Final Thesis Proposal

Analysis 1: Modularization of the Laboratory Spaces

Modular units in recent years have been a viable solution for quality construction.  Fabricating in an offsite location is less expensive compared to field assembly as well as the schedule benefiting by reducing the overall duration of the activity.  Quality is also assumed to be higher than if constructed in the field.  Inexperienced subcontractors can perform unacceptable work which can delay the schedule in order to fix.  The goal of the analysis is to increase the quality of finishes in the laboratory space while decreasing the schedule. Along with fabrication of the modular units other areas of the building will be evaluated such as the structure and the MEP systems in this analysis.

Analysis 2: BIM Implementation with Virtual Mockups

Virtual mockups allow users to also get to express their opinion on sample lab areas for space requirements and layouts without construction.  Comparing virtual mockups to field mockups along with the users’ opinion on which space can be more effective is a large piece of this analysis.  A benefit of not using as many field mockups is the reduction of waste associated with the project which can affect the LEED rating.  Virtual mockups can also be made well before the purchasing of any lab equipment and used as a selection process for specialty equipment.  Techniques learned in 597A will be applied regarding modeling and the presentation of the virtual mockup. 

Analysis 3: Sustainability

Sustainable and energy efficient design is becoming mandatory by many owners and facility managers.  The BRL labs are high in consuming energy because of the redundant systems, only achieving LEED silver.  Using techniques learned in AE 897G as well as other architectural engineering classes the idea of solar panels will be implemented as well as utilizing geothermal loops.  Adding these two energy systems accomplishes multiple goals; it significantly lowers electric usage as well as the amount of heated water. A cost analysis of the total system will be examined as well as the possible redesign of the K joists located in the roof. 

Analysis 4: Labor Resources Schedule Acceleration

The critical path of the project lies with the construction process, if one or more of these activities are not completed on time the project completion date would not be achieved.  This analysis will examine the schedule of the project and break down different activities, imposing several changes to accelerate the project schedule.  The goal of the technical analysis is to return the project to the planned completion date with minimal cost implications. 

Structural Breadth

The building footprint sits on a series of reinforced spread footings for the steel columns where the spread footing reinforcement extends into the column footing.  According to the geotechnical survey of the site, the wall footings and column footings must be 18 and 24 inches respectively to avoid punching shear failures.  The first floor was comprised of a 2 inch metal composite deck with 2.5 inches of lightweight concrete.  The steel throughout the structure will be comprised of both HSS4x4x4x3/8 as well as a series of wide flanged columns, W8x31 being the most commonly used.   The beams in the structure are also supported by a series of hollow core structural steel as well as different types of wide flanged beams.  The roof is comprised of a 1 1/2 inch metal decking that is supported by joists and the joists transfer the load to the beams and ultimately the columns. 
Added dead load from the modularization of the laboratory spaces, in Technical Analysis 1, requires many of the structural components described above to be evaluated.  The metal decking is one of the primary concerns as well as the connections between the beams and columns.  One more area of concern is the size of the footing for the Biological Research facility.   The Photovoltaic system which is outlined in Technical Analysis 3 imposes a significant amount of added dead load to the roof structure.  The K joist system will need to be evaluated based on the additional load as well as other areas that could be affected within the structure.

Electrical Breadth

The electrical service into the building will be a 480Y/277 service that feeds a 1600 Amp double-ended switchgear.  The power flows downstream to a pair of 1200 Amp switchboards which are fed from separate sides of the 1600 Amp double-ended switchgear.  These two switch boards will supply the power to the mechanical, lighting and receptacle panel boards.  The panels boards for the ABSL3 and BSL3 will be supplied from different panels located outside the containment barrier.  The service for the facility will be calculated not only for the anticipated load but will include an additional 25% capacity for growth.  A generator will also be placed on site for standby/Emergency and all life safety loads will be redundantly wired alongside with normal power in case of an emergency. 
The Installation of the Photovoltaic system could pose several issues that need to be addressed in the location of equipment.  Inverters many times are placed outside because of the heat and unfriendly noises, creating longer runs between PV components.  Electrical feeders need to be sized and installed between the solar panels, the inverter, and the switch gear inside the building.  How the added power is connected to the switchgear also needs to be examined along with the possibility of any constructability issues.