Master Planning Process

In order to best determine the infrastructure needs of a school district Barile Gallagher Engineers, P.C. follows a logical process of evaluation and “Master Planning”.

An initial meeting and brief walk-through of the facilities with the head of the Buildings and Grounds Department allows us to begin to get a feel for the age and condition of the buildings. At this meeting the department head will typically share particular items that need special attention.

Next we try to locate any existing documentation (drawings, specifications, etc.) which will shed light on the types and vintages of various mechanical and electrical systems.

Having a good idea of what the original design intent of those who built the buildings and modified them over the years is very useful in evaluating the current condition of the systems. In addition, it is often difficult to determine the extent and layout of the existing systems which may be hidden behind finishes and below floor slabs.

Once all available documentation has been reviewed we return to the building(s) and perform a thorough walk-through with engineers from each discipline (HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical). All areas of the building will be visited including attics, basements, crawl spaces and tunnels to ascertain the condition of the systems.

This is a visual evaluation. We may recommend additional testing of any systems which are suspect or well beyond their useful life. These tests may include thermal and megger testing of electrical panels and wiring, ultrasonic testing of piping, air, water and amperage testing of air-handling systems, flow and pressure testing of domestic water systems, etc. This testing is typically contracted directly by the District with expert contractors that we recommend or with whom the District has an existing relationship.

Once our surveys and any required testing have been completed a document containing a description of the existing systems, the observed deficiencies and recommendations for rehabilitation is compiled. Our opinion of the probable construction costs of the recommended actions will be included in this document.

The document is reviewed with District personnel for completeness and accuracy and refined as needed.

The next step is to prioritize the work items in terms of the seriousness of the deficiency. Priority 1 items might concern critical failure of systems or components which threaten life safety. Priority 2 items might concern code violations which don’t pose an immediate threat. Priority 3 items might be systems or components which have outlived their life expectancy and may fail in the near future. The priorities would be identified and set in coordination with the District. Scope items would be grouped together into logical “packages” which then can be arranged into specific projects.

The projects identified by the above process can then be “timelined” and a Master Plan for implementation of the program is developed.

The final document will describe the existing systems, identify deficiencies, recommend appropriate action, prioritize and package scope items and layout durations and probable costs for resulting projects.