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Harris Consulting Engineers (HCE) is providing HVAC, plumbing and electrical design services for the new World Market Center, a $1 billion home furnishings complex being built by Furniture Mart Enterprises, a Los Angeles based firm. The complex will eventually span 7.5 million square-feet of permanent showrooms and temporary exhibit space for furniture industry wholesalers and manufacturers to display and sell home furnishings. HCE’s overall site work includes site lighting and utility coordination (power, telephone, cable TV and natural gas), while shell building and tenant improvements include HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems.

The World Market Center is estimated to cost $200 million, with six construction phases calling for three ten-story towers, a pavilion and a four-story trade fair starting January 1, 2004 and to be completed before 2010. Phase one construction will end in 2005, and upon completion will host its first major trade show. At that time, the center will contain 1.3 million square feet of permanent exhibition space, in addition to another 300,000 square feet housed inside temporary structures. Phase one’s design center and showroom will operate year round, coupled with a 1 million square foot convention center, with the 2.5 million- foot retail, office and housing development planned for the following phases. About 250 companies have so far agreed to lease space in the new World Market Center to its full capacity.

“Planning for this project required identifying and programming building requirements, reviewing and analyzing local codes to create systems that are the most efficient and cost-effective to set the systems up while ensuring the best performance”, says Randy Harris, P.E., Mechanical Engineer for HCE.

The World Market Center project scale, size and scheduling has created several challenges HCE had to overcome. Services required are to be much larger than usual. To start, many buildings are maintained at 40 volts, where this complex is maintained with 12,470 volts with a substation within the building, in addition to larger generators and equipment to provide life safety and standby power.

And as a high-rise calls for heightened safety requirements, more detailed fire safety and smoke evacuation systems designs are needed. In addition, unique challenges have come with the center escalator core that brings up safety concerns with fire separation between floors. Part of this challenge is being met by Randy Harris, P.E. of HCE by taking the HVAC and smoke evacuation systems and coordinating them with mechanical systems to meet the requirements of the fire department, while fitting these systems in the floor space allocated.

HCE is using the Autodesk Building Systems 3 Software, a building information modeling solution that creates accurate 3D content and the ability to create precise digital data models and drawings of mechanical and electrical building systems. The initial proposed building smoke evacuation and ventilation system was routed through the roof, which took away from usable rental space. Using the software to model the building’s mechanical systems, HCE developed a 3D visualization that showed piping and ductwork spatial requirements with several options. HCE then provided an alternative design to reduce vertical shaft requirements by almost 15,000 square feet, offering additional retail space. And to increase floor area and utilize more of the square footage, the original design on the mechanical systems created independent systems for each floor. This prevented a traditional vertical setup that would have taken up additional usable floor space.

In addition to saving space, the life-safety systems for this complex had to be extremely simple in order to prepare for future improvements and to avoid problems for the building’s partners, as the interior of the building is intended to be changed-out frequently depending on furniture show schedules. Adjusting zone boundaries for fire barriers in the high-rise safety systems would require retesting the entire building every time these changes are made. HCE has created building plans for each floor to have its own independent smoke zone with no HVAC ductwork through any floor, or from one to another, which means there are no smoke fire dampers nor life safety matrix involved for the building, only for each floor. This creates simple flexibility for tenants to do what they want without having to re-test their systems.

The functionality of this building must allow vendors the flexibility to create a showroom for furniture, rugs, lighting and more. HCE needed to design every floor to be able to accommodate the specific needs of each showroom. In addition, this large, fully enclosed air-conditioned building required the unique design of mechanical systems that effectively ventilate the building of the scent of new furniture that is constantly being moved around within the building.

Another unusual aspect of this project is the fact that it is a limited use facility. The 1.3 million square foot complex will only be fully utilized two weeks out of the year; in January and July. The other fifty weeks will have occupancy in the ground floor only. However, the building needs the systems designed by HCE to maintain temperature limits and proper ventilation when not in use in order to be available at any time.

To date, the project shell building design is complete, and Whiting Turner is starting the earthwork and underground systems construction. Tenant improvement work will begin in 2004 and is expected to finish by Spring 2005. Construction phase support work will continue through completion of construction.

The design team from HCE is as follows: Electrical Engineer Steve Pay, P.E.; Mechanical Engineer, Randy Harris, P.E.; HVAC Designer, Ron Baron; and Plumbing Designer, Andre deBues. The architect is JMA Architectural Studios and Point of Contact Edward Vance, and the contractor is The Whiting Turner Contracting Company and Point of Contact James Donofrio. HCE has worked with Whiting Turner before, and also enjoys an extensive fifteen-year relationship with JMA Architectural Studios.

The World Market Center will bring to Las Vegas and Nevada a new industry that’s expected to bring 15,000 direct jobs and 20,000 indirect jobs at build out (according to a recent study done by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Center for Business and Economic Research). It will bring an estimated 1 million new visitors to Las Vegas each year (according to a study commissioned by Furniture Mart Enterprises).

Harris Consulting Engineers (HCE) has been engaged in the private practice of professional mechanical and electrical engineering in the greater Las Vegas area since 1983, specializing in HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems designed for physical comfort, convenience, function, and value. HCE’s success comes from providing top quality services to clients through strong individual and team efforts and adherence to the highest professional standards.

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