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Project Profile: National Weather Service HVAC Replacement

NWS Hero

Teamwork and Pre-planning instrumental in meeting tight deadlines

The National Weather Service, Central Region Headquarters, is the NWS Training Center and also houses several National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offices. Training is one of the main functions of this facility, but they also provide weather forecasting, severe weather alerts, and climate monitoring. With so much at stake, having up-to-date mechanical systems is crucial.

When the HVAC systems in the building were on the brink of going out of warranty and would no longer be up to standards to house a government tenant, building owner Cushman and Wakfield had to do something fast to keep the building "government-tenant" compliant.

The P1 Group Performance Solutions team was able to develop a plan with an aggressive - but manageable - timeline. The project needed to be done in three months’ time and required the single source capabilities P1 is known for, including:

  • Building Technologies
  • Commissioning
  • Controls
  • Electrical Construction
  • Fabrication
  • HVAC Construction
  • Sheet Metal Construction

The entire scope of work entailed replacing 97 Fan Powered VAV's, installing a new building Automation System with integration to existing and new equipment, replacing 13 Rooftop Units, 4 CRAC Units, and 2 Humidifier Steam Generators.

The running of the new data cable for the new controls system was able to start in early June, but the replacement of the 97 Fan Powered VAV’s had to be done in 10 days.

With the tight time frame, Sheet Metal Foreman Dave Wright stepped up to make sure everything was ready when the physical work started. Initially, he did a lot of foot work verifying the plans. He examined every existing fan powered box to confirm they were consistent with the drawings from 1998. He discovered that many items were not the same and adjustments were able to be made in advance.

“Dave Wright and Electrical Foreman Harold Green did a great job of familiarizing themselves with the site beforehand so that once boots were on the ground, they were ahead of everything,” Project Manager Andrew Noone said. “Dave was planning for himself and 10 other guys so that is a lot of thinking and making sure we have enough ladders, sheet metal screws, and the transitions ready.”

The schedule had to be very precise to work around the operations of the occupants.

“We had to work around their schedules because they had classes and other things firmly scheduled in these areas that they couldn’t move, or else it was mission critical and we couldn’t be working in multiple critical areas at the same time,” Andrew explained.

Working in a secured building created another set of challenges. Many of the areas required badge access. The tight time frame didn’t allow time to get General Services Administration (GSA) clearances for the foreman, which would have allowed them to get their own badges. Our workers had to be badged in by an onsite employee, so the NWS worked with us to determine ways to get easier access.

“They have been very accommodating and have allowed us to prop certain doors open at various times as long as security was aware.” said Andrew.

Andrew noted that an occupied office space means cubicles to work around, especially when it came to getting the existing boxes out of the ceiling, so they had to get creative.

There were two boxes located above large Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) units. To remove those, the team attached new hangers and were able to drift them down and out, away from the UPS to keep from damaging it.

When the new boxes arrived and were staged, it only allowed the crew 10 working days to change out 97 fan powered boxes. “We worked overtime to maintain the schedule. If the plan was to replace 10 boxes that day, the crew stayed until all 10 were replaced. A couple of people stayed later in order to clean up fully and get everything staged and ready for 6am the next morning. With the schedule so short we couldn’t afford to fall behind,” Andrew said.

The majority of the work was done within the two-week time frame. The rooftops units were installed the following week and the startup and commissioning continued a few days into July. Due to the concentrated efforts of the entire team, everything was wrapped up on schedule and provided the National Weather Service with a state-of-the-art HVAC and Control system.

Project Development Team

Carl Van Vliet, Alan Sparling, JB Ashcraft

Carl, Alan, and JB worked to develop scope of work, schedule, equipment selections, estimate, and negotiate the project with the owner to meet their needs and expectations. Once awarded, Carl became heavily involved in project to ensure proper submittals and work carefully through controls needs.

“Carl comes from a project management background, so he really kept us on track, especially on the controls side. He made sure we had programming in place before we replaced the equipment so that it would be operational and all the redundancies set up as soon as it was hooked up. His experience really proved vital and overall the team has worked very well together.” -Andrew Noone, Project Engineer

Project Execution Team

  • Andrew Noone: Project Manager
    mechanical, overall project, point-of-contact with owner
  • Daniel Farnan & Nathan Pendergraft: Electrical PMs
  • Ronnie Rice: Controls PM
  • Derek Hattock: Control installation PM
  • Dave Wright: Sheetmetal Foreman & Project Superintendent
    planned in advance to avoid surprises during installation, and to accommodate shortened schedule
  • Harold Green: Electrical Foreman
    planned electrical installation
  • Mark Ashcraft: Piping Foreman
    planned piping installation
  • Keith Everhart: Control Wiring Foreman
    planned control wiring installation
  • Justin Foster, Danny Addadi, Chad Mancillas: Controls design, programming, commissioning
  • Adam Collier: Commissioning
  • John Cobb: TAB management.
  • Philip Young: TAB technician.
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