In California, a new four-level parking garage at the Irvine Transportation Center, located about 40 miles south of Los Angeles, is providing thousands of daily commuter train and Amtrak passengers with a newfound creature comfort: convenience.
The $27 million structure officially opened last August with much expectation, and a collective sigh of relief. Where once riders scrambled to secure one of only about 500 parking spaces on a single congested lot, now 1,500 spaces are serving the needs of an annual ridership that surpasses 650,000.
Whether users of the free parking garage realize it or not, the facility also offers another significant benefit: peace of mind. The 500,000-square-foot structure is outfitted with an IP-based video surveillance solution provided by ADT Security Services’ national accounts group.
The $800,000 system includes more than 40 IP cameras, a video analytics piece at the train station platform and 120TB storage capacity, all covered by a unique five-year equipment warranty as well as a five-year service warranty.
Video is monitored onsite around the clock by a private guard service and is also streamed over a 10GB fiber backhaul to police headquarters at Irvine City Hall more than seven miles away.
Having won the project bid essentially twice, ADT signed on two local subcontractors to complete an installation that includes IP video alarm integration with existing Code Blue emergency call stations in the parking garage and video analytics to survey the train station platform.
That might all appear like a clear-cut installing endeavor; however, ADT’s project managers deftly contended with more than one unforeseen hitch while staying on course to complete the project on a tight, mandated deadline.
Second Go-Round Is a Charm
That a robust security solution would help safeguard the new parking facility was a foregone conclusion for community leaders. For five consecutive years, Irvine has been named America’s safest large city (100,000+ people), based on FBI crime statistics. Irvine’s efforts to help protect its residents and visitors at the transportation center, which opened in 1990, are consistent with other concerted safety efforts throughout the community.
While the new parking structure was funded by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), the city took the lead in hiring a design consultant to draft the specification for the video surveillance solution.
The city hosted a prebid meeting at the train station in June 2008, which was attended by several perspective companies, including ADT. It was then the remaining parts of the city’s request for bid (RFB) package, including drawings and the terms and conditions, were handed out.
Likely because the city mandated a RFB - whereby the specification is not subject to negotiation - not every company chose to continue with the bidding process.
“It was a challenging specification,” explains Paul Slaman, a national account manager who led ADT’s efforts on wining the project and seeing it through. While the specification was very well thought out and designed, he says, some of its technical aspects may likely have scared off potential bidders who had to weigh the tight constraints of being locked into the RFB.
“A lot of times in these situations companies, ADT included, will make a go, no-go decision based on risk,” Slaman says. “They decided they could not offset some of the risk that was in the specification.”
Although ADT would go on to ultimately submit the low bid, nevertheless the project would not be awarded just yet. A small technicality in the bond submittal precluded ADT’s submission from being considered a responsive bid. That prompted the whole project to go into a reproposal and rebid. The new bid solicitation hit the street in August 2008. In all, four companies would now make a run at the contract.
“We, in essence, had to go after and win this job twice,” Slaman says.
With Slaman and his national accounts colleague, Harold Williams, an integrated systems manager, leading the project, ADT contracted with two local companies to serve as the project’s installation arm. Redrock Security & Cabling pulled wire and handled the end-to-end installation of cameras; while networking company Affiliated Computer Services Inc. (ACS) took care of most of the storage piece and network switching equipment.
Together the two installing contractors, each with a unique skill set, allowed ADT to form a cohesive team that would be able to meet the rigors of the city’s RFB. “Putting the right team together was critical in being able to achieve what the city wanted and be able to put a winning bid out there,” Slaman says.
Having secured the project, there was little time to sit around and ponder what lay ahead. “There were a lot of preconstruction meetings through the holidays,” Slaman says. “We got our notice of award right around Thanksgiving  with a start date of Jan. 9.”
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