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May 15, 2015

Construction Award • Public Building
$25 million-$50 million

Photo by Lara Swimmer
The project team used lean construction and other techniques to limit change orders and cut costs.

Discovery Hall

Location: Bothell

General contractor: Lease Crutcher Lewis

Owner/developer: University of Washington

Primary designer: THA Architecture

University of Washington Bothell’s Discovery Hall expanded capacity by 1,000 students with a focus on high-demand STEM fields and kicked off a new era of campus improvements. The team beat an aggressive budget and schedule by rethinking the general contractor/construction manager process, and leveraging integrated teaming better than any previous UW project.

The project was kept on track through integrated teaming, design and construction innovations, and lean construction, including innovations like building a foundation wall early, reducing soil trucking by 8,000 cubic yards, and having 20 trades participate in a “federated model” to virtually build the project. These and other advances helped to dramatically reduce RFIs and change orders, and saved a large percentage of the UW’s contingency. This project had just one-fifth the change cost per square foot as other recent UW projects.

The project’s safety program was intensive, with a journeyman from every trade and subcontractor walking the site weekly to identify and resolve issues together. This provided added expertise and a new level of buy-in and commitment. The project had no time-loss incidents and achieved an overall incidence rate of 2.27, including all subcontractor hours and recordables.

Students, faculty, staff and passers-by were on campus at all hours. Lewis worked hard to ensure safe, clearly marked pathways, rigorously plan and supervise truck and equipment moves, and maintain overall site cleanliness.

Steve Tatge, director of major projects for the UW Capital Projects Office, said, “Our goal with this project was nothing less than transforming the way UW delivers major capital projects through collaboration, building-information modeling, and questioning everything about the ‘old way’ we did things. The Lewis team embraced that challenge and pushed all of us to make this project exemplary — and they succeeded.”

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