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Cullen Receives Award of Merit for Epic Systems Corporation Building K and Parking Ramp Y

Janesville, WI – In December, J. P. Cullen & Sons, Inc. was recognized for their work at Epic Systems Corporation Campus 2 in Verona, Wisconsin. Building K (Office Building Category) and the Parking Ramp Y (Transportation Category) received Award of Merit from Midwest Construction / ENR.
The entries were sorted into categories so judges could compare similar projects by key criteria, such as quality, project management, innovation, challenges overcome, and safety. Outstanding projects were given an Award of Merit.

Building K:

The project consists of the construction of a 171,866 sq.ft. office building (Building K) in Verona, WI that also functions as the Central Energy Plan for the entire Campus 2, which will be the main power source for three, 160,000 sq.ft. office buildings and a 752,000 sq.ft., 2,080 stall underground parking ramp. All four office buildings were being built in different stages around the parking ramp while it was under construction.

As part of Epic’s Campus 2, this sustainable office building was the first to open as part of a planned suite of five new buildings. Building K’s offices have individually controlled heating and cooling, and the lighting for each office is controlled remotely (from the workstation). The building is shaped in an “H” to maximize the number of offices that are directly facing the outside. Each office around the perimeter of the building has an operable window. The window has a sensor in it so when the window is open it turns the Variable Air Volume (VAV) box off so it is not supplying air to that particular room while the window is open. In addition, Building K features lighting on sensors with the use of low energy lamps, bike station with showers, a recycling program, and dual flush toilets.

Inner courtyards and decks for gathering at all building levels are formed by the dynamic shape of the building as the interior views reach out towards the surrounding rolling prairie. Along with 415 naturally daylit offices and support spaces for approximately 425 staff, the building features a “Top Hat” high-tech conference room seating 225. Emergency generators allow this building and one other building on the Campus to have full power so Epic Systems Corp. can remain operational 24/7 if there is a power outage

Significantly, the geo-thermal pump system for Campus 2 is housed in this signature building. The building is the central location for one of the United States’ largest geothermal fields, comprised of 1,600 wells.

Building K’s exterior has a warm material palette that takes cues from rural farm buildings and is based in natural wood, bluestone field stone, brick and metal which will gracefully patina. Materials are composed along the outstretched elevations and highlight architectural features such as the bay windows. Detailing at the intersection of elements reveal unique material qualities and shadows enhance the depth of surface and play of light. Wood windows are incorporated based on their aesthetic and sustainable properties. Interior spaces feature exposed glu-lam wood deck with an open gable roof.

Teamwork and project management leadership was unique in the fact that Building K and the other buildings were being built simultaneously in different stages of construction. Building K had the underground parking garage to the south with drive tunnels being built on each side of the building while under construction. The coordination of five large construction projects and a fast-track schedule while meeting the owner’s 14-month timeline required optimum management and coordination. The key was the sequencing of the work and coordinating the 40-plus subcontractors on-site.

In addition, the existing soil was rock with voids and caves throughout. In order to provide a solid foundation, soil and structural engineers determined that a pressure grouting system would be used to obtain the proper soil bearing capacities. In some areas the rock had to be blasted out. All the fill taken from the site was reused in different areas of the project.

The project utilized Building Information Modeling (BIM). Working with the architect, all drawings were done in Revit. The project team (Cullen, Cuningham Group Architecture, Engineer, and Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection) met weekly to review clash detection points. This enabled the team to solve any problems prior to actually installing the systems in the field.

Parking Ramp Y:

A four-level, underground, 752,212-square-foot parking structure that will house 2080 parking stalls. The structure is not be visible from the earth’s surface and measures six football fields. The structure features four driving tunnels, and is connected to the training center (Epicenter) and nearby buildings by six pedestrian tunnels that protect employees and visitors from the weather.

Built of concrete, the structure used 32, 000 cubic yards of concrete and 2,000 tons of rebar to complete. All power and water for the structure is retrieved from a geothermal central power plant made up of 1,600 wells.

This project had to be coordinated with the construction of four office buildings that surrounds the perimeter of the structure. Each office building is 30’ to 50’ from the ramp structure, which is full of underground utilities consisting of storm pipe, fire protection mains, hot and cold water, and four – 10” to 28” HDPE geothermal piping. Additionally, the coordination of four drive tunnels and six pedestrian tunnels construction over and below the site utilities and between the office buildings required extensive coordination and management.

