Steam Distribution Line Replacement, 3400 Blocks
U.S. Army, Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Tacoma, WA

Construction Cost: $4.65 Million

Wood Harbinger’s thoughtful analysis and ultimate design decisions saved the Army money and lowers maintenance cost in the future.


For this Joint Base Lewis-McChord project, Wood Harbinger upgraded a portion of the existing, above-ground steam distribution pipeline and replaced portions of the buried steam distribution pipeline. Wood Harbinger added supplementary Drainable Dryable Testable (DDT) piping to replace abandoned buried systems and connected new distribution piping to the existing building heating systems. We provided demolition support for the existing structure and coordinated with the project team, general contractor, and Owner to minimalize construction impact.

During pre-design stages, Wood Harbinger conducted a thorough analysis of the site, studied survey results, and provided two design options. The first option was to directly bury the piping, and the second option was to extend the utilidor. Wood Harbinger presented both options to the Owner and clearly explained long-term implications of each design. After carefully weighing the solution options, the Owner decided to extend the utilidor. Wood Harbinger’s pre-design analysis indicated that this option would cost more up-front; however, it would save significantly more money in the long run. The Owner has easy access to the replaced piping with the extended utilidor, lowering maintenance costs and providing increased control.

Wood Harbinger worked closely with the other project team members, keeping in constant communication. During this project, there were several Owner-initiated changes to the initial scope. Wood Harbinger responded immediately to notice of these changes; revisions were completed and sent within 48 hours every time. This responsiveness and dedication helped to keep this project on track, and ultimately, be completed on time despite the evolving scope.