KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 21, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- An energy plant designed by Burns & McDonnell to endure extreme weather and continue serving a critical medical center in downtown New Orleans has received a National Award of Merit from the Design-Build Institute of America.

The recognition by the DBIA also means the EnwaveUSA Biomedical District Steam Plant project is in the running for the organization's National Award of Excellence to be announced this fall. The new facility provides critical services to the University Medical Center, a Level 1 trauma center.

The steam and chilled water plant was designed with the lessons of Hurricane Katrina in mind. The Medical Center's goal is to continue operating for up to seven days in the event its electrical, natural gas or water utility service is lost.

The project faced tough design challenges. Burns & McDonnell engineers had to fit the steam plant in a tight urban location near power lines, parking lots and residences; design it to withstand hurricane-force winds topping 150 mph, and locate equipment vital to its operation on the second level to survive up to 20 feet of flooding.

The resulting Biomedical District Steam Plant achieved the University Medical Center's goal and is capable of seven days of standalone, isolated operation.

"This was a challenging project with great results," said Ken Woodul, project manager for Burns & McDonnell. "We look forward to future opportunities to serve Enwave, build on what we've learned together and take our game to the next level."

In announcing the recognition, the DBIA said the projects receiving its National Awards of Merit represented an "exemplary collaboration and integration in design-build project delivery" and were evaluated by a "distinguished panel of industry experts."

"To win a National Design-Build Project/Team Award, projects must not only achieve budget and schedule goals, but also demonstrate advanced and innovative application of design-build best practices," said Lisa Washington, CAE, executive director and CEO of the DBIA.

"The jury's difficulty in choosing winners demonstrates how much design-build expertise has expanded since we started the awards program in 1996," she added.

The construction design-build service provided by Burns & McDonnell allows teams of employee-owners to work seamlessly with clients from project inception through completion.

Clients benefit from consolidated project schedules, increased project savings and enhanced quality. They also have a single source of responsibility to manage, while Burns & McDonnell handles the multiple suppliers and contractors required on every project.

"Having a transparent contract structure, close support from our engineering team and collaborative relationships between Enwave, Burns & McDonnell and our subcontractors were the keys to allowing the design to evolve while construction was moving forward," Woodul said.

"The flexibility, creativity and hard work of our field execution team brought it all safely together on time and on budget."

About Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell is a company made up of more than 5,200 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. We strive to create amazing success for our clients and amazing careers for our employee-owners. Burns & McDonnell is 100% employee-owned and is proud to be No. 15 on FORTUNE's 2015 List of 100 Best Companies to Work For. For more information visit http://burnsmcd.com.

Kevin Collison, Burns & McDonnell