spending, it reduces unwarranted harm to the environment. Plus system tune-ups extend equipment life and improve reliability.

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