Los Angeles National Cemetery Urban Initiative

2020 CMAA Project Achievement Award
Government: Construction value less than $50 Million
Los Angeles National Cemetery Urban Initiative Phase 1

Owner & CM: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The project was uniquely challenging due to its location and atypical design features. The site is bounded by Interstate 405 to the east, Jackie Robinson Baseball Stadium to the west, a dense residential neighborhood to the north, and the Greater Los Angeles VA Medical Center to the south, as well as, having a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business contractor who had never built this type project or worked with the VA in the past. Special design elements include several yards of acid-washed sidewalks, tongue and groove cedar wood plank ceiling at the committal service shelter and kiosk, and white concrete serpentine entry and seat walls. 

In order to help the GC be successful, the CM team worked directly with the stone supplier to overcome challenges related to the acceptable range of the texture of the granite stone veneer and the acceptable tolerance for the stone veneer anchor system. They went directly to nearby nurseries to select alternate species and acceptable sizes of the palm trees. They had to coordinate the use of a single access underpass to/from the site, which also served the medical center support services and the baseball field.  They overcame delays in delivery of the precast columbarium units and stone, and delays associated with the electrical approvals with the local utility company by working directly with the utility company and suppliers in support of the GC. Overall, the VA CM team functioned as an extension of the GC rather than just a construction manager overseeing their work.  Additionally,the project team suffered the devastating loss of Mario Ramirez, owner of West Coast Contractors of Nevada, Inc., mid-way through this contract.  A proud Veteran, Mr. Ramirez was endlessly devoted to this project and the success of the project team; his passing left a major void.

As described in detail below, the team used a variety of innovative approaches and a focus on teamwork and effective communications to overcome all challenges to successfully complete the project at the highest level of quality necessary to achieve the National Shrine status required of all VA cemeteries.