City Council Report


City Council Meeting: August 10, 2010

Agenda Item: 1-H

To:                   Mayor and City Council

From:              Stephanie Negriff, Director of Transit Services

Subject:         Big Blue Bus Operations Building Improvements


Recommended Action

Staff recommends that City Council:


1.    Authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a contract for construction services with Thomco Construction, Inc., a California-based company, for the tenant improvements at the Big Blue Bus Operations Building for a total cost not to exceed $2,965,328 (includes 10% contingency).


2.    Authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a purchase order contract with Interior Office Systems (IOS), a California-based company, for the furniture for the Big Blue Bus Operations Building for a total cost not to exceed $891,995.


3.    Authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a modification to Professional Services Agreement Number 8956 (CCS) in the amount of $69,300 (includes 10% contingency), with Harley Ellis Devereaux Corporation, a Michigan-based company with offices in Los Angeles, providing  additional design, graphics production, and construction management services for the time period beginning July 23, 2008 through December 31, 2011.  This will result in a new contract amount of $480,179.


4.    Authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a contract with Design Space Modular, a California-based company, for provision of temporary trailers to house staff on-site during construction for a total cost not to exceed $253,000 (includes 10% contingency).


Executive Summary


Harley Ellis Devereaux Corporation is currently providing design services for various improvements to the Big Blue Bus Operations Building located at 1660 7th Street.  The building was originally scheduled to be demolished as part of the overall Big Blue Bus campus expansion plan approved by Council February 2, 1999 that would improve the Big Blue Bus yard, along with its maintenance, operations and administration facilities.


Staff relocated to 612 Colorado Avenue in 2000 and then moved back into the 1660 7th Street building in early 2006, with the intention of staying there temporarily until a new facility was built on the 612 Colorado site. As a result, improvements to office layout and amenities for the building were kept to a minimum.  However, the construction of the new Operations building was eliminated due to a lack of funds that resulted from unforeseen cost escalations associated with construction. When it was decided to eliminate the new Operations building, staff indicated to Council that improvements to the 1660 7th Street building would be necessary for longer-term occupation of the building.  The design process, initiated in 2008, addresses improvements to the interior and limited exterior of the building.  The cost for the building improvements is approximately $5,200,000, which includes minor items not requiring Council approval.


The project is scheduled to begin construction in September, 2010.  The project design manager has been working with Interior Office Solutions (IOS), a distributor of Hayworth and Coalesse products, on the layout and pricing of the furniture. The purchase of new furniture is required to replace outdated furniture which no longer functions efficiently and will not fit in the reduced individual employee work-stations.  Replacement of the existing furniture is also part of the designer’s comprehensive plan to increase natural light flow and daylight penetration into the work spaces, a component of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification process.  The building is expected to obtain LEED Silver Certification.



As the Big Blue Bus’ fleet changed and expanded to incorporate alternatively-fueled buses and articulated buses that enhance the flexibility of service offerings, it became clear that modifications were needed to the Big Blue Bus Campus.  These modifications would allow for better handling of service needs, operations and administration needs, and reorganized parking for the changing fleet.  A plan was developed to demolish the existing Maintenance and Operations buildings and replace them with two new buildings.  However, construction costs rose unexpectedly due to outside factors, and on May 9, 2006, City Council was informed of the cost escalation on the proposed Big Blue Bus Facility project. Due to budgetary constraints, City Council directed staff to proceed with the most urgently needed Maintenance Building and defer the proposed Operations Building construction.


After assessing the building’s functional deficits and studying options to improve the interior design and functioning of the Operations Building, it was determined that an interior and limited exterior remodel to the existing building would suffice to address the needs of the operations and administrative staff.  On July 23, 2008, staff presented the cost to design the tenant improvements of the Big Blue Bus Operations Building, and City Council approved a Professional Services Agreement with Harley Ellis Devereaux for these design services.  These design services also included the selection of furniture for the Big Blue Bus Operations Building.


Contract No. 8956 (CCS) with Harley Ellis Devereaux was modified on December 2, 2008 to include an additional scope of work that included the redesign of the exterior areas on the north and south sides of the building, additional work contributing to obtaining LEED certification, and to provide CAD drafting and Field Verification for the building.   As the project progressed, additional design and coordination work for technology (Intermediate Distribution Frame [IDF] room, cabling, audio-visual equipment, and information technology coordination), Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, including ADA assessment, an ADA compliance and exceptions report and plan for implementation of ADA modifications, elevator cab interiors, exterior paint selection, mechanical updates which will contribute to the building obtaining LEED status, furniture selection, construction administration and bid review, structural evaluation, and further exterior landscape design modifications were needed. The contract was further modified on August 11, 2009, to incorporate replacement of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, as well as additional LEED and ADA compliance items.



