Dow Business Services Center
2011 Build Michigan Award Winner
The Dow Business Services Center symbolizes a Fortune 50 company’s progression toward a sustainable future. In fact, The Dow Chemical Company set important goals to improve their environment, health and safety performance through their 2015 Sustainable Goals...and this new, state-of-the-art, energy efficient and environmentally correct building on their corporate campus is a pure reflection of this commitment.
Moreover, this building stands as testimony to Dow’s commitment to America. Jobs. And, it is a toughened expression of a substantial investment in the community where its company roots were established. This facility could have landed anywhere on the globe’s surface, yet Dow chose to come home.
Quality, Cost, Schedule, Sustainability, these four components fueled the vision and became the backbone construction principles for this new facility. Not one of these expectations could be compromised...and so, our story begins. It is one of teamwork, determination and strength to deliver Dow’s vision...a symbol of their commitment to a sustainable future, and their commitment to their community.
Confronting the team on this project was the element of time. Dow had made it very clear at the award of the project their intentions to have employees in place, working at the new facility by June 14, 2011. Site preparations at the Dow headquarters in Midland, Michigan were underway on the 205,000 square foot office complex in July 2010. By August 2010, construction crews moved in and aggressively plunged forward with the concrete foundations. From this day forward, the team never looked back.
351 days later, Dow occupied the building - on schedule. Supporting this accomplishment was the synergistic team approach of design, development and construction partners URS Corporation, SSP Associates (developer) and Spence Brothers. To have met the critical path of delivering the facility within the time constraints, while being cohesive with the owner’s intentions of having a symbolic and sustainable building, is true testimony to the planning, coordination and scheduling of multiple long-lead items from the team. Decisions from the team had to be right the first time, there was a zero margin for error.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) was used for the early identification of design conflicts through clash detection. Due to the aggressive schedule for the project, the BIM process proved to be a valuable tool in addressing potential conflicts before subcontractors were on the site, and it eliminated the potential for re-doing Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing work as the project progressed.
Also, through the use of BIM, Spence Brothers was able to develop a more precise project schedule which helped the early bidding process for subcontractors. Site logistics, scheduling and planning were also complimented through the use of BIM modeling.
In support of Dow’s sustainable vision, a 3D model was created of the building for the purpose of facility management. With the model, personnel are able to efficiently address the needs of supporting scheduled and unscheduled maintenance operations, virtually eliminating unnecessary vehicular trips to suppliers which further reduced the carbon footprint associated with building operations.
A partnership with the City of Midland was formed to use electricity generated from the methane gas byproduct of the municipal landfill. This will provide the entire electrical energy needs of the building, even at peak operating demands.
Nearly 600 Therma-Fuser personal temperature control units were installed throughout the structure. They affect the comfort and satisfaction of all building occupants. With each Therma-Fuser diffuser acting as an individual VAV zone, every area of the building can have separate, optimized temperature settings. Therma-Fuser diffusers also provide a constant discharge velocity with comfort benefits of higher throws, no dumping, better room air movement and uniform temperature distribution.
The Dow Business Service Center is strategically placed on a 30 acre site on Dow’s corporate campus. Heavily wooded at the start of the project, the site was cleared for the new building with sensitivity to any environmental impact. Select native trees were scooped from the ground and saved for placement in the completed parking area. All other trees removed from the site were mulched and used for landscaping within the region.
The design team at URS Corporation worked deligently to position the structure, parking areas and vehicle egress to minimize the impact on native wetlands associated with the site. The building, over 1,500 parking areas and site entrances/exits minimally impacted the wetland areas. Only one intrusion resulting from a two-lane road over a small wetland area to the west of the structure assists with vehicular traffic at peak employee transit times.
Premium parking is provided for employees and guests driving electric vehicles. Plug-in stations are provided free of charge for those who have commited to green vehicle use.
Work stations for employees at the Dow Business Services Center include state-of-the-art desktops, which can be positioned for height at the push of a button. These ergonomically correct stations are considerate of those with disabilities, as well as employees who have conveyed they like to work in a standing position.
