National Museums, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, United States



United States

Nobis staff members have performed value engineering studies on numerous projects for the Smithsonian Institution including the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the first national museum to be devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, will be located on five acres on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The design will incorporate state-of-the-art technologies for exhibits, research and communications and is planned to achieve LEED Gold certification. The Museum is scheduled to open to the public in November 2015 to coincide with symbolic movements in the narrative of American history.

Two VE studies were performed on this project: at the schematic design and the design development phases. The VE team, which consisted of 17 full and part-time multi-disciplinary consultants, followed the six‐phase job planned recognized by SAVE International.  The VE team generated 145 ideas during the creative phase of the study.  Fifty‐seven ideas were developed.  Net potential capital cost savings were estimated to be $84.8 million or 26% of the estimated construction cost. In addition, an estimated $1.3 million present value of operation and maintenance savings is proposed.  20 out of 57 proposals were wholly or partly implemented, for an implemented savings of $9.8 million.  

The second VE study included 55 proposals, with a potential initial cost savings of $48 million, or 16% of the estimated construction cost.

National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center (NMAH), one of the Smithsonian’s most visited museums, is home to more than three million objects. Originally designed by Walker Cain of McKim, Mead & White, the museum will be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places due to its location on the National Mall. The museum contains a variety of spaces, both public and non-public. Levels 1, 2 and 3, and part of the lower level, are used for exhibits, education, public gatherings, retail shopping, food services, offices, and collections storage. Except for food services, the lower level and levels 4 and 5 are used primarily for offices, collections storage, and building support functions.

Nobis Engineering was on EwingCole’s team as an assistant facilitator/technical recorder on a 24-hour VE study of the $50 million PSRP West Wing, Package III, which focused on public areas in the west wing on levels 1, 2 and 3 with supporting building service areas primarily on levels B and 4. The scope covered non-programmatic construction focused on the shared public space, building systems, and replacement of current functions which may be impacted by the restoration of the public spaces or programmatic areas due to installation of new infrastructure.

The VE team recommended a savings of $3.5 million.

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