Reaching New Heights in Sustainable Building
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Robert Hoshowsky | Construction in Focus
As one of California’s most respected full-service construction companies, BCCI Construction’s philosophy spans well beyond project completion. The company is best known for forming long-lasting partnerships with clients like Adobe, Google, Stanford University, Cisco Systems, and numerous other Fortune 500 companies.
Since its founding thirty-three years ago, BCCI Construction has been dedicated to supporting clients by offering a unique range of services, including client advisory, design-build, preconstruction, general contracting, and sustainability consulting.
BCCI brings professional, integrated solutions to the table and is known for always going the extra mile. “While there are a lot of good general contractors out there, BCCI brings together subject matter experts that deliver unique solutions and create unmatched value for our clients. Much as it says on our front door, ‘The Thinking’s Built In,’” says Chief Strategy Officer John F. Kranz. The company’s portfolio of work includes new construction, major building renovations, historic restorations, seismic upgrades, and tenant improvements.
"BCCI brings together subject matter experts that deliver unique solutions and create unmatched value for our clients. Much as it says on our front door, ‘The Thinking’s Built In,’”John Kranz, Chief Strategy Officer
While headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, BCCI works on projects in the markets most important to its clients. In May, BCCI merged with Global Infrastructure Solutions (GIS) and the STO Building Group, which now enables the company to deliver projects coast-to-coast, as well as in Canada, the U.K., and Ireland.
Taking sustainability to the next level
For over a decade, BCCI has been fiercely committed to sustainability within the built environment. The company’s Sustainability Department formed in 2006, and since then, they have worked on the certification of more than 60 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) projects at various levels.
One of the firm’s noteworthy sustainable projects was the Bay Area office for global engineering company Thornton Tomasetti – a collaborative, open-plan workspace that features curated materials with low carbon impact, such as reclaimed bowling lane floors. The build-out, which was completed in 2015, became the first LEED v4 Platinum-certified commercial interior in the world.
For BCCI and the client, obtaining this internationally recognized certification was a tremendous achievement. “It was one of the first projects to pursue the LEED v4 rating system, the newest and most stringent version of LEED,” Director of Sustainability Kena David says.
In the pursuit of LEED v4 Platinum, every point counts, and depending on the project type, some are more challenging to achieve than others. The new materials credits were an integral part of attaining the points necessary for a Platinum rating, and the new requirement for materials made them difficult to obtain. The open office plan limited the number of finish materials possible, and the construction materials and furniture industries had to catch up and begin providing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) or Health Product Declarations (HPDs) as required by LEED v4. BCCI worked closely with Thornton Tomasetti and the architect to select finishes and furnishings that had EPDs and HPDs available. With the limited number of finish materials utilized on the project, there was a lot of back-and-forth with Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) to ensure BCCI met the new requirements and was able to obtain the necessary points to push past the Platinum threshold.
“Although achieving LEED v4 Platinum certification took a significant amount of time,” says David, “Thornton Tomasetti was extremely pleased with the persistence and dedication of our team to help them achieve their goals.”
Since then, BCCI has overseen dozens of LEED for commercial interiors, new construction, and core and shell projects. The company has also worked on numerous WELL projects, including the first WELL Compliant™ ground up in Northern California, the first WELL Certified™ project in Texas, and the first WELL Certified™ interior in San Francisco.
The WELL Building Standard describes itself as ‘the premier standard for buildings, interior spaces, and communities seeking to implement, validate, and measure features that support and advance human health and wellness.’ The Standard aims to advance building occupants’ health and experience through design.
At 85 Bluxome in San Francisco, a new office development completed in 2016, BCCI’s construction and sustainability teams successfully steered the project to achieve LEED Gold certification for Core and Shell and WELL Compliant™ Core and Shell – the first WELL ground up in Northern California. Additionally, the new building achieved the first Gold rating from the U.S. Resiliency Council, America’s leading organization ‘committed to community and corporate sustainability through the promotion of resilience-based building design.’
Besides being efficient from a natural resource perspective, the building was designed and constructed to promote health and achieve WELL compliance with amenities such as a roof deck yoga area and a program that rewards employees with points for taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Maximizing the available natural light was a key consideration of the design. Two sides of 85 Bluxome – the south and east, abut other buildings, so there were no opportunities to install windows on those elevations. To counter that, the front façade was designed with full height windows and a small gap on the west side provided an opportunity to install more windows for more natural light. “Restrooms, bike storage, and elevators were intentionally located where there are no windows so that the tenant spaces receive abundant natural light,” says David.
Following construction, WELL assessors conducted air quality, water quality, and lighting measurements to ensure the property was designed and built to the WELL Building Standard. “One of the unique things about WELL is that they verify through testing that a building is a healthy space,” comments David.
Another project BCCI completed for global medical technologies firm Stryker Corporation was actually the first WELL Certified™ project in Texas, and it also received LEED Silver certification and a ‘Best Projects Award of Merit’ from ENR Texas & Louisiana. The 209,300-square-foot office and warehouse facility, located outside of Dallas, prioritized sustainability and wellness from the beginning. “Culturally it was a great fit for Stryker to target WELL certification, and [they] also wanted to reduce their carbon footprint by pursuing LEED certification,” comments David.
Stryker’s office offers a cutting-edge fitness center, an employee cafeteria with healthy food, basketball courts, a soccer field, and a game room. The workplace incorporates a human connection to nature with forest-themed wall coverings in the open office and break areas. All employees have ergonomic sit/stand desks, as well as access to flexible working options—from open work areas and collaboration rooms to small focus rooms and break rooms.
A sought-after partner
BCCI’s reputation as a leading and pioneering sustainable contractor attracted a sustainably-focused financial firm to recently contract BCCI to build its West Coast office in downtown San Francisco. With a commitment to sustainable investing at the core of its business, the financial firm’s goals for their new office included LEED v4 Platinum certification and WELL certification.
Materials were carefully selected with input from the architect, client, and BCCI to ensure they had the environmental attributes desired, such as recycled content and HPDs, and that the overall lifecycle impact was low in carbon emissions. A full lifecycle analysis was conducted of all the materials used in the build-out, including drywall, paint, and furniture. The project recently received LEED v4 ID+C Platinum certification and is WELL Certified™ Gold for New and Existing Interiors.
BCCI also recently completed a 126,000-square-foot project for a professional service firm at Salesforce Tower that is registered to pursue WELL and LEED certification. “The client wanted a future-forward vertical campus showcasing technology,” says David. The biggest and most spectacular feature is a five-story interconnecting staircase.
The staircase brings together active design attributes for both WELL and LEED, while also incorporating biophilic elements. Major structural reinforcements allowed the core to be cut for the stairs, and each floor connects from various points, which creates a multi-directional staircase. If that’s not spectacular enough, a five-story integrated digital art firewall displaying a life-size redwood tree is a stunning backdrop.
“When you stand at the bottom of the stairs, you feel like you are in a grove at the bottom of the forest,” says David. “As you ascend, you see more blue sky peeking through and little birds chirping at the top. It is both awesome and inviting, encouraging circulation through the space and connecting to nature – all within a downtown high-rise.”
BCCI is an industry trailblazer when it comes to providing sustainable construction solutions. The company’s client-centric approach to building, depth of expertise, and innovative resources have led to the delivery of exceptional projects throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Furthermore, BCCI’s commitment to green building and its diverse portfolio of LEED and WELL Certified projects is truly remarkable. Built upon a new paradigm in services and support, the company continues to raise the bar, helping owners achieve their real estate and sustainability goals.
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