Enough can’t be said about the team of Kevin McVey of The Dow Chemical Company, Brian Keeler, Project Director at Spence Brothers, Pete Shaheen of SSP Associates, and Thom VanHattum of URS Corporation. Their leadership and anticipation of possible challenges throughout an aggresive build schedule proved to be the difference that benefitted the project’s success.
Within 4 weeks of the award of the project, the steel package needed to be secured and ordered. Overcoming this challenge, the design team saw the opportunity to begin preparing for the steel structure well in advance of the project award. This was a integral part of the success of the project - allowing the erection of the steel and assembly of the curtain walls before winter conditions set in. Once the building was weather tight, crews worked deligently on the interior.
Keeler and Shaheen contributed greatly to the decision making process by reviewing material choices and reducing final selection criteria for McVey. Typically, final decision criteria was reduced from 20 potential choices to 3 or 4 for McVey’s final approval.
On site, Bob Saunders, Project Superintendent at Spence Brothers, coordinated the build activities which involved well over 150 subcontractors. It had been said the site resembled an ant colony - workers constantly going in and out performing multiple trades as many as 7 days a week.
Dow’s commitment to sustainability never waivered...nor did the team. The desire to have the building represent a world-class, sustainable icon for Dow’s 2015 Sustainable Goals was paramount. The Business Services Center was built with sustainability at its core. From top to bottom, inside and out, the center uses multiple Dow materials and technologies to create a sustainable facility that uses fewer natural resources, reduces energy consumption and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
Dow Systems, Products and Technologies Used in Construction
A number of materials and technologies from Dow, including next-generation insulation, air sealing and adhesive solutions, as well as materials embedded in end-use products were used in construction:
Dow Systems & Applications
THERMAX™ Wall System (3-in-1 innovative solution)
Energy-efficient “cool roof”
STYROFOAM™ Brand XPS Foam Insulation
Dow Building Solutions Products
STYROFOAM™ Brand XPS Foam Insulation
THERMAX™ (ci) Exterior Insulation
STYROFOAM™ Brand SPF Insulation
FROTH-PAK™ Foam Insulation
GREAT STUFF PRO™ Gaps & Cracks Insulating Foam Sealant
GREAT STUFF PRO™ Window & Door Insulating Foam Sealant
Other Dow & Partner Technologies
DOWTHERM™ SR1 heat transfer fluid
Low-VOC ENHANCER™ Technology
Reverse osmosis and nanofiltration elements from Dow (water treatment system)
Dow Corning® silicone sealants
Solar shading windows
The June 2011 deadline was staring construction workers in the face, and the project site was buzzing with subcontractors - more manpower being put on the project to meet the delivery deadline. It was becoming increasingly evident the team had success within their reach as the facility neared completion. 351 days after construction began, the occupancy permit was obtained and the project was delivered on time. “Incredible!” said Thom VanHattum of URS Corporation. “I have never seen a project better managed from a standpoint of safety and organization.”
Dow’s commitment to safety, Driving to Zero, embraces the aspects and behaviors related to conducting business and operations safely - ensuring that employees and subcontractors are able to return home each day to enjoy their families and friends.
Understanding the importance of an effective safety plan during the construction of the Dow Business Services Center, Spence Brothers developed a site specific safety manual which encompassed Dow’s safety expectations. Together, the safety team at Dow and Spence Brothers’ Safety Director, Daryl Schular, enforced a strict and responsible training agenda relating to safe construction practices at the site. It was mandatory for all subcontractors working at the site to receive certification for successfully completing the orientation.
In recognition of their safety accomplishments, Spence Brothers hosted two subcontractor appreciation days during the build. Lunch was catered at the site and project t-shirts were presented to the subcontractors as a symbol of the team’s appreciation for their hard work and safety practices.
The use of local subcontractors on the project was imperative to the team. Since the Dow Business Services Center’s construction symbolized a substantial commitment to the region, it was considered appropriate to award as many regionally related contractors in the build as possible. Approximately 80% of the subcontractors engaged in construction were regionally located to the project. This participation further reduced the carbon footprint associated with the project - reducing driving distances for subcontractor due to their proximity to the project location.