Althea Central Plant Improvements

posted Jan 3, 2012, 3:27 PM by Leaford Blevins   [ updated Mar 8, 2012, 12:15 PM by Haven Buchmiller ]


In the course of the last several years a number of projects had taken place within the client's headquarters facility.  The existing utility systems that supported the initial operation of the manufacturing facility were not large enough to support continued expansion of their manufacturing facilities within the building.  The objective of this project was to increase the utility systems as a necessary and provide for an expansion of utility system storage area within a secure enclosure on site.  The objective of this project was to provide for these facilities, while causing minimum disruption in the ongoing operations within the building. 

Design Approach:

Interviews were conducted with scientific personnel and facility managers to determine the needs that would be provided for with the improvement of the central plant.  An area adjacent to the building and to the existing utility yard was identified as a potential location for the expanded capacity that would be required.  The potential layout of the yard and the effects that would have on the existing building exiting scheme were reviewed with the  City of San Diego's  Building Department and Fire Department  in order to determine how they building could best respond to the provisions of the new yard space and building additions, while maintaining existing building exiting schemes, and existing fire lanes surrounding the building.   Preliminary  plans were generated and used by the clients general contractor to determine the most economically feasible method for providing the new space.

Design Objective:

Space on the site is very limited, and the new utility systems to be installed as part of this work required careful planning in order to allow their construction within the existing site constraints.  Within the building new pipe systems need to be routed within concealed above ceiling spaces and on the roof. The new work needed to be fully integrated into the existing building systems with a minimum of interference with ongoing operations in the building.  And when complete, the new work needed to appear to be part of the original construction.  A major design objective was to accomplish the work, while the existing building remain in operation during the entire period of the work. 

Design Challenge:

The existing building exiting scheme required a number of doors at the perimeter of the building to lead directly to the outside.  The absence of an interior circulating corridor system required that many of the rooms in the interior of the building exit immediately to the outside.  The construction of the new utility yard blocked several of these exits, and required that the interior exiting scheme for the building be reconfigured in a way that would permit these exits to be eliminated. The existing roof drainage system required that roof drainage discharge through down spouts directly to the adjacent parking area.  The construction of the new yards in the area of this drainage discharge required that the roof drainage be redesigned to discharge in an alternative way.  This required the relocation of existing mechanical and electrical systems on the building exterior.  Existing fire lanes surrounded the headquarters facility, and provided only a very small narrow area outside the building within which any improvements could be located.  In order to provide for the location of the equipment and for the proper accessing of the equipment from the exterior, a system of entrances from the inside of the building to the yard area was required.