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SME Inc of Seattle offers our customers a broad and deep range of electrical services across commercial and industrial industries and residential properties. From tenant improvement, new build or renovations to assembly lines, healthcare facilities or multi- or single-family residences, the team at SME Inc provides experienced engineers and licensed electricians who have the skill and expertise to design, install and complete any project.

202 Westlake

202 Westlake – Amazon, Tenants; GLL Westlake 202 LLC, Owner

2014 ABC Excellence in Construction Award – Electrical & Communications category

GC: Pennon Construction Company, Inc.; Electrical Contract: $1.4MM – Shell/Core; $3.5MM Tenant Improvements; Project Timeline: Shell/Core December 2011 – September 2013; TI April 2013 – September 2013

The 202 Westlake project has history built right into it. This 130,000 sq ft building was the first speculative commercial project built in Seattle after the recession ended in 2009 and it set an all time high (for Seattle) for cost per square foot – $749 – when it sold during the tenant improvement (TI) phase. Add Amazon as the tenant and the history of 202 Westlake has a robust beginning.

Scope of project for SME – Design and installation of:

  • Shell/Core: 5,800 amp, 480 volt service with 1,600 amp bus riser, 350 kW generator
  • Office TI: Lighting and power, fire alarm, card access, distributed antenna system, area of refuge communications, site utilities and Seattle City Light duct bank.

Our first activity on the project was to install a high voltage duct bank underneath the sidewalk to allow for removal of Seattle City Light (SCL) overhead power lines. This duct bank included secondary conduits which would eventually travel to the inbuilding SCL vault and feed 5,800 amps to two building services. The challenge here was to stub up (8) 4-inch and (2) 2-inch conduits into a 12” x 30” area to enter a structure that would be built nine months later – all while working in a trench in downtown Seattle in the middle of winter. We utilized 3-D modeling of our design to install conduit and elbows at precise angles and locations.

One of the largest design challenges involved distribution of 120V circuits to the TI-powered furniture system. We devised a circuit distribution method that 1) maintained compatibility with the new manufacturer’s product 2) provided appropriate power to workstations per specifications and 3) incorporated a wiring design to allow for simplicity in the field during installation and subsequent retro-fitting of furniture systems (for future workstation capacity).

The tenant periodically changes their office space layout to accommodate changing business needs that require weekend retrofits with changes to fixtures and controls. We used this information as a prime opportunity to recommend value engineering. By working in conjunction with our lighting supplier and a Lutron controls specialist, SME proposed programmable fixture ballasts that reduced line-voltage wiring installation by 33%. Reconfigurations now can be accomplished by a simple programming modification.

Because 202 Westlake was originally scheduled to be built in 2008, but went on hold for three years due to the recession, the TI fell under the 2005 WA State Energy Code (WEC) even though the 2009 WEC was in effect during construction. Where possible, and with the client’s approval, we built the project to the more stringent 2009 WEC. For crucial design decisions, such as lighting controls, we kept the tenant informed and illustrated how in most cases, we could achieve more energy efficient goals while maintaining the construction schedule and budget.

The shell/ core phase of the project was in its 15th month when we received the Notice to Proceed on the TI, which meant we had six months to complete the TI within the shell/core timeline. Our game plan for success focused on two major items: fixture procurement and site leadership. Working closely with our supplier we devised a delivery schedule that allowed us to prefabricate product – rough-in recessed cans, track and strut assemblies, etc. – in our shop and have all other product delivered on a per floor or just in time basis as needed.

Our superintendent assigned four foremen to preview and start layout on the first two floors for the TI phase. Each foreman was assigned to a particular area. Weekly meetings monitored progress and strategy was fine-tuned for the following week’s work. This multi-pronged strategy allowed us to complete the 202 Westlake project within budget, while meeting a compressed completion deadline.