L.A.'s new arena a 'plum job' for contractor

May 10, 2000
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Installation of the main duct systems in the arena bowl-approximately 150 ft above grade-required precise coordination with the structural steel contractor, as well as using the latest in hoisting equipment.
LOS ANGELES, CA — Los Angeles’ new sports arena and concert hall, opened late last year, was a “plum job” for Glendale, CA-based contractor ACCO.

Apart from the refrigeration systems (which included six walk-in coolers in the catering kitchens) and the ice floor for the LA Kings’ National Hockey League games, ACCO was responsible for all hvac environmental systems at The Staples Center.

This is a huge task under any circumstances, but making it more challenging was the tight schedule.

“The foremost challenge was the compressed time frame of 18 months,” says Bill Traub, ACCO’s lead project manager.

In full agreement is Chad Oliver, project manager for PCL, the project’s general contractor. He could not have agreed more regarding “the aggressive nature of the job” and he was thankful this contractor was on his team.

“ACCO is one of the hvac contractors we preselected” for the owner’s representative to consider, says Oliver. “The company has a good reputation in terms of qualifications, price, and commitment to the job. [It] has a proven record on this kind of work — a large-scale project with aggressive restrictions on scheduling.”

18 Months later ...

Construction on the 900,000-sq-ft arena began on March 23, 1998, and was completed on Sept. 30, 1999. In Oliver’s eyes, this is as close to 18 months as any owner can reasonably expect under real-world conditions.

The contractor performed an hvac design-assist with M.E. Hayakawa, the consulting engineer, beginning in March of 1998. Site trailers were set up in May of 1998, and actual work by ACCO began with underground condenser water piping in September, with installation in the arena commencing in October. It was in October that Traub joined the ACCO project team, serving in unison with Ken Fladby, who was the project manager from the outset.

“Installation of the main duct systems in the arena bowl — approximately 150 feet above grade — required precise coordination with the structural steel contractor, as well as utilizing the latest in hoisting equipment,” explains Traub.

Traub, who has been with the company since 1962, is no stranger to high-profile, high-pressure projects. His track record includes the Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach; Rev. Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove; the 62-story First Interstate building; the 54-story gas company headquarters; the Los Angeles Times’ main production plant; and the Getty Center Museum.

“One of the rewards of being involved with this project was the sense of accomplishment in working with talented personnel who shared a common goal and met schedule requirements,” says Traub. “Since this was a fast-track job, extensive and exhaustive coordination with the other trades was vital to the project’s success.”

Oliver, who has been with PCL for the past 12 years and a project manager for the past five, shares Traub’s sense of pride.

“The owner got a beautiful building on a tight schedule, we met our commitments, and the city and people of Los Angeles are very happy with the arena,” says Oliver. “A project like this takes team work and a lot of cooperation to make it a success — and that’s exactly what we had.”

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