HHD Building ExteriorSW_low res

Project Leadership Gold Award: The Pennsylvania State University’s Health and Human Development Building

Creating better collaboration, enhanced efficiency, and lower operating costs were but a few of the goals behind the development of Penn State’s new Health and Human Development Building (HHD).

Dedicated on October 2, 2015, the new facility unites a number of the college’s research centers under one roof, thereby fostering a greater partnership between these and the College’s academic departments.

HHD-Building_low resThe new facility was designed as the final phase of a two-phased expansion, which began with the construction of the Biobehavioral Health Building. Erecting the HHD building on the same site allowed crews to use the same laydown areas of the Biobehavioral Health Building construction project. This saved crews both time and resources, while allowing them to apply the lessons learned from the Biobehavioral Health Building to the HHD’s development while they were still fresh.

Located on the site of the University’s former Henderson South Building, the HHD building encompasses 95,000 sq. ft. of new construction and 39,000 sq. ft. of renovated space preserved from the existing building.

The HDD building was designed to complement the historic Henderson Mall and enhance the Town and Gown border of central campus while providing students and faculty with a new, state-of-the-art and energy-efficient asset. As such, HHD’s new construction consisted of building materials and similar roofing forms that helped blend the buildings together, an energy efficient façade, as well as eco-friendly building systems.

Modern Project Management

The success of the HHD project is owed in large part to Penn State’s use of collaboration principles and its integration of the latest technologies and systems. That is, while a fully Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) agreement was not possible due to funding source, the essentials of IPD were on full display throughout the build. Highlights included “Lessons Learned” workshops held prior to the project to capitalize on the lessons learned from the Biobehavioral Health Building; extensive discussions with area maintenance personnel and users; the inclusion of a collaboration trailer for all stakeholders, and the practice of pull planning.

Additionally, pre-submittal and installation meetings, the provision of enhanced construction administration services by the design team, and the streamlining of the project’s request for information were also effective tactics used to get the project off the ground.

Penn State’s adoption of advanced Building Information Modeling (BIM) practices was also instrumental to the project’s success. Teams used both Penn State Department of Architectural Engineering’s Icon Lab and a 3D immersive environment provided by the Penn State Applied Research Laboratory’s SEA Lab team for the design reviews. The team then implemented AutoCad BIM 360 throughout construction through building turn over. Moreover, techniques such as clash detection were practiced weekly with all primes and the design team.

GoldWinnerStairs“Penn State is a leader in BIM with an ultimate goal of integration with facilities management,” said Timothy R. Jones, Project Manager with Massaro CM Services. “The design team was tasked with delivering a fully-coordinated BIM model on bid day with traditional plans and specs. Our role through design was enhanced to facilitate BIM clash detection through design. The process, while new to many parties, resulted in a BIM model that reduced construction coordination by 50 percent and resulted in nearly zero field clashes in the new construction portion of the building.”

Other BIM highlights include the adoption of asset management and bar coding for all equipment, and the team’s approach in creating the Commons sculptural wall. The Commons sculptural wall form was designed by the architects utilizing Grasshopper/Rhino software and then transferred to a design-assist contractor for collaboration/joint completion of the Commons design. Support steel and framing models developed by the design-assist contractor were used to pre-fab steel and metal stud framing systems for the Commons forms.

Staying on Schedule

In construction, timing is key. To that end, Penn State’s project management team ensured the building’s design team, construction manager, contractors, and University personnel were equipped with all the best tools and resources to control the project schedule.

Perhaps more importantly, Penn State committed to making timely decisions, recognizing their responsibility in maintaining the project schedule. The construction manager was instructed to develop and release multiple bid packages early for the project, resulting in a number of benefits:

A smooth start: Crews took advantage of existing laydowns areas for the Biobehavioral Health Building to begin construction.

Pre-qualified crew: Pre-qualifying critical contractors prior to the bid ensured that only the most qualified contractors would be considered, thereby reducing delays in the project award process.

Better control: Each prime of the project was controlled within each related set of scopes. Carefully considered division of work resulted in an improved schedule.

Implementing an open book policy when it came to addressing related costs was also a priority. Doing so generated a more fluid understanding of cost information, and contributed to a more collaborative review process. Changes in project cost and scope did not impact the overall project schedule.

Quality Control

HHD_College_Ave_low resA high degree of quality was maintained throughout the HDD project. This was achieved through the design solution’s ability to meet the program, the appropriateness of the building materials to relate to adjacent buildings, the durability of materials to ensure longevity, and the craftsmanship of construction to be certain the building passed the test of time.

Further quality control measures included:

  • Fostering a constant communication /feedback loop
  • Adopting a focus on “getting it right” through collaboration and shared knowledge
  • Conducting rigorous on-site quality control from delivery to installation
  • Being a good neighbor by coordination with public relations and campus events
  • Ensuring enhanced on-site representation during construction
  • Undergoing pre-installation quality control

Setting a Sustainability Benchmark

Penn State prides itself on being a role model for sustainability. In addition to receiving numerous environmental accolades and being part of numerous eco-friendly groups and associations, it is the largest university to sign on to the US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. Through this, it has pledged to reduce the energy use of 28 million sq. ft. of building areas by 20 percent over the next 10 years.

Naturally, then, sustainability was a core goal for the HHD initiative. As such, a number of sustainable goals were set and met upon the conclusion of the project.

Currently pursuing LEED Silver certification, the HHD building was built as a 100-year building using high-performance and superior quality materials. It is designed to achieve a minimum of 30 percent energy savings over ASHRAE 90.1 energy standard through the use of various eco-friendly systems, the installation of LED lighting for a majority of the lighting systems, and a large number of windows to facilitate natural ventilation and daylight.

Other green highlights include the implementation of rain gardens along College Avenue; the preservation of significant trees on the site; the adoption of möbius, Penn State’s waste management and composting program within the building; and the installation of low temp hot water systems allowing for future installation of solar hot water or geothermal technology as markets develop. Additionally, Penn State’s central production of steam and chilled water contributed to the overall efficiency of the building.

“Penn State’s vision is to embed sustainability as a fundamental value at the University through the development of sustainable literacy, solutions and leadership,” said Penn State in its project submission, adding, “As such, this building was designed to meet the University’s design standards which require a high degree of energy conservation, resource management, and systems performance.”

Built to Last

Aggressive schedules, budgets, and logistic complexities proved no match for the team behind the Health and Human Development Building. The project was completed on time and within 1 percent of the budget. Moreover, thanks to Penn State’s adherence to collaboration principles, its technologically savvy team, and air-tight project management, Penn State now enjoys a state-of-the art addition to its campus.

“This is an impressive addition to the campus that gives us the facilities we need to operate for years to come,” said Marianne W. Kuhns, Assistant to the Dean. “The quote from the Field of Dreams, ‘If you build it, they will come,’ reflects what this building has done for our college. We are recruiting outstanding faculty and students because they see the quality of our new buildings, and they know Penn State has made a commitment to and an investment in their future.”

Type of Project: Institutional (State owned higher education)
Delivery Method: CM agency / multiple prime public bid

Owner: The Pennsylvania State University
Design Professional: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Construction Professional: Massaro Construction Management Services
Landscape Architects: Michael Vergason Landscape Architects Ltd.

Civil Engineers: Sweetland Engineering & Associates, Inc.
Structural Engineers: Silman
MEP Engineers: Bruce E. Brooks & Associates