In January 2020, a cutting-edge automotive technology company—joined by AP+I Design and BCCI Construction—kicked off construction to transform a 111,000 sf building into their new headquarters. Then, a global pandemic and record-breaking wildfires threatened to throw the entire project off course.
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Mountain View, California is an ideal location for a growing tech company’s offices. Now completed, the open plan features plenty of amenities, including conference
and huddle rooms, break areas, gender-neutral bathrooms, wellness rooms, a fitness center and game room, plus a 5,000 sf full-service café and large dining area. Accompanying the administrative areas is an
8,500 sf automotive shop and 11,700 sf of R&D lab space.
The layout is split into four, landscape-themed quadrants—you’ll know whether you’re in the lake, beach, desert, or forest building by the whimsical wayfinding wall graphics and signage, and creative conference room names. And the attention to detail doesn’t stop there—the client and design team selected lighting that mimics highway delineation lines for the ceiling and placed crosswalk graphics on the floor to reflect the company’s mission. There’s even a section of the building the client refers to as “The Open Road,” which is a wide circulation area featuring high, suspended ceilings. “It was specifically designed to be wide enough for the client’s car models,” says Katherine Schurba, BCCI project manager. “So, if they wanted to drive a car through the building, they could.”
BUMPS IN THE ROAD
Like most projects that kicked off in 2020, this build-out didn’t exactly go to plan. From manpower issues to scope clarity, the team faced several unforeseen logistical challenges during construction that could have impacted the quality of the end result.
Scope. While the headquarters build-out was underway, the landlord was upgrading the 1980s building and utilities. When BCCI was onboarded, the team realized the landlord general contractor’s design didn’t match up with their plans. Elements like the placement of storefront doors and skylights were either slightly off or missing altogether. Once the plans were reconciled and each contractor’s scope clearly outlined, the next challenge was managing the logistics—and relationships—between the landlord GC’s team and BCCI’s. “We made sure that everyone understood where our scope stopped and where the other contractor’s scope started,” Schurba says. “This continual communication helped us maintain a respectful atmosphere on-site.”
Schedule. The project’s progress was interrupted by COVID-19 and the region’s shelter-in-place orders last year. Once they were able to return to the jobsite, BCCI’s team and their subcontractor partners had to become experts in demobilization and remobilization. If a suspected COVID-19 case was reported, the jobsite was shut down, sterilized, and tested by a hygienist. Despite the effort to sanitize the space, getting a full crew, or the same crew members who were familiar with the project, back to work the next day was a challenge. BCCI worked closely with the foremen on these labor obstacles and staggered shifts to keep the project on track.
Power. The project also required a power service upgrade by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). Due to the wildfires, these types of upgrades were postponed considerably. The project’s scheduled delivery date was December 3rd, and as the project progressed, it became increasingly clear the power upgrade wouldn’t be completed in time. In order to stay on schedule, BCCI continued to build using generator power. Understanding this delay was out of BCCI’s control, the client agreed to accept their finished space without any of the permanent power related elements. “I have never built an entire space from start to finish without permanent power,” says Matt Ludwig, BCCI superintendent.
A QUALITY FOUNDATION
Each of these extraordinary challenges makes BCCI’s on-time delivery and zero punch at move-in all the more impressive. To the team, the project’s success was a result of BCCI’s unique culture of quality.
From their robust quality control training program to a detailed pre-punch process, quality is engrained in BCCI’s project planning and implementation. In fact, many of their field and operations staff—including project superintendent Matt Ludwig—started their careers at BCCI in the quality control program, where they were trained to analyze drawings, identify potential quality and scope issues, manage relationships with subcontractors, and support project teams on-site.
“A lot people think of quality control as a static role—a position you need to fill—but at BCCI, it has a long history of being a springboard position. You have to master the details to be able to scale your success and grow your career.”Lisa Dunmeyer, Studio Director & Quality Manager, BCCI Construction
On this specific project, BCCI quality control coordinator Eric Aboytes, who is currently in the training
program, arrived on-site a month before delivery to assist the project team and begin a pre-punch process. Without power, Aboytes swept through the project with a battery-powered work lamp and noted deficiencies and quality of workmanship—each of which was closed prior to delivery in December.
When the space finally received power in February, Aboytes did another sweep to make sure the finishes were up to BCCI’s high standards. “Obviously, with the lights on you can spot imperfections so much easier,” Aboytes says. After his final pass, the architectural punch walk resulted in only 75 items for the 111,000 sf space and all were resolved prior to the client’s move-in a week later.
According to Dunmeyer, this project’s positive outcome is yet another example of BCCI’s top-tier quality program at work.
“Even when you have challenges that are outside of your control, with a quality program like this, you can problem-solve as a team,” Dunmeyer says. “BCCI’s quality program builds teams that come together, solve for adversity, and deliver to the highest standards.”
Check out the podcast Quality Construction: A Celebration of Workmanship to learn more from the project team about the quality control process for this headquarters build-out.