Swift Military Action
Clark Construction and LS3P design-build
Army barracks project at Fort Jackson
Bethesda, Md.-based Clark Design/Build LLC wasn't the lowest
bidder for the new basic training complex for the U.S. Army's
Fort Jackson facility near Columbia, S.C.
But it was the fastest.
The 98-year-old company won the $58 million contract (just
$1 million more than the low bid) because it offered the fastest
turnaround - two years.
Pete Cafaro, project manager for Clark Construction, general
contractor for the project, said the job was helped because
subcontractors were involved early in the process. He also
credited a good scheduling process.
"The job has been a true joy," said Cafaro, who
is based in Clark's regional headquarters in Tampa.
Willie Murphy, associate principal and project manager with
Charleston, S.C.-based architect LS3P, agreed, crediting the
design-build delivery method.
"This project is a stellar example of a design-build
effort," he said. "It just went very smoothly."
Based on a similar Army facility in Missouri, the project
was not complicated or complex, but it was huge. Fort Jackson
is the Army's largest and most active initial training center,
and the facility requirements reflected that.
Located on a 55-acre site just outside Columbia, bordered
by Interstate 77 and Route 20, the 400,000-sq.-ft. project
includes five barracks buildings, a 30,000-sq.-ft. dining
facility that can feed up to 1,800 recruits at a time, a battalion
headquarters and a central energy plant.
Each of the barracks measures roughly 65,000 sq. ft. All
are built of structural-steel frames, masonry and brick exterior
façades and standing-seam metal roofs. In addition
to housing, the buildings include classrooms, offices and
The 22,000-sq.-ft. battalion headquarters is similar to the
barracks and also includes classrooms and training facilities.
A central quadrangle serves as the primary focal point for
the campus, and a Parade of Valor will be designated in this
area to recognize Medal of Honor winners who have graduated
from Fort Jackson. A battalion track, exercise area and marching
walkways are also included in the complex's site development.
Sitework includes a new network of underground utility services
that connect to both the new central energy plant and existing
The project was awarded in November 2002. That's when the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented LS3P with the project
requirements, such as the number of recruits it would serve
and the functional purposes it would meet. It took 10 months
for the design to get final approval.
LS3P's Murphy said meeting these owner requirements - established
by Fort Jackson's installation design guide - was the first
and ultimately biggest hurdle.
"We were required to take a standard package of buildings
and site-adapt them to Fort Jackson, and then implement quite
a few specific requirements that Fort Jackson had," he
said. Some of Fort Jackson's specific requirements regarded
roof lines, exterior finishes and interior finishes.
One relatively new criteria is the military's force-protection/anti-terrorism
requirements for its structures to withstand progressive collapse.
"That had significant impact on the structural-steel
framing systems for the barracks buildings," Murphy said.
"It had to be analyzed so that if a column in any of
the building framing was lost, you would not have a massive
collapse of the facility. Various structural analyses were
run on that."
Cafaro said the Army typically requires the design be 100
percent completed and approved before any sitework can begin.
But Clark convinced the Army that it made sense to begin demolishing
the site's existing structure in April 2003. In addition to
tearing down the World War II-era sports complex already there,
Clark balanced the site for construction. That included creating
a 15- to 18-ft. build-up in some places and cutting 26 ft.
About 55,000 yds. of fill and unusable soils also had to
be transported offsite.
Although actual construction began in June 2003 - seven months
into the design process - Clark Construction and its subcontractors
were already busy at work. Clark chose them at the start of
the project, and they were all contractors it had worked with
As the architects were designing the facility - and even
before the Army got to see any plans - designers presented
cut sheets to all the contractors, who then provided feedback
to the architects. There were even face-to-face meetings between
the architects and the subs. This ongoing feedback and input
continued throughout the design process.
Once construction began, scheduling was a key to staying
on top of things, Cafaro said. There was an in-house scheduler,
but the relationships forged in the design process also contributed
to the fast-track process, he added.
A software program, Primavera P3, enabled Clark to stay current
with detailed progress reports and helped make the monthly
billings highly accurate.
This was a big help in maintaining control of the schedule
and also helped create a nearly paperless project, Cafaro
said. "There's probably been no more than a couple dozen
letters that have gone out during the whole process - that's
incredible," he added.
"The Corps of Engineers had access to everything we
had - we truly worked as one team. Their 10 onsite staffers
interface with us on a regular basis."
This project marked LS3P's first design-build effort, and
Murphy was definitely pleased with the results. He credited
communication and past relationships between the primary parties
as the main reasons for success. LS3P has worked with the
Savannah district of USACE for about 15 years, and previously
worked with Clark Construction - including many of the people
staffing this project - on a Navy project about 10 years ago.
The project has gone as well as it has, he said, "Primarily
because of our knowledge of the Corps of Engineers and our
relationship with the Savannah district, Clark's ability to
put the right people together and man the project properly
and establish a good relationship with the Corps - and just
a good team effort on the part of all people involved. The
communication, even down to the sub level, has been extremely
good and efficient."
The collaboration between Clark and LS3P from the start of
the project minimized potential problems. And if any issues
did come up, Murphy said, "The design-build approach
made it easy to work those issues out."
Cafaro also credited the partnerships among all the players
that began in the earliest stages of design work as the major
reason the Corps had only requested $300,000 in change orders
as of July.
The Fort Jackson facility is being built as part of the Corps
of Engineers' Sustainable Project Rating Tool, or SPiRiT,
program, which focuses on making buildings energy-efficient
and encourages recycling and reduced energy consumption. The
project incorporated sustainable design features such as limited
site disturbance, water and energy conservation measures,
daylighting, indoor air-quality monitoring and a reflective
The asphalt and concrete from the demolished structures were
recycled, and the trees that were cut down were converted
Clark and LS3P will have a chance to follow up on their collective
success at Fort Jackson. In May, the team won a $73.6 million,
emergency funded contract for the design, total site development
and construction of a modular barracks campus, battalion headquarters
and other facilities at Fort Stewart, Ga. This project has
to be completed within 142 days. Also, in March, Clark won
a design-build contract for a $30 million barracks project
at Fort Benning, Ga.
Owner: Fulton County Department
of Public Works
Contractor: Western Summit
Engineer: Parsons, Pasadena,
Operator: American Water,