Banking on Collaboration:

Multi-Office, Multi-Practice Team Designs Systems For JPMorgan Chase Campus in Plano

There are big projects and then there are gigantic projects. JPMorgan Chase’s new corporate campus in Plano, TX, fits into the latter category. Comprising more than 1.4 million square feet, the campus is situated within the $3.2-billion, 240-acre Legacy West development.

Syska recently completed MEP design, structured-cabling design, and security design for JPMorgan Chase’s original building and is now working on an expansion: a new 12-story building.

Such an enormous undertaking requires a large, multi-disciplinary team. To put together the right mix, we pulled in professionals from several offices and practices across the U.S.

Bob Stickney, the principal in charge, is based in our Dallas office, as is Kenneth Duncan, the local project manager and electrical lead. Mike Terrigno from our Washington, D.C. office is the lead project manager. Anthony Jamsek, the head of low-voltage, hails from our NYC office. Our Jacksonville, Chicago, and Charlotte offices are also represented on the team, as are a range of disciplines -- mechanical, electrical, plumbing, information and communications technology, and sustainability.

Multiple Stakeholders

As soon as planning began, Syska had to coordinate not only internal efforts, but also external ones. Team cohesion extended to project partners: KDC (developer), Balfour Beatty (general contractor), HKS (architect), JLL (owner’s rep), CBRE (facility manager), L.A. Fuess Partners (structural engineer), and Kimley Horn (civil engineer and landscape designer).

Additional stakeholders included the in-house experts from JPMorgan Chase. “JPMorgan has architects, engineers, audiovisual, security, and IT/structured cabling specialists on staff,” Bob explains. “They looked at every single drawing package and they were actively involved in decision-making.”

Another stakeholder was the city of Plano. Mike notes that the team had to submit multiple packages to the city to obtain permits for various project phases. A fast-track schedule meant that, in some instances, design and construction took place simultaneously, resulting in adjustments and in field coordination. “It was a bit of a push/pull process,” he recalls.

The Keys to Coordination

Multiple stakeholders and multiple layers of approvals create complexities, but Syska found effective ways to cope. “We have many inter-office projects at Syska, so that aspect was business as usual for us,” says Anthony. “We are used to collaboration tools like Skype, and many of the team members -- both inside and outside of Syska -- have worked together before. Furthermore, I and several of my colleagues traveled to Plano frequently to attend face-to-face meetings.”

Anthony also put together a “responsibility matrix” for the entire project team. “As telecom engineers, we touch almost every single discipline, so it’s essential to define roles from the outset,” he states. The matrix went over so well in phase I (the headquarters building) that KDC requested the creation of another for phase II (the new 12-story building).

The Results of Coordination

Phase I was a major success for Syska. The project has won several engineering awards, including ACEC National Recognition award; ACEC New York’s Diamond award (special projects category); a Topping Out award, which recognizes outstanding built environments in the Dallas/Fort Worth area; and Syska’s internal Visionary award for Project of the Year.

The Phase I building has also garnered acclaim from an exceptionally important audience -- the JPMC employees who will work there. "They can't wait to move in, and they're eager to see what the team has in store for Phase II," reports Fred H. Williams, JPMC's executive director, Global Construction -- U.S. Americas South. "All of a sudden they're viewing Plano as a hot destination."

But the greatest result for Syska was winning the work for Phase II. “Our existing relationships with JPMorgan, KDC and HKS helped us secure phase I,” says Ken. “Our Phase I relationship helped us secure Phase II.”

Image: Kenneth Duncan at Syska Hennessy

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong…

While one Syska team was working on the Plano project, another was designing smart building systems for The Quayside, JPMorgan Chase’s new regional headquarters in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. Completed in 2019, the 250,000-square-foot facility is one of the first in the Asia-Pacific region to feature a system we call “IP to the edge.”

This system employs a vertical and horizontal ring controller, managed switches, and hot-standby “on premise” servers, enabling a physically separate Operational Technology (OT) network. The OT network provides connectivity for building management systems, lighting and shade control, monitoring of security and fire alarm systems, thermographic heat maps, and integration with HVAC/electrical systems. All of these capabilities deliver data for asset management -- an essential need for a smart building.

Connectivity was not the only goal. Our designs also promoted occupant wellness, energy conservation, and workplace productivity, which we accomplished with a variety of intelligent building management systems. Examples include IAQ-VOC sensors, C02 sensors, daylight harvesting, and occupancy analytics.

“We love working with JPMorgan Chase because the company is always eager to implement the latest advances in building systems,” says project manager Thomas Grimard. “Again and again, we see JPMC facilities setting new industry standards for other corporations to follow.”

“We love working with JPMorgan Chase because the company is always eager to implement the latest advances in building systems,” says project manager Thomas Grimard. “Again and again, we see JPMC facilities setting new industry standards for other corporations to follow.”