On an existing conditions site survey in Washington, the engineering design and construction teams met in the lowest level of an existing underground parking garage, where they found cars parked in the designated location of the central utility plant for the future Museum of the Bible. In a few months’ time, the parked cars would be replaced by chillers, boilers, pumps, and other associated central utility plant equipment after repurposing the space during construction.
Without question, installing large central utility equipment in this space would be challenging. At an elevation of 30 ft below grade, the future utility plant is fully enclosed on all sides by only ground and an operational parking garage with a 7-ft clearance. For a person parking their car, getting down to this location could be done by weaving down the garage ramp. For the design team, the question was not how to get a car down here, but rather an 800-ton chiller.