Communication & Coordination: A Public Agency Office Refresh

A federal public agency occupying the entire floor of a downtown San Diego office building needed an update that not only made the space look better, but also created better functionality.

The challenge for this 18,000-square-foot re-imaging was two-fold: the agency needed to remain open to serve the public during the work, and the construction happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coordinating 10 weeks of construction schedules around employees and security — both building security and the office’s own security — was key to success. FS Design Group, Lockrul Construction, the government agency tenant and the landlord, EMMES Realty Services of California worked collaboratively to ensure the project moved forward on time with as little disruption as possible to the employees providing an essential service to the community.

“It took a lot of coordination but, at the end of the day, the tenant was really happy with the work that was done,” said EMMES Senior Project Manager Alexandra Acosta. “It’s challenging when the work is being done in a tenant’s space. We have to be mindful of their property and considerate of their environment.”

Lockrul Principal Tim Lockridge said the key was creating a six-phase timeline, down to each hour, and following it as strictly as possible. “Communication and a strong team approach allowed us to quickly shift gears when needed,” he said, adding that most of the construction work happened over the weekends.

The result was a fresh workspace, including new carpet, paint and furniture; a wellness room; reconfigured meeting spaces and offices; a copy room rework; new data air units in the still-running server room; and cabinets in a breakroom, as well as airflow and acoustic improvements throughout the office. The work also included updates to a public counter, which had become worn over more than 10 years of use, including sit-stand desks for employee comfort.

“It took diligence and a lot of communication, but everyone stuck to the process, which resulted in a successful refresh project,” added FS Design Group Designer Marissa Clow. “After more than a decade of use, the space was tired, uninspiring and worn. The changes are dramatic. The space was really transformed, even though this wasn’t technically a major construction project.”

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