San Francisco VA Hospital

San Francisco VA Medical Center

VE Alternative A-4

VE alternative proposed by the VE team replacing the curtainwall in this area with plaster wall type W-3, which is more traditional and perhaps has lower risk than baseline concept of using curtainwall.

In May 2014, VMS conducted a VE study on the seismic upgrades and new research laboratory for the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC).

Established in 1934, the SFVAMC has a long history of conducting cutting-edge research, establishing innovative medical programs, and providing compassionate care to Veterans. The 29-acre SFVAMC currently holds 1.1 million gross square feet of existing medical facility space. The station has identified a need for an additional 924,000 GSF of medical, research, and support facilities. The project will accommodate a growing number of patients and the approximately 2,000 employees that work at the facility. The project will also, to the extent possible, consolidate many of the wet laboratories on campus into a new laboratory research building designed to meet current VA standards and guidelines for Mission Critical research structures. The proposed work will also correct the existing seismic and life safety deficiencies of the existing buildings. Buildings 1, 6, and 8 are historic structures are considered contributing elements of the SFVAMC National Historic District. Each contains a mix of offices, out-patient services, and wet laboratories.

The VE study was conducted on the Design Development Phase 2 submission, in conjunction with an Independent Peer Review. During the VE study, VMS utilized the Peer Review process to identify a number of key project issues and complete a majority of the Information Gathering phase of the VE Job Plan. The VE study was then used to identify solutions to the issues identified by the Peer Review.

VE Alternative A-4

VE alternative proposed by the VE team that would use opaque or translucent surfaces in lieu of fritted glass to provide greater glare mitigation.


The VE team’s analysis of the baseline concept highlighted the project’s focus on the flexibility of the spaces to be able to adjust to changes in program and maximize adaptability for future modifications as necessitated by advances in technology, changes in protocols, and shifting research focus. The new Research Laboratory Building layout is strongly influenced by the desire to provide shared support spaces, conference rooms, and a centralized atrium creating a dynamic hub of cross circulation in order to provide a place for personnel to share ideas and conversation with each other throughout the day. As a result of these two aspects, the VE team identified alternatives that improved the project’s Future Flexibility attributes while optimizing is Program Compatibility.

The VE Study identified 44 alternatives to the baseline concept that could potentially add value to the project, either through cost savings, improved performance, or a combination of both. Of these 44 alternatives, the project stakeholders – including representatives from SFVAMC, the SOM Design Team, and the Veterans Affairs Central Office (VACO) – immediately implemented 14 of them, resulting in roughly $500,000 in initial cost savings and approximately $100,000 in life-cycle cost savings, along with improvements in the project’s future flexibility, maintainability, and sustainability. A number of these alternatives resulted in added costs to the project, but improved the project’s aesthetic attributes, including reducing the impact to the National Historic District. Eight additional VE alternatives with initial cost savings of $5.3 million were implemented as the design development proceeded after the VE Study was complete.

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