Burke Museum

Burke Museum


The University of Washington’s Burke Museum is renowned for its collection of archaeological and geological artifacts as well as its cultural exhibits preserving the history of Northwest native nations. With roots dating back to 1895, the Burke’s current concrete facility dates to the 1960s. Not only did the building limit the museum’s ability to reach larger crowds and expand programing, but the lack of an air conditioning system prevented the ability to ensure proper climate control for exhibits.

After reviewing the possibility of installing a new AC system through an extensive remodel, the University determined that a new facility on the existing site would both solve environmental control concerns and allow the Burke to meet the future needs of the University and public. In total, the new museum will provide more than a 60% increase in space from the current facility. The existing museum will be demolished after the new Burke opens doors in 2019.

McKinstry was selected to provide the full mechanical, electrical, and fire protection infrastructure. McKinstry will be managing the subcontracted scope of Controls, Insulation, and TAB to third-party firms. The design and preconstruction phases are wrapping on schedule to support an early September start of construction.

The new facility will include exhibit space, education space, and state-of-the-art labs to serve students, researchers, and artists. The new Burke will incorporate a unique “inside-out” design, intermixing visible labs and collections throughout the exhibits and learning areas of the museum to provide the public a window into the research and discoveries being uncovered by museum staff.

Special features include humidity-controlled collections areas, rooftop air-handling units with heat recovery, fume hood exhaust & lab supply/exhaust valves and lab piping (DI, VAC, LCW/LHW, and CA).

Leveraging Budget Tools to Drive Schedule Excellence (Elec Only)

The project started with partial funding, with the assumption that the remainder of the funding would be received in the next funding cycle. When the next funding cycle was delayed, the project had to stop while it was in-progress. The project’s restart was a moving target, so McKinstry teams leveraged our Accubid tools to make real-time budget updates to ensure the project could move forward without constantly recreating the budget from scratch. Due to the sophistication of Accubid we were also able to be flexible with non-cost project components such as mobilization/demobilization and schedule.

Preconstruction Services Performed

Our initial budget is tracking perfectly with our updated budget through the early phases of construction documents.  We did this through very careful budget tracking, collaborating with the design team daily, and an overall well-executed preconstruction process.


McKinstry created a full 3D model of all mechanical, electrical, and fire protection systems. Thoughtful constructability analysis is all a part of how we build the model.  We periodically review with our superintendents and the project team.

Lean Construction Practices

McKinstry’s full 3D model is maintained by our PM staff and used to detect potential clashes in weekly meetings with other members of the project team. McKinstry has taken the lead in running clash detection/prevention meetings and in finding resolutions for all issues identified. We draw our content in CAD and match this up with backgrounds provided by the architect. We export clash reports from the Navis clash models (by trade) to send to pertinent parties for quick reference and to assign responsibility for fixing the clash.

SBE/DBE Approach & Results

The overall project team has identified a target percentage of SBE/DBE subcontractors and vendors to be utilized on this project. McKinstry is in the final stages of evaluating down-selected vendors and subcontractors within our scope to help the team reach this goal.

Prefabrication Use

We are prefabricating several components on the Burke Museum project. All of the main runs down corridors will be racked together at our shop, stacked in order of install, and then shipped to the jobsite. From there we pick the stacks and install them as they are rolled down the floor. We also will be prefabricating components of the penthouse and mechanical room by skidding equipment and associated piping together. On the plumbing side, we will rack back-to-back water closet wall carriers and waste/water piping and pick them onto floors to be wheeled into place.

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