A recent Big Blue Bus employee survey shows dissatisfaction with the current work environment including the break area and ready room areas for the motor coach operators, inadequate conference spaces, poor availability of natural light, inefficient and outdated HVAC systems that are difficult to regulate, and furniture layouts that do not permit optimal efficiency within work clusters. Signage, lighting, ergonomics, and the layout of the work storage areas needs to be improved for long-term occupation of the building.  Planned alterations to the motor coach operators’ “ready room” and dispatch room, both key spaces for effective day-to-day operations, will provide for improved traffic and work flow, greater efficiency, and ergonomically appropriate seating and layouts.  The improvements include a specialized technology-ready raised floor for the dispatch area.


The project was initially envisioned as having a limited scope, but has been expanded to incorporate attainment of LEED Certification, replacement of the entire HVAC system (due to the current system’s Freon being phased out effective January 1, 2010), production of integrally designed wall murals, additional work related to the Title 24 filing (part of the LEED process), changes to the IDF room and dispatch room, and modifications to the specifications, construction documents, and project manual which will provide an ongoing template for the proper care and maintenance of the materials utilized in the project.  The cost of a comparable replacement building is estimated at $13,200,000 for demolition, architectural design, engineering, construction, etc.  The renovations will allow for continued occupancy of the Operations Building for approximately the next ten years.


The interior re-design of the Operations Building will include developing new cubicle and desk systems; new bathroom amenities, including required ADA modifications; a more functionally designed motor coach operator break room; improved ‘ready-room’ and dispatch areas; mechanical, electrical, plumbing and HVAC upgrades; and improved storage areas and conference rooms.  Significant construction savings were utilized by purchasing pre-fabricated wall and flooring systems, rather than having them built on-site.  By re-utilizing an existing building, this project further contributes to the City’s sustainability initiatives and economic feasibility by diverting construction waste, utilizing green materials, and maintaining the ability to reconfigure the space as needed.  Once improvements are completed, the building is expected to obtain LEED Silver Certification.


Contractor Selection

On May 4, 2010, a Request for Bids was posted on the City’s website soliciting bids for the construction of the tenant improvements for the Big Blue Bus Operations Building.  The City received eight bids on June 14, 2010, and the following is a summary of bids:


            GENERAL CONTRACTOR                                   BID AMOUNT

            Taslimi Construction Company, Inc.                      $ 2,649,598

            Thomco Construction, Inc.                                       $ 2,695,753

            PCL Construction Services, Inc.                             $ 2,915,000

            AWI Builders, Inc.                                                      $ 2,973,000

            G2K Construction, Inc.                                             $ 3,093,000

            USS Cal Builders, Inc.                                              $ 3,280,000

            Acon Development, Inc.                                           $ 3,641,000

            Shefir Construction, Inc.                                          $ 3,926,000


Staff reviewed the bids and short-listed two general contractors:  Thomco Construction, Inc. and PCL Construction Services, Inc.  The selection criteria included experience on similar projects, understanding of the project scope, qualifications of the proposed staff, staffing capabilities to meet the desired time frames, and cost of services.  Interviews with the short-listed design-build teams were held on July 6, 2010.  The interview panel was composed of staff from Big Blue Bus and Architecture Services. Thomco Construction, Inc. was selected as the general contractor for this project, as the firm had the most qualified team members, the best experience in similar type projects and a very competitive price. Past projects include the San Diego Gas and Electric Company’s call center, City of Corona’s complete interior building renovation and new lobby addition, and portions of the Disneyland Resorts theme park construction.


During construction, staff cannot occupy the building and must be temporarily relocated.  Staff who must remain on-site will be housed in trailers to be furnished by Design Space Modular.  The rest of the staff will be relocated to temporary offices at the Santa Monica Airport.


Financial Impacts & Budget Actions

The contract/purchase order amount to be awarded to Thomco Construction, Inc. for the tenant improvements at the Big Blue Bus Operations building is $2,965,328 (includes 10% contingency).


The contract/purchase order amount to be awarded to IOS for the furniture for the Big Blue Bug Operations building is $891,994.64.


The amendment to the Professional Services Agreement with Harley Ellis Devereaux Corporation is to be $69,300 (includes 10% contingency) for additional design, graphics production, and construction management services for the time period beginning July 23, 2008 through December 31, 2011, which will result in a new contract amount of $480,179.


The contract/purchase order amount to be awarded to Design Space Modular for provision of temporary trailers to house staff on-site during construction is $253,000 (includes 10% contingency).


Rent payments of $7,486.50 per month plus utilities will be made from BBB to Santa Monica Airport via inter-departmental transfer. 



Funds totaling $4.275 M for the above expenditures are available in the FY2010-11 budget at Facility Upgrades and Renovation account number #C410826.589000.


Prepared by:  Gretchen Kubacky, Senior Transit Programs Analyst




Forwarded to Council:







Stephanie Negriff

Director of Transit Services


Rod Gould

City Manager