Gerald Spencer, P.E. has more than 50 years experience serving as the Engineer of Record responsible for the design and construction of the MEP portions of more than 1300 building construction projects since 1968 including more than 30 years of preparing forensic engineering reports. Gerald Spencer, P.E. has also been providing licensed professional engineering expert opinion and testimony concerning HVAC, electrical, plumbing, cryogenics, ventilation, construction contract compliance, construction cost estimating, construction contract acquisition, construction contract administration, and other construction matters for attorneys with since 2001.
1. Our approach to the design of a remodeling project would generally follow our "New Construction Project Plan of Execution" except as follows. The contract documents for federally funded maintenance and repair projects for existing facilities must be more complete and detailed than is required for new federally funded construction projects. You cannot expect the contractor to perform work that is not indicated on the contract documents. You will have to pay "extra" for work items that are not specifically called for in the contract documents, but needed for contract completion. This requires a greater effort on the part of the architects and engineers to produce a more complete and detailed set of contract documents. Spencer Engineers, Inc. (SEI) has a reputation for very complete and detailed construction documents that preclude almost all field change orders (extras) during construction. Our Architects and Engineers are experts preparing bidding documents for maintenance and repair of existing facilities. Most of our federal government projects during the first 35 years have been remodeling, renovation, and repair projects. The design of remodeling projects requires much more experience and knowledge than is required for the preparation of drawings for new publicly funded construction projects. We are very experienced and particularly adept with working in and around existing buildings. The design and construction of remodeling projects requires a more painstaking approach than is required for new construction projects. More thought and planning is required to properly phase the construction to minimize disruption of occupied portions of the project. Our remodeling project expertise greatly improves the constructability of our new project contract documents. Our staff of architects and engineers are particularly well acquainted in building operations and communicate very well with operating and maintenance personnel. You will find that our staff is at home with tools and instruments, as compared to the clean hands ivory tower type of engineer or architect. This attitude generally shows through and makes our personnel more compatible with your operating and maintenance personnel. We always take the time to explain any changes in operating and maintenance procedures to your personnel so that they will fully understand and believe in any procedures that we recommend. For all projects, emphasis must be placed upon fairness to the bidders by indicating all of the work requirements in great detail by defining the existing conditions in order to give each bidder an equal choice and to prevent protest after the contract award. The Bid package must clearly define the all of the factors that conditions affect the execution of the work required by the contract with as much definition as possible, in order to prevent contract modifications due to contractor claims for additional work required to complete the work. The secret for successful remodeling projects is extensive and detailed field investigation and documentation of existing conditions. Our process for the design of a remodeling project, maintenance project, repair project, or an abatement project at a site would generally be as follows: 1.1. Project Definition: Obtain the program requirements, or establish the program requirements through mission analysis, personnel interviews, etc. We could (and would like to) perform a Charette process as described previously to determine and/or to refine the scope of work. Existing facilities have almost always defined their own mission and facility modification requirements without our assistance. The Charrette process brings all of the concerned people together to intensely discuss the program and to distill a configuration for the new construction. The Charrette will continue with the evolution/definition of a floor plan for the new or remodeled construction. 1.2. Field Investigations: We are particularly adept at working in and around existing buildings. The design and construction of remodeling projects requires a more painstaking approach than is required for new construction projects. More thought and planning is required to properly phase the construction so that minimum disruption of the occupied portion of the project will occur. Our staff of architects and engineers are particularly well acquainted in building operations and communicate very well with operating and maintenance personnel. You will find that our staff is at home with tools and instruments, as compared to the clean hands ivory tower type of engineer or architect. This attitude generally shows through and makes our personnel more compatible with your operating and maintenance personnel. We always take the time to explain any changes in operating and maintenance procedures to your personnel so that they will fully understand and believe in any procedures that we recommend. Operating and maintenance personnel generally resent outside consultants looking over their shoulder and will not follow any procedures that they do not fully understand, or do not fully believe in. We want your operating personnel to know that we are on their side, and only want to help them make their operating procedure decisions. 