Fort Carson Wilderness BBHQ - Colorado Springs, CO

This was VAA’s first project with U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED® Platinum certification.

VAA provided structural engineering design services for the three-story, $27 million Fourth Brigade and Battalion Headquarters (BBHQ) building owned by the U.S. Army. The new facility was built within the Department of Defense (DoD) design requirements to improve building safety and better protect its personnel and facilities from terrorist attacks. One of the requirements is to perform a progressive collapse analysis and design on all buildings three-plus stories in height. Progressive collapse design requires the engineer to provide structural redundancy to the building to prevent widespread collapse when one or more key structural components are damaged or destroyed. Combining new DoD design requirements with the U.S. Army’s request for sustainability created a unique challenge.

Our Approach

VAA provided extensive computer modeling and special detailing to analyze and design the new building to comply with the progressive collapse requirements and protect soldier occupants. The project also required coordination with unique room/construction