Workers lower the rooftop air conditioning units into place.
Air Touch Cellular, the nationwide domestic wireless service, has joined forces with Bell Atlantic, GTE, and Primeco to form Verizon, “a new entity,” says Bill Goltermann of Lowe Enterprises, the owner and developer of Verizon’s regional headquarters in Irvine, CA.

Construction of the 470,000-sq-ft, five-building campus began last October and is scheduled for completion this August.

“This is a very fast-paced schedule,” says Ken Ellis, Verizon project manager for Control Air Conditioning Corp., Orange, CA, which began work on the complex last November. “For this size project to be completed in 10 months is very aggressive.”

$5 Million Hvacr Contract

Camille Teeple, project manager for JCM of Long Beach, which is handling the interiors portion of the project (including move management), says 2,200 Verizon employees are currently “spread out over three or four locations. Verizon wanted to bring all their folks together under one roof.”

Two buildings are scheduled for Aug. 1 move-ins, with all employees moved by March 2001.

This means Ellis and his Control Air team have a lot to do before then.

The $5 million hvacr contract is all Control Air’s. “We’re responsible for all the sheet metal and pipefitting,” Ellis says; “all the core and shell. Currently we’re involved in start-up in Buildings C and D, and TI in A, B, and E — roughing out all the office space.

“The complex is mostly office space with some computer rooms and an employee cafeteria, for which we’re installing stainless steel grease duct exhaust units.”

“The project is being built around criteria and a campus environment with a central courtyard that Verizon envisioned several years ago to bring different components of their operations into one location,” says Goltermann, development manager for the owner.

The project has no central plant and no chillers. “We’re using package hvac equipment,” Goltermann says. “This is a more efficient system. There’s no central plant facility.”

“The two cooling towers are small,” says Ellis. “They’re basically serving the computer rooms.”

The service contract for the building is still in up in the air. “We won’t know if we’ll have a service contract with Verizon until we turn over the project,” says Ellis, who has been with Control Air for 15 years — on the payroll, that is, though as the owner’s son, he’s really been with the company all his life.

“As a whole, Control Air is more involved in new construction and tenant improvement than service contracts. We have a good-sized service department, but it’s less than 25% of our total business.”

Not Fazed by Fast Pace

“I’ve worked on other big projects before,” says Ellis. “I was the project manager for Warner Bros. Studio’s sound stages. That was just as high-profile as this.

“With all high-profile jobs and fast-track projects, productivity-wise, you get a lot more out of your field labor than on a slower-paced job. When you’re continually pressuring your workers to perform as far as the schedule is concerned, they tend to work harder and faster.

“On this project, Turner [Construction, the general contractor] has a systematic way of going about things. The schedule Turner came up with isn’t overly aggressive. It’s doable, it’s reasonable.”

Goltermann, the owner’s rep, says that the city has approved the use of 190,000 sq ft on the same site for the future construction of two additional buildings.

“The city has approved the general plan,” he says, “though no drawings were submitted yet, and no construction is as yet planned. But we’re a growth company, and we’re already thinking of expanding before the initial construction is completed.”

If and when Control Air is needed for this second phase, Ellis says the company is ready. “I don’t mind fast-paced projects,” he says.

“Not long ago, I was the project manager for something that was supposed to have been a year project and dragged out to two years. That kind of slow pace really isn’t much fun. It’s kind of boring.”

Sidebar: The Tale of the Tape

Facts, figures, and equipment for Verizon’s regional headquarters:
  • $5 million hvacr contract
  • 470,000 sq ft of floor space
  • Two cooling towers
  • 21 vav package units on roofs
  • 1,475 tons of chilled water in the two cooling towers and the 21 package units
  • Five hot-water boilers (two at 140,000 Btuh each and three at 1,995,000 Btuh each)
  • Nine water pumps (seven at 2 and 3 hp, two condensing pumps at 40 hp each)
  • 21 air-handling units (16,000 to 27,000 cfm each)
  • 15 fancoils
  • 25 supply and exhaust fans
  • 470 terminal units
  • 30 sheet metal technicians during the period of peak installation
  • 20 field piping technicians during the period of peak installation