The design-build student housing project located on Cal State Fullerton’s main campus, was comprised of six buildings with a total of 1056 beds, a dining hall, and a central plant. But all of these shared a tight common site footprint that also bordered a central piazza, one of the projects and the campus’ defining features. Initially, there was some doubt that the project could work within the given acreage. So PCL and its partnered architects determined not only which parts, but also which functions of the central plant could be arranged to take up the least amount of space. The team also evaluated the efficiency of the dining area and its food service component to help in the solution. 

Using an unconventional but innovative approach that was at no cost to the owner, the final resolution of this challenge was to stack the cooling tower and chiller units in the central plant, creating a smaller footprint for this program area while also reducing the program food prep area and increasing the area for the student dining. The approach was so successful that the team was able to create an additional outdoor dining area that had never been part of the original RFP. The feature was something that had long been desired for the campus and additionally enhance the previously mentioned piazza.

Because of the number of inspections required for a project with this many interwoven objectives and the budget agreed upon with the owner, PCL assisted CSUF in planning and streamlining their inspection schedule, creating a detailed inspection sign-up board in the job site trailer for the subcontractors to complete on a daily basis. This organized approach eliminated multiple inspections from occurring at the same time in a certain building. PCL met with the inspection team at the end of the day to review the daily inspection request schedule and compiled any findings to assist in managing the inspection process.

The use of 3D models in both design and construction assisted PCL in maintaining an aggressive, overlapping design and construction schedule, while absorbing numerous changes along the way. The team included concrete lift drawings, coordination of foundations with underground services, efficient layout and coordination of substantial underground utility systems throughout the site, masonry wall and precast dimensional detailing and connection design, pre-stressing strand layout and design, mechanical and electrical systems layout and clash detection, building and site survey and layout coordination, construction phasing and logistics planning, site grading (cut and fill) analysis, leadership of subcontract shop drawing production and coordination, and project as-built documentation.

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