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Exterior of building

San Diego County Sheriff's Department Crime Laboratory

San Diego County Sheriff's Department Crime Laboratory | San Diego, CA

New Forensic Facility is Ground Zero for Crime Fighting Work in San Diego County

An integrated design-build team from DPR and SmithGroup put their collective planning and problem-solving skills to good use to create a new state-of-the-art forensic facility for the County of San Diego. Combining three key policing entities under one roof – the regional crime lab, major crimes division, and property and evidence unit – the 158,000-sq.-ft., four-story San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Crime Lab facility serves as ground zero for crime-fighting efforts in the region.

THE Challenge

Because of the delicate materials to be stored underground in the 25-ft. floor-to-floor basement—an inherently damp location—delivering a stable, fully waterproofed environment was a critical challenge. DPR crews were challenged with implementing special waterproofing measures and constructing a permanent dewatering system, work that took place during a record rainy season.

DPR SPW drywall crews also faced challenges from an array of specialized requirements for the onsite ballistics lab, including adding specialty ballistics rubber and a Kevlar bulletproofing layers into the drywall. The lab, which featured a bullet recovery tank, an armory and a library of ammunition, was designed and constructed to have a clear and secure connection to the warehouse.

Construction site in progress
Construction site with beams
The Solution

Ensuring the basement would remain fully waterproof and climate controlled was a critical goal. DPR SPW concrete crews created a one-sided framework that supported the basement walls without penetrating the outer side, pouring concrete through the wall and framework to avoid water seeping into the basement. All concrete work was successfully completed on time and, most importantly, without puncturing the waterproofing membrane.

Lab interior
The Result

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Crime Lab project serves as a model for how to effectively design and construct a cutting-edge facility that incorporates critical crime-fighting services and units under one roof.

Exterior of building

Project Awards

Engineering News Record

California's 2019 "Best Projects" Award

The project was recognized in ENR California’s 2019 Best Projects Awards with an Award of Merit in the “Green Project” category.

Building Design & Construction

2019 Build Team Awards

Building Design & Construction awarded the project a “Silver” award in its 2019 Build Team Awards competition, which celebrates excellence in design and construction solutions as well as the collaboration of the AEC and owner teams.

Interior of lab.
Interior of meeting room with people sitting.