FBI Field Office

Norfolk, VA
U.S. General Services Administration
Hill International
$80 million

The Federal Bureau of Investigation Field Office in Norfolk, Virginia, provides highly secure, Class-A office space that serves as the bureau’s new regional center of operations. The FBI’s Norfolk Division serves all of southeastern Virginia, including the Southside and Peninsula regions, as well as Virginia’s Eastern Shore, encompassing such towns as Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Newport News, among others.  The 132,000-square-foot building is complemented by a secure parking garage for FBI vehicles, a vehicle maintenance facility, a visitor screening facility and ancillary site improvements, all within a secure compound that blends intentionally and seamlessly with surrounding buildings in a Norfolk office park. Special design considerations for this unique facility include redundant mechanical and electrical systems, blast protection, specialized IT support, sophisticated access control systems, and provisions for prisoner handling and detention.  In addition, the building was designed to achieve a LEED Gold certification for environmental sustainability.

Effective management of the project and its aggressive, 24-month, design-build schedule helped to ensure that the FBI Field Office was completed not just on time, but just under 23 months—six weeks ahead of schedule.

Budget:  The project budget was established by an approved prospectus as an annual lease cap.  The Hill team consulted with local, market-familiar real estate and banking officials on cap rates and prevailing rental rates to determine both what it would cost the developer to construct the building, and what the government could expect to pay for annual rent.

Procurement:  Intense competition and high proposal costs on the project could have led to time- and cost-consuming bid protests.  To mitigate this, the procurement involved two rounds of carefully conducted, controlled and documented mid-bid interviews with each bidder.

Sophisticated Systems:  The building contains sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIFs), and other unique security features and systems.  For example, each door included an electrified access control device. Doorframes were specially pre-fabricated to accommodate more than a dozen unique conduit conditions, and provisions were made for low-voltage, standard-voltage, and critical power feeds.  Also, three separate power systems were required for the building—a standard system, a “shield” system, and an “essential” system.  As a result, each outlet required color-coding and special testing.  In addition, the project called for two separate HVAC systems—one for base functions and another “24/7” system for critical areas.  


Web-Ex Design Reviews, which included the designer in Chicago, GSA in Philadelphia, the FBI in Washington, D.C. and the project team in Norfolk brought the team together effectively and inexpensively. Process Mapping, which painstakingly detailed the processes for design reviews, RFIs, change orders, schedule reviews and submittals, was developed and incorporated into the project management plan.

Proliance Beta Testing (ePM) was launched as a test case by the GSA at the Norfolk field office.  Hill worked with GSA software designers to develop workflows that were incorporated into the software design.  In addition, the Hill team helped implement a design review “other business application” to upload, coordinate and manage design review comments.

Effective use of BIM technology was central to the Hill team’s management.  BIM and its 3-D capabilities were used to clearly communicate design.  BIM also enabled effective clash detection, a vital tool in managing the myriad system and cabling demands of the project.

A Compliance Matrix, containing virtually every single project requirement from the program of requirements, solicitation for offers and design manual, was compiled and used to verify compliance during design and construction.  The comprehensive matrix was later transformed into a portable database for use on other projects.  

I want to recognize you…for your performance with regard to the change order management role you have adopted.  I think your work has been excellent!  You have acted on a relatively high number of government changes in a timely and effective fashion, keeping the process moving from the government perspective, and ensuring a fair cost to the government.  Your ability to keep track of these changes and determine contractual entitlement is no small achievement on your part.  We have come to rely on your services as the sole keeper of the change process.  Great job…I thank you from the entire team.

Charles Hearn, PE

U.S. General Services Administration