As a new team, the Seals didn’t have any locker rooms. They needed us to take an existing dead space and turn it into a fully-functioning locker room with mobile lockers where a professional sports team could operate. Again, the PSA, basically a mini feasibility report, was so important because it helped us identify a costly mistake and save our client a lot of time and money up front. We started by creating a few basic designs to review with the clients. During those reviews, we identified that they had mistaken which area would be built out. If they had hired a design and architecture firm, it likely would have cost tens of thousands of dollars, and several months to get plans for the wrong space—and the expense of starting from scratch.
Because the space was adjacent to several other rooms at the arena, it made it challenging to start designing and building because we were working around other events. One memorable example was pulling out all our tools for a couple days every time Shakira was in town because she stayed in a room next to our work site. But the primary challenge was a perfect example of balancing timing with design. We needed to deliver excellent quality with a limited budget and on a short timeline—without a full set of plans.
The start of the Seals’ season was the hard deadline, and it was critical that it be done on time so they would have a place to change for games. To meet that deadline, we started before the end was in sight and approved, tackling one phase at a time (we had tentative layouts and positions, enough to do the demo, plumbing and electrical, but only placeholders for elements like costs, color choices and related bids for those elements). That meant we were doing design and building in tandem as we proceeded through the timeline, which required significant creativity as well as trust between our team and Seals management. By updating the plans as needed, getting specific about each line item in the timeline as it occurred—including scope and materials—we were able to deliver one of the best projects possible under especially tight restrictions. Typically, the same project would take a year to complete. In fact, the timeline was so short that we began building the mobile lockers on-site the day after we got final design approval—we didn’t have time to have them built off-site and delivered.
Also, again because the plans weren’t hyper-detailed, there was a lot more personal interaction with subcontractors, including getting immediate feedback from them about design. They needed to know what work would be involved to give us accurate quotes, and feel at ease about their commitments, and we needed to be sure their quotes fit our budget. By working closely together, deciding what would be included, then getting client approval, everyone’s needs were met.
It’s worth repeating that the PSA was incredibly valuable to the process. As a design-build firm, we provide PSAs as standard on all projects. They really are the wave of the future, especially for higher-end projects that involve more than five or six trades.
It was a pleasure to work with the Seals. We go to Pechanga Stadium several times a year and it’s an amazing feeling to know that Berkley Construction built a really nice part of it—the best locker room in the whole facility!