Overaa Breaks Ground on SLAC

Overaa Construction Breaks Ground on SLAC Research Support Building

MENLO PARK, CA -

A key research support facility will break ground September 14, 2011 at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park.  The $30 million Research Support Building 52 will provide scientists with new office and conference space, enhancing opportunities for collaboration.  Just west of the Stanford University Campus, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy.  Thousands of scientists from laboratories around the world use SLAC's facilities, six of whom have been awarded the Nobel Prize for work carried out there. The campus is home to a two-mile linear accelerator - the longest in the world.

Richmond-based Overaa Construction was selected to design- build the research support building. The award was based in part on Overaas past successful projects for the DOE, including Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, according to Carl Overaa, a principal of the firm.

Accelerated Schedule

The design-build contractor is using an aggressive 21 month construction schedule. "We're using a phased approach, staggering packages to accelerate the schedule. Some interior packages are still being designed while crews break ground on the site work," said Chris Manning, President of Overaa Construction.  SLAC is considering placing the campus's Control Room within Building 52, which will operate 24/7 and serve as command central for SLAC's accelerators on site.

Sustainable Design

Overaa and its design partners WRNS Studio and Forell/Elsesser Engineers used a collaborative charette approach to establish sustainable design goals for the project. Charette is an industry term describing an intense collaborative session used to generate and share design ideas. The team hopes to achieve Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) Gold certification, one of the highest honors given by U.S. Green Building Council.  The three story building will be a steel structure surrounded by a glass envelope and a unique terracotta tile rain screen system.  Aluminum sunshade structures on the south and west facades will deflect solar rays.  The team has sourced up to 20% recycled and regional materials for the project and plans to divert 75% of waste from landfills.

Energy Performance

The team is working with SLAC to achieve energy efficiency of the building and has set a goal to be 40% above the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standards.  ASHRAE is the industry's benchmark standard for energy efficiency. The mechanical system uses chilled beam technology, a system of copper tubing bonded to aluminum fins and housed in a sheet metal enclosure, to achieve a sustainable alternative to conventional ventilation and dehumidification.  "The use of 3-D modeling is essential for clash detection and is being used with structural steel, exterior skin, and the mechanical and electrical systems," said Manningl. 

Safety First

"The safety protocol used at SLAC is like no other," said Tim Fitzpatrick, Director of Safety for Overaa. Only contractors with exemplary safety records are allowed on site. Overaa's familiarity with laboratory and refinery safety practices as well as their track record helped them secure the award.  Overaa is recognized as a leader in the construction industry for worker safety and health and was recently invited by Cal/OSHA to participate in its Voluntary Protection Program for the second three- year term.

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