On behalf of our design-build team, I’m proud to announce the
Xcel Energy @ 401 Nicollet, Xcel’s corporate headquarters expansion in downtown Minneapolis, has won a
Design-Build Institute of America Upper Midwest Region (DBIA – UMR) Excellence Award for Industrial & Office Buildings.
Xcel Energy @ 401 Nicollet is a nine-story office building that will be instrumental in continuing the vitality of downtown Minneapolis and the north end of Nicollet Mall. The building’s contemporary aesthetic reflects the surrounding urban context and adds fresh design ideas. A skyway spanning Nicollet Mall connects the building with Xcel Energy’s current headquarters, and a second planned skyway will connect the building to The Nic on Fifth®, a 253-unit luxury high-rise apartment building developed by Opus directly south of the project, and therefore the rest of downtown on the skyway system. The project is targeting LEED Core and Shell Silver certification and Commercial Interiors Gold certification.
There are a number of key elements that proved successful in the DBIA – UMR awards, including the adherence to design-build best practices and effective project scheduling.
Design-Build Best Practices: Key to Construction in an Urban Environment
The design-build project delivery method was instrumental in achieving success on this office expansion. To deliver a high-quality project ahead of schedule in a challenging, congested urban environment required using fundamental design build-best practices.
- Team Collaboration: Team members, including the client, developers, architects and more, were brought to the table early in the process and operated as a truly integrated team throughout the project. As the single point of contact, we streamlined the process and simplified communication.
- Fast-Tracked Schedule: We fast tracked the project and delivered ahead of schedule, allowing Xcel to move-in early and save on operating costs. We did this by phasing the design and subcontractor buy-out, influencing design details to improve efficiencies and continual schedule evaluation.
- Value Driven: We continually provided feedback through constructability reviews to improve quality and maximize efficiency. During the design process, we gave Xcel frequent cost estimates so they could evaluate a variety of alternatives and make informed decisions that maximized their building’s value.
Scheduling to Maximize Success & Client Value
Effective project scheduling played a critical role in the success of this building.
- Phased Delivery: With four turnovers, Xcel received the flexibility needed to phase their employee move-in. This decreased complexity for Xcel as they consolidated employees from multiple downtown buildings. Over a year before construction began, we committed to the phased delivery dates. Delivery of a multi-phased occupation presented permit and life-safety concerns, which we handled efficiently and successfully.
- Six-Week Schedule Advancement: With employees working in multiple buildings downtown, Xcel had a desire to speed up the consolidation process. Six months into the construction of the project, Xcel asked if we could expedite construction. We developed a solution to expedite construction by six weeks without increasing the cost of the project. Additionally, we delivered the final phase one week ahead of schedule.
With extensive planning, continuous schedule and construction monitoring and collaboration on a truly integrated design-build team, we were able to deliver a high-quality building with enduring value to Xcel on an expedited timeline.