The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District’s Center of Standardization for Contingency Standard Design received SAVE International's Gordon Frank Award for Outstanding Value Methodology in Government at the 2015 SAVE Value Summit in San Diego June 9.
SAVE International is an organization that advances and promotes value engineering.
Amanda Bianchini, the district’s value engineering officer, accepted the award. She recently learned that she was also selected as USACE Value Engineering Professional of the Year, based on her work for the CoS, which resulted in the district receiving the Gordon Frank Award.
“Value engineering is a way to maximize functions of a project while minimizing resources,” Bianchini said. “It’s a federally mandated project improvement tool.”
Though value engineering is not unique to the Middle East District, the way the district applies the idea stands out.
“We were nominated for the award because the way this program uses value engineering is more inventive and flexible,” said Dale Hartmann chief of the CoS. “We get better results.”
The Center of Standardization for Contingency Facilities, a relatively new program for the district has designed and developed a series of standard buildings to meet the needs of contingency operations. Rather than living and working out of tents, troops will have solid structures.
Though USACE has nine Centers of Standardization, the Middle East District’s is unique because it is the only one that designs non-permanent structures. The team started each project with a four-day study, to ensure that the design and building process was as simple as possible.
Customers choose from standard designs for each building’s exterior, or envelope, and standard interiors which are interchangeable with each envelope. Exterior options are built from wood or compressed earth blocks which are made on-site from the existing soil.
Building interiors are known as RaISES (Reconfigurable Adaptable Interior Space Element). They are designed to adapt easily to mission changes, so if one group needed an office space and the next needs barracks space, it is quick and easy process to change the interior of the building to meet the new intent. Each raise is designed to fit perfectly into each envelope
“To keep costs lower, we eliminate certain things,” Hartmann said. “So you won’t see things like sheetrock inside these buildings. There are multiple options for the customer depending on their budget, materials and the duration they will use the facilities.”