—Library facilities are essential to Brown University students and faculty in furthering their pursuit of knowledge. When it came time to build an addition to the Library Annex, Brown sought out a familiar partner, Shawmut Design and Construction, who handled the John Hay Library renovation in 2013. In addition to creating a top-tier facility, Brown University and Shawmut Design and Construction embarked on a Lean Construction planning process that resulted in meeting budgets and timelines.

Library Annex is a high-density storage facility with a capacity of 1.5 million volumes. This project adds 13,700-square feet, increasing the facility’s storage by 2.3 million items and doubling its current capacity. The Library Annex is located four miles from campus and houses collections from all campus libraries, and in a variety of formats. The sophisticated system shelves items by size and located by barcode in a warehouse environment where temperature and humidity are carefully controlled. Students and faculty are able to request items from the Annex using the Library's online catalog, and requested items are delivered to campus libraries.

Throughout the project, Shawmut implemented specialized planning techniques to ensure Brown University could make informed business decisions that would keep the project on budget and on time. Specifically, the team used Target Value Design, a collaborative design process that results in a budget-driven design, to set a target cost for the project and create schemes that met the project goals and budget.

For example, the team looked critically at elements including: the farthest distance that a joist could span without requiring additional reinforcing. To answer this question, four design options were created and budgets determined, before being presented to the university. Brown was then able to make a decision that would construct the largest responsible building and would defer shelving for future storage. This saved tremendous wasted effort typically encountered in the traditional design process.

“Working with Brown University is always exciting,” said Ron Simoneau, vice president of Shawmut Design and Construction. “We have completed over 50 projects with the university. The planning method we utilized on this project is a great ‘best practice’ as it keeps projects on budget and schedule. At Shawmut, we are always striving to do the best for our clients, and this project is a great example of our superior process and end result.”

VIDEO: Courtesy of Brown University