Introducing the recently completed Davidson County Court House project! Barnhill’s Western Division teamed with Ramsay, Burgin, Smith Architects to deliver this landmark project which includes a 75,000 SF addition and 11,000 SF renovation situated on West Center Street in downtown Lexington, NC. The project ties together the existing 1958 Court House and the 2000 Court House allowing full facility access under one roof, with a newly designed central entry and expanded parking.
When tasked with evaluating available delivery methods for the Court House addition, Davidson County’s Support Services Director, Dwayne Childress, prioritized three criteria for delivery selection: speed of construction, any cost-savings realized by a reduction of change orders and the ability to tie the 1958 Court House and the 2000 Court House together. He says Barnhill’s design-build delivery method delivered on all three priorities and has been a successful partnership for all involved. “Using this delivery method, the design phase was started quickly, and we were able to increase the speed at which the permits were collected. We also enjoyed the collaboration between designer, contractor and owner who are all on the same team. Other delivery methods, by their design, seem to inherently cause folks to have an adversarial relationship and that does not or should not happen with design-build. The teamwork is enhanced, and the change orders are lower and/or value-priced. Barnhill’s overall performance has been excellent.”
“With regard to budget, Barnhill knows what they are doing, period,” adds Dwayne. “As a team, we knew where we were before we finished the design phase. All the way through, and up to the point of bidding, we knew our fiscal position. Through project construction, at some points, we were as much as three weeks ahead of the proposed schedule. After bidding there were a couple of bids that came in very high, to the point that the Barnhill team met with the bidders to determine what happened because the number was unexpected. If the bidder had a good reason, everything was fine, and they were awarded. If the bidder could not give a good reason, the bid was rejected and re-bid. This was done to keep the budget within reason. Upon the second bid, these numbers came back fine, and we moved forward. This was not done to punish bidders, but to ensure they understood the importance of the team’s fiscal position. This process yielded $500,000 in savings that was recognized after the GMP had been set.”
To ensure continuity of Court House operations, Barnhill phased the project allowing the County to take possession of individual floors as construction finished. Due to the nature of the facility, this presented significant challenges and it was imperative that Barnhill have a solid understanding of the operations and workflow within a highly secure environment. Our team was able to maintain day-to-day operations of the facility through proper planning and execution of the specific security protocols required on a daily basis, working hand-in-hand with the Court House staff.
Barnhill’s “WHATEVER IT TAKES” approach to partnering benefitted Davidson County tremendously. With a firm handle on daily operations, Barnhill’s team was able to deliver this project with little disruption to Court House operations; produce significant savings during the value management process which funded HVAC and plumbing improvements to the 1958 Court House and the purchase of furniture for the space; deliver on a promise to increase both MWBE and local contractor participation on the project, finishing with roughly 46% MWBE participation and 49% local participation (defined as the 17 counties making up the Piedmont Triad area) with 16% in Davidson County alone AND finish 53 days ahead of schedule and 1.5% under budget.
Congratulations to the entire Davidson County Court House project team – well done!