Arthur J. Altmeyer Building Modernization

Location Woodlawn, MD

Client General Services Administration (GSA)

Services Commissioning, Construction Management

Project Value $120 million

Hill provided construction management services through the design, construction, occupancy, and closeout phases of the Altmeyer Building Modernization project. Located at the Social Security Administration (SSA) Woodlawn Campus in Woodlawn, Maryland, the 220,000 SF Arthur J. Altmeyer Building is comprised of ten stories, a 30-foot-deep mechanical space basement, and a two-story penthouse on the roof. The building is the SSA Headquarters and is primarily used as office space for senior SSA personnel and includes a series of private offices and open office configurations. Built in 1959, most of the building systems were original and the interior spaces inefficient. Improvements included a new glass and metal panel curtain wall façade, built-up roof replacement, blast resistant hardening, energy efficient building systems, upgraded stairways and elevators, and upgraded perimeter security and landscaping.

The project was delivered using the Construction Manager-at-Risk (CMAR) method, with Hill providing oversight and monitoring support. Specifically, Hill’s services included:

  • Providing cost estimating services to support the development of the CMAR’s GMP.
  • Reviewing the concept design to ensure scopes were clear with sufficient design specificity.
  • Assisting GSA in identifying technically qualified firms.
  • Coordinating among the trades and third-party testing firms.
  • Conducting comprehensive risk analyses and management workshops.
  • Validating the delivery schedule and identifying opportunities to improve schedule results.
  • Integration of the commissioning process, third-party quality control testing, authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) acceptance tests, and SSA’s furniture, security, and A/V systems.
  • Implementing comprehensive quality assurance inspection and testing.
  • Managing and conducting third-party commissioning agents.
  • Independent auditing of actual costs through a third-party consultant.

Like any sizable project, Altmeyer experienced scope change throughout the design, threatening the GMP contract. After the GMP contract award, between concept and design development submissions, Hill estimated cost growth approaching the entire GMP budget, leaving less than adequate budget contingencies for the remainder of the project. The CMAR worked collaboratively with Hill to prepare a design scope variance report, showing the detailed scope that was alleged new when compared to the previous design submissions. From there, Hill assisted GSA with analyses determining whether to classify each variance as “design advancement,” a routine change that should have been part of the initial GMP; “design enhancement,” details that were increased in quality/quantity by the designer; or an owner initiated change that was documented in the design but may not have been approved by GSA.

GSA and SSA further classified “design enhancement” and owner initiated items as “needed” or “nice to have.” Working collaboratively, the project team then estimated rough order-of-magnitude costs to help decide whether to accept the changes, which resulted in the voiding of some potential scope creep.

Throughout this process, the project team conducted value engineering workshops, where the team relied heavily on Hill’s ideas. Finally, Hill assisted GSA in negotiations regarding scope the team believed should have been covered in the GMP or accounted for in the contingency. Ultimately, the team kept costs below the GMP budget and maintained adequate contingency for construction.

“It’s a pleasure to provide this affirmation of Hill International, Inc. and their role as Construction Manager as Agent for the Altmeyer Building Modernization project. The project was a huge success and provides the SSA a modern, efficient headquarters facility for decades to come. Throughout all phases, GSA and SSA relied heavily upon Hill’s collaborative management approach and best practices to maximize the benefits of CMAR delivery, and maintain trustworthy partnerships with all of the stakeholders. As owners, GSA could not be more pleased with the final schedule, budget, quality, safety and customer satisfaction outcomes. Hill, along with the stakeholders can take pride for their significant contributions to this noteworthy project achievement.”
– Brian Muller, GSA Project Manager