The Emerson Fire Station is a single-story wood and masonry, slab-on-grade structure which
consists of three major areas: four drive-through apparatus bays (6,900 square feet), an
Equipment Support and Storage Area (2,900 square feet), and an Administration Area (3,860 square feet) which contains offices, training spaces, break room and living quarters. Refer to Figure 1 at the end of this report. When executing this project in 2006, a design-build project
delivery method was utilized. Ouellett Associates, Inc., of Brunswick, Maine was the general
contractor and they teamed with CWS Architects of Portland, Maine as the project architect.
Ever since the completion of construction, the Department has experienced difficulty
maintaining heat within the Apparatus Bays and in maintaining a comfortable environment for
the spaces within the Administration Area. This is not uncommon in projects which utilize a
design-build delivery method. Though the design-build approach can be an excellent method of executing a project, it does have some inherent disadvantages. Without adequate quality control
standards set forth in the procurement documents, utility systems such as HVAC systems are
often not given adequate attention. Since even design-build projects are usually awarded to the
lowest responsible bidder, the HVAC systems provided will usually be adequate, but not
necessarily the systems that best meet the owner's needs.
Wright-Pierce was retained to investigate the existing conditions, to define HVAC system
performance issues and to make recommendations for addressing the Department's concerns.
One objective of the evaluation involved defming the specific problems. Meetings held with the
Fire Department led to the development of a list of performance issues which have been
experienced at the Emerson Station. The outline of Performance Issues can be found in the
Appendix of this report.
Wright-Pierce conducted several site visits to the Emerson Fire Station to observe the existing
conditions at the facility. Thermal imaging and infra-red measurement was performed at various
locations to observe the radiant slab heating and to locate any thermal breaks in the exterior
building envelope. Wright-Pierce also reviewed the original design drawings and operations and
maintenance manuals to understand the existing systems.