1.3. Dimensionally Defining Existing Buildings: Obtain the as-built drawings of the facility (assuming that they exist, or field survey and document the existing as-built conditions). This can be accomplished during the on-site Charette process. 1.3.1. Input the as-built drawings into CAD in the home office (if they exist). Overnight the as-built drawings to the home office and accomplish the CAD input before the Charette team leaves the site that the Charette team can verify the as-built drawings before leaving the site. 1.3.2. Move the portable CAD unit on-site, field update and field verify as-built building drawing files. Create CAD drawings if no as-built drawings are available. Assign oneregistered Architect (normally the Project Architect) and one CAD operator to field generate CAD drawings of the Architectural portions of the project. CAD preparation in the field allows the field investigator to create drawings as field conditions are recorded. Missing dimensions are readily apparent, and are corrected before leaving the project site (actually each room). We document our field surveys with extensive photographic and video camera records for use when we return to our home office. These records are valuable as a tool during preparation of contract documents. 1.3.3. After completion of the Architectural as-built drawings, assign the Project Mechanical Engineer and one CAD operator to field generate CAD drawings the mechanical systems using the Architect’s CAD drawings as a background. 1.3.4. After completion of the Architectural and Mechanical as-built file drawings, assign the Project Electrical Engineer and one CAD operator to field generate CAD drawings of the Electrical systems using the Architect’s and the Mechanical Engineer’s CAD drawings as a background. 1.3.5. SEI is accustomed to being the AE of record for projects located remote from our office. SDJ&S knows how to be efficient with the man-hours expended for project field investigations needed for design performance. SEI knows the information needed for design in order to minimize travel trips to the site in order to get all of the information needed with minimum site visits. 1.4. Field Determination of Operating Conditions: We will provide mechanical and electrical engineers on-site for direction of the test set-ups and for the operational testing of the chillers and boilers. We will employ local mechanical contractors to install flow and pressure measuring devices that might be required for accurate determination of operating conditions. We can operate the equipment or the base operating personnel can be utilized to assist us in the operational testing. We will supply all portable calibrated instrumentation equipment for field measurement of temperatures and flows. All test data will be taken and certified by one of our Registered Professional Engineers. 1.4.1. WATER CHILLING MACHINES: Chilled Water and Condenser water flows will be accurately determined. Water flows can be determined by pressure drops across heat exchangers, or more accurately by calibrated flow venturi or orifice plate. Electrical voltage, amperage, power input, and power factors at various operating conditions will be determined and documented. 1.4.2. COOLING TOWERS: We will accurately determine heat rejection capacity, wet bulb approach, entering and leaving temperatures, at different operating conditions. Electrical voltage, amperage, power input, and power factors of the fan motors will be determined and documented. 1.4.3. CHILLED WATER AND CONDENSER WATER PUMPS: GPM and dynamic head will be determined. Electrical voltage, amperage, power input, and power factors of the pump motors will be determined and documented. 1.4.4. BOILERS: Boiler steam pressure (and temperature for superheated steam) and flow, fuel gas (or oil) input, boiler feed GPM, hot water flow, inlet and outlet temperatures (for hot water boilers) and other data at full load and part load conditions will be taken. Electrical voltage, amperage, power input, and power factors of the boiler draft fan motors will be determined and documented. Boiler flue Gas will be analyzed at full load and part load conditions. 1.4.5. BOILER FEED UNITS: Boiler feed-water systems will be analyzed. 1.5. Creating Existing Facility Plans: We will use any existing as-built CAD file drawings after field verification of the as-built conditions to prepare Architectural floor plans for submittal. We will utilize ant recently created CADfiles of the as-built conditions. We will utilize any recently CADfile drawings created as a result of the Charrette process. The Interior space planning design should proceed concurrently with the Architectural design in order to assure that the spaces will fit the furniture and equipment required for the end user’s function. Engineering system space requirements (HVAC, Plumbing, Fire Protection, Electrical, Structural, etc.) will be further defined with at the preliminary design and planning stage. Preliminary Engineering from the Charette planning will be LCCA justified and further defined Submittals should be at various stages of completion, such as Program, Concept, Early Preliminary, Preliminary, Intermediate stages of completion, 65% completion, Advance Final Completion, and Final Completion. Government Comments on each submission will be implemented into the next submission. The more submittals and the more reviews that are allowed, the more generally satisfied will be the end user, due to the more input opportunities for the end user. 1.6. Building Systems Design: Use the as-built Architectural file drawings (Floor Plans) to prepare Structural, Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing drawings for concurrent submittals at the various stages of design completion. These designs will progress concurrently with the architectural design.
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1.713.621.2482 or 1.800.383.9685
4635 Southwest Freeway, Suite 900
Houston, Texas 77027