Kincaid Hall

The Kincaid Hall building, constructed in 1971, requires substantial renovation to replace aged, outdated infrastructure, reduce deferred maintenance, and modernize the building for more efficient space utilization. The renovation aims to extend the life of the existing building and systems, while consolidating clinics and research labs, creating additional office space, and increasing overall building efficiency. The building will include new offices for the Biology Department, a new, research MRI suite, and will serve as the new home of the Psychology Department.

McKinstry’s electrical and data team was selected to complete the design-build renovation. The project included renovating six floors of office, clinic, and lab space and two basement levels.

Design-Build Collaboration & Approach

We selected the electrical engineer in partnership with the GC, architect, and UW. We promptly built a conceptual budget and started identifying the needs and wants of the University. Throughout the project, we consistently collaborated with various entities. The lighting designer, McKinstry AV, JCI, RFI, McKinstry data, and many others were brought into the design early and often to ensure all systems were properly coordinated and correct for the project and to ensure we were managing to the target value parameters.

We provided system level target values used to validate early design choices with budget and constructability feasibility. An example were the architect’s early light fixtures which were quickly determined to be outside the target value parameters. We quickly brought new options to the table to meet owner and target value requirements.

Target Value Design

The Kincaid project initially had limited funds which were insufficient to renovate the entire building. The team needed to identify exactly what scope could be accomplished with the existing budget to ensure the requests for additional funding were adequate to complete the project. Using TVD, we successfully aligned the existing budget with the appropriate scope and procured sufficient funding to renovate the remainder of the building. It was the owner’s confidence in Skanska and trade partners’ use of TVD which enabled UW to procure added funding. In short, the McKinstry team committed to a specific target value, designed to that value, delivered to that value, and procured additional funding to increase the square footage.

Project Scope

The scope of the project dictated a near -complete electrical and data (LV, AV, fire alarm security) renovation back to service. Incoming primary power, switches, and transformers, and fiber infrastructure were retained for reuse.

The building is served by a 480Y/277-volt distribution system. A single-ended, 1,600-amp, 480Y/277-volt, 3-phase, 4-wire, main service switchboard was provided in the main electrical room. McKinstry provided network energy metering system with integral meter on main circuit breaker and each feeder circuit breaker to measure energy consumption and graphically display on remote terminal unit as required by Seattle Energy Code. Metering was integrated with existing campus power monitoring system utilizing new interface enclosure and programming of campus monitoring system addition.

To support emergency power service a new section was attached to the transformer enclosure was delivered to connect a new 1,600A service entrance busway. We installed a new power feed including raceways, conductors, and branch circuitry for emergency power distribution.

Lighting scope included repairing lighting in the crawlspace and in the under-building tunnel. New lighting and controls were added in the renovated building cores, stair towers, and mechanical rooms.

Data scope included a new MDF on level B1 and new IDFs stacked vertically above the MDF on each floor. The communications room is circled with cable runway with a crossing section of runway above the equipment racks. An ANSI-compliant grounding system compliant was provided throughout the rooms and communications pathways. A complete structured cabling system (CAT 6A) was installed with voice, data jacks and WAPs. New access controls were added with CCTV at ground level perimeter doors (B1&1).


In 2018, when the University initiated its first round of PDB projects, we teamed up with Skanska, Perkins + Will, and Auburn Mechanical. Together, we developed a framework for tracking and assessing success within the delivery method. As we near project completion, we can reflect on a few huge wins we shared as a team on the project, a few of which are:

 Coordinating & Influencing Design Decisions

Kincaid Hall had multiple layers of design that required strategic collaboration. The architect, lighting designer, electrical engineer, fire alarm and access control subcontractors, GC, etc. all had input on McKinstry’s scope. Our main and most successful strategy was to get everyone together early on to clearly set expectations and align with end-user goals and the goals of PMT, PET, and UW.

Early level-setting created a funnel of information which drove a coordinated set of construction documents, and it allowed us to integrate into the broader design conversations and influence the direction of the project design team in a holistic manner.

