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LAUSD Awards First-Ever Design-Build Contract

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The team of Pinner Construction Co. and gkkworks will head a $28-million design-build contract on the Dorsey High School redevelopment project for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The LEED silver project, the districtís first-ever design-build effort, will be completed by June 2014.

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Major components of the multi-phase Dorsey High School project include construction of 17 interim classroom buildings, demolition of eight existing classroom buildings and a girls’ gymnasium, construction of a two-story, 28,000-sq-ft classroom building and 22,000-sq-ft gymnasium and the extensive modernization of an existing 19,000-sq-ft gymnasium.

Some of the benefits for the project owner using design-build delivery include faster delivery, cost savings, better quality, singular responsibility, decreased administration burden and reduced litigation claims, according to the Design Build Institute of America. Lower costs per construction project driven by the design-build method would also free up unused money for schools to apply to other critical uses.

Design-build was a wise choice for the Dorsey endeavor, project officials say.

“Considering the aggressive scheduling of this project’s multiple phases, design-build is a great choice,” says Justin Davis, project estimator for the Pinner Construction/gkkworks team. “The design-build method allows us to work more collaboratively, thereby getting all phases of the entire project designed, approved and built faster. As a result, we are providing the district with the best value approach. The students will ultimately benefit by being able to use the newly constructed facilities earlier while the modernization of the existing gym continues during the final phase.”

Davis says the Division of the State Architect has already approved drawings for the interim classroom compound and construction is well underway. “Upon substantial completion of the interim classroom phase this summer, our team will progress into the demolition and abatement phase,” he says.

The new classroom building and gymnasium will be supported by auger pressure grouted displacement piles drilled 45 ft below grade into a dense sand and gravel layer due to soft-soil conditions in this particular section of Los Angeles in which Dorsey High School is located.

“What’s unique about the installation of these piles is that it doesn’t create a lot of noise,” Davis says. “The repetitive loud noise of a driven pile wouldn’t work at an existing high school. Also, some of the piles will be close to existing buildings on campus, so this system mitigates any vibration issues.”

Design development for the construction of the new gym and classroom building, as well modernization of the existing gymnasium––originally built in the 1930s, has been completed. Davis says his team will submit construction documents to the DSA in May.

California passed legislation (SB 614) in 2007, which allows school districts and community college districts to combine architectural, engineering and construction services in a single contract, called a design-build package, for projects of $2 million or more.

Historically, the use of design-build in North America has experienced a steady increase. Last year, 45% of all non-residential construction projects were delivered as design-build, up from 35% in 2000, according to the DBIA. Design-bid-build was the choice of 45% in 2010, down from 54% in 2000. Construction management (at risk) accounted for the remaining 10% last year. The DBIA considers design-build’s increasing popularity one of the most significant trends in design and construction today.

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