The University of Texas System Building

The University of Texas System Building | Austin, Texas

To consolidate the offices of The University of Texas System from five buildings into one, DPR built a 19-story, 330,000-sq.-ft. high rise office building in downtown Austin.

From the preconstruction phase through project completion in early 2018, DPR coordinated work with 28 different departments that would be located in the University of Texas System Building. The project team navigated challenges ranging from noise and sound isolation requirements to the complex demolition of three structures within a zero-lot line construction zone – all while meeting the project’s 35-month schedule and shaving $700,000 off the owner’s budget through various cost saving measures.

High Degree of Quality and Cost Control

The cast-in-place concrete structure includes one level of underground parking and eight elevated parking floors encompassing a total of approximately 725 parking spaces; two amenity floors and mixed-use spaces; and nine office floors. The LEED Silver certified facility features highly energy-efficient materials to keep building occupants cool in the Texas heat, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing natural daylighting.

A key building highlight and project success involved construction of the Board of Regents board room, an innovative, modern space containing the latest in audio visual and video conferencing systems and numerous high-end features. The boardroom is located directly below an elevated speed ramp in the parking garage. DPR incorporated several noise and vibration mitigation measures to ensure that vehicles traversing the speed ramp directly above could not be heard or felt during formal board presentations.

The project team also employed extensive quality and cost control measures on the project, including applying cost of ownership analysis to several alternative building systems to determine the best value for the owner.

The

Challenges

Among the many project challenges, none was more all-encompassing than coordination work required with 28 different university departments located in five buildings to consolidate them into the new high-rise facility. Monthly updates to all of the stakeholders was essential, beginning during preconstruction and continuing all the way to project completion. Many Vice Chancellors were quoted as saying that they loved the construction progress photos DPR presented along with construction process techniques and construction obstacle examples.

Photo: Demolishing the existing structures on site before construction of the new high-rise could begin required DPR to dismantle the structural building components piece by piece.

Another key challenge pertained to DPR’s work demolishing the three existing structures within a zero-lot line construction on the project site. Noise reduction and sound isolation requirements to protect neighbors who were located just 20 feet away from the face of the building brought further challenges.

The

Solutions

Demolishing the existing structures on site before construction of the new high-rise could begin required DPR to dismantle the structural building components piece by piece – essentially building the building in reverse. Crews used mesh screen protection to prevent objects from leaving the project site. To reduce dust migration, they utilized dust and boss misting cannons and water jets attached to the hydraulic excavator.

Techniques to protect neighbors from noise and vibration disruptions included using whisper quiet generators, replacing back-up alarms on all vehicles and equipment (including the entire fleet of the concrete mix company), and installing sound deadening window inserts within neighbors’ windows.

Photo: Techniques to protect neighbors from noise and vibration disruptions included using whisper quiet generators, replacing back-up alarms on all vehicles and equipment.

“Sound measurements were taken multiple times per day to ensure that our noise levels were below the City’s and the University’s requirements,” said DPR’s project executive Jason Choyce. “These sound readings were presented at monthly neighborhood meetings. In addition, we provided free car washes and tire repairs as needed.”

Photo: “Sound measurements were taken multiple times per day to ensure that our noise levels were below the City’s and the University’s requirements,” said DPR’s project executive Jason Choyce.

Partnering was another solution embraced by the entire project team, helping resolve potential conflicts before they escalated and smoothing the way to successful completion.

Photo: Partnering was another solution embraced by the entire project team, helping resolve potential conflicts before they escalated and smoothing the way to successful completion.

The

Results

The University of Texas reported a high degree of satisfaction with the project, which helped create an environment that improves efficiencies, collaboration, organizational effectiveness and creativity throughout the UT Austin campus. According to the University: “DPR was the glue that facilitated the owner and design team alignment, helping move the project forward to a successful outcome.”

Photo: The University of Texas reported a high degree of satisfaction with the project, which helped create an environment that improves efficiencies, collaboration, organizational effectiveness and creativity.

Project

Awards

Associated Builders and Contractors, Central Texas Chapter

Excellence in Construction Merit Award 2017

The project received a 2017 Excellence in Construction Merit Award in the Mega-Projects: Over $100 Million category from the Associated Builders and Contractors, Central Texas Chapter.

Photo: To consolidate the offices of The University of Texas System from five buildings into one, DPR built a 19-story, 330,000-sq.-ft. high rise office building in downtown Austin.