 COVID-19 Mitigation

Despite the onset of Covid early in construction, we came together to create means and methods to allow the essential project to continue, with little to no cost impact in the early stages. This involved a rapid retraining of our crew to perform two-person tasks with one person, close collaboration with Skanska and other trade partners to re-distribute on-site labor and re-sequence work cadence.

 Trade Partner Collaboration

In collaboration with Skanska and trade partners, trade leaders marked up laminated copies of the site with crew location details each day. This served as an onsite trade stacking prevention and social distancing measure. Because all onsite leaders met each day, overlaps or conflicts were resolved immediately, and productivity maximized.

 Schedule Reduction

In the process of moving through the construction process, we collaborated on the development of the P6, and through very close management and tight-knit collaboration, we moved the substantial completion date up four weeks and the final completion date up six weeks. Despite the onset of Covid-19 early in construction, McKinstry came together to create means and methods allowing the project to continue with no cost or schedule impact. Due to this collaborative planning effort we actually realized enhanced productivity.

In collaboration with Skanska and trade partners, trade leaders marked up laminated copies of the site with crew location details each day. This served as an onsite trade stacking prevention and social distancing measure. Because all onsite leaders met each day, overlaps or conflicts were resolved immediately, and productivity maximized.

Risk Reward Partnership

We developed the RR program as a full trade team early on to increase buy-in and team understanding to maximize impact. In addition, we set up a robust RR tracking spreadsheet that, coupled with our monthly progress meetings, helped us maximize the program to everyone’s benefit. This resulted in the RR partnership returning $300K of the pool back to UW for additional scope in the design phase.

It also allowed us to forecast unused contract dollars on three separate occasions prior to 50% completion. We returned it to UW to pursue additional alternates.

Working on an Active Campus

Campus occupation helped us align site scheduling and deliveries. We coordinated delivery windows with slower student traffic times, which in turn gave the construction crew another guardrail for efficiency. It also meant more in-person access to UW staff needed for rapid decision making. This streamlined the job walk process and drove faster implementation of owner-based changes.

Leveraging Existing Infrastructure Opportunities

We were able to eliminate walk time charges for our union field teams by working with the University to leverage existing parking infrastructure for field teams. Not only did this eliminate additional labor charges, but also decluttered the site, freeing up valuable site access for other trades, teams, or equipment.

MWBE goals

McKinstry successfully partnered with RPL and West Coast Electric Company and are on-track to achieve 15% of contract towards our business equity goal on this $5.7M renovation. In addition, we are working with Birch Equipment Rentals, ACME Construction Supply, and Mobile Electric to achieve the balance of our 20% goal for UW Kincaid Hall


We used Revit for 3D modeling during design which enabled coordination of all trades into a cohesive plan. By modeling in Revit, we were able to “fly” through the project and identify areas of inefficiency that were detrimental to the budget. We also identified clashes early, so we could quickly reroute and not have costly changes later on. We built a coordinated 3D model and assembled it with the other trades in BIM Glue 360 for periodic clash detection. The flow of information throughout this collaborative interaction enabled us to create RTS Drawing and utilize the RTS for layout on the floors of the building. This process also enabled us to prefabricate such things as Busway, racking, tray, and conduit assemblies.

As we finished design, we took the model data and input it into the Robotic Total Station. This piece of equipment saved time and money in the field by laying out all of our anchor points with its on-board laser. Eliminating the labor used to measure and mark anchor points for equipment, MTRs, walls, etc., created a decrease in cost and an increase in safety. This process also enabled us to prefabricate such things as Busway, racking, tray, and conduit assemblies.


McKinstry works with many government entities, always with the aim of protecting their budgets and helping them save resources for their communities. View projects >


McKinstry is a major player in helping create safe, efficient, and attractive healthcare environments. View projects >


McKinstry is a powerful partner in renewables, delivering turn-key energy source solutions. We implement long-term energy solutions for your community or organization. View projects >

Project Sectors

Explore the environments McKinstry helps bring to life.


Together, building a thriving planet.


To make every building we touch more efficient.