Ramp Y, Man hours worked as of June 30, 2009 was 122,621 and had no lost time accidents during the construction of the project.

The project had a full-time safety director on site. Every major building task began with a safety task analysis and a task specific safety training meeting with the crews involved.

We purchased and installed a new perimeter cable system that when converted properly allowed the crews to use the anchors as part of their personal fall arrest system on the exterior of the building.

In addition, Cullen trained crews on the use of special construction equipment that was used to complete the work safely. Equipment such as scaffold and shoring, rough terrain fork lift, post tensioning and powder actuated tools.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) was used to coordinate the underground utilities loop around the perimeter to feed the four office buildings with geothermal piping and four drive tunnels and five pedestrian tunnels. BIM was also used to sequence 200 – 60,000 pound pieces of precast panels for installation around the perimeter of the structure with a Manitowoc 16,000 pound crane.

The fast pace of the project was controlled by how fast the concrete dried. The project formed and poured approximately 950 cubic yards every week. To keep the fast pace, Cullen used concrete maturity meters that told them when the concrete had cured enough for a test cylinder. This enabled Cullen to keep the schedule moving.

The green/sustainable elements has the entire structure underground with 100% of green space, six football fields) over the top of the structure. In addition, the use of geothermal is used to heat and cool the entire structure.

This project serves Epic’s 1600 employees and visitors. Epic train their clients every year at their training center located near the parking structure providing safe, convenient, and comfortable place to park.

This project enhanced the community at large by providing 700 construction jobs during a recession.

This project elevates the construction industry standards by building green, using BIM and concrete technology to build, providing a safe work environment for employees and construction professionals, and positive public relations for the Verona community and state of Wisconsin.

The difficult challenge during construction was the projects soil conditions and the shear size of the parking structure. There were one million cubic yards of rock blasted 47 feet deep to accommodate the structure. All the rock was crushed and re-used on site. During excavation many voids and caves were encountered. Once footing bearing depth was reached the area was drilled for geotechnical verification. The soils and structural engineers determined due to the unstable soil a micropile system would be best suited for this project. Eight hundred – 13” diameter micropiles were installed varying between 60 and 10 feet deep with pile caps and grade beams to support the massive concrete structure. During the drilling of the piles many more voids were encountered, some using 50 cubic yards of concrete to fill. All the micropile work and foundation work was completed during this a record 120” of snow fall during the winter of 2007.

The shear size of the structure caused difficulties in material movement and concrete placement. Four concrete placers were erected inside the building and used for concrete pours which stretched almost 200 feet. These were used in conjunction with 60 foot concrete pumps and crane and bucket with two tower cranes used on this structure. At times, two concrete pumps, two concrete tower placers, and the tower crane were used on a single pour.

Once the unsuitable soil and foundation work was overcome the concrete structure itself took six months to complete. The crew formed 25,000 square feet and poured 950 cubic yards of concrete every week.

J. P. Cullen & Sons, Inc, is ISO 9001:2000 Quality Certified organization. This means Cullen goes through a rigorous third party certification annually to ensure we are following the ISO standards. Quality and craftsmanship go hand in hand at Cullen. The project self-performed 70 percent of the work put-in-place. This allows Cullen to follow the quality standards set forth by ISO and our Process Improvement Team. Epic Systems required a high level of quality as they have on all their projects. The standard of quality and craftsmanship was met by our Quality Assurance Plan. Quality assurance inspects the work before it is installed versus quality control which looks at the work after it is complete.

The project also formed and poured 25,000 square-feet of deck every week with no rework required.

The function of this structure is to provide parking for employees and visitors to Epic Systems. The interior provides convenient pedestrian tunnels that connect to offices and training. The four levels of parking are color coded, numbered and themed to ensure car location is easy. The vegetated roof, with no surface parking, brings an aesthetic quality of design to the structure.

Cullen completed Campus 1 for Epic Systems in 2007, which included Voyager Hall (Learning Center) and Epicenter (Auditorium) under on roof.
If you are interested in J.P. Cullen speaking on the construction of these projects, please contact Jill Holstine at the Brookfield office.
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