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April 24, 2014

ABC Awards • Electrical & Communications

Photo courtesy of Pennon Construction Co.
SME Inc. of Seattle installed electrical and other systems at the 202 Westlake building.

202 Westlake building
SME Inc. of Seattle

General contractor: Pennon Construction Co.

Architects: IA Interior Architects; DDG Architects

Owner: First Western Development Services

ABC member: Tradesmen International

The 202 Westlake building consists of six stories of above-grade office space, retail space on the ground floor and four stories of below-grade parking.

This 130,000-square-foot building was the first speculative commercial project to be built in Seattle after the 2009 recession. Initially proposed, designed and budgeted in 2008, the project went on hold for three years due to poor economic conditions.

When construction finally started, the building owners secured a lease with Amazon in the middle of the shell/core build-out. Amazon planned to occupy the building immediately following the shell/core completion.

SME Inc. of Seattle’s scope for this project was the design and installation of 5,800-amp, 480-volt service with a 1,600-amp bus riser, a 350-kilowatt generator, shell/core and office tenant improvement lighting and power, fire alarm, card access, distributed antenna system, area of refuge communications, site utilities, and Seattle City Light duct bank.

Fifteen months into the shell and core work, SME got notice that Amazon was the client and they were to proceed on the tenant improvement for Amazon, which had to be completed within six months.

Not only would the work be impacted by long lead times necessary for procurement, it also required that SME perform much of the work alongside and in some cases, on top of the other shell/core work.

To maintain the schedule, SME worked with the lighting supplier to meet quick rough-in schedules by having fixtures delivered on a just-in-time basis to limit exposure to other construction activities.

SME staffed the project with a superintendent and four foremen each assigned to a particular area: lighting and controls, overhead and HVAC power, wall and floor power, and fire alarms. At times, they elected to use overtime rather than just add manpower to maintain quality control.

SME completed the project on time and within budget despite the compressed deadline. There were no time-loss injuries in 33,558 hours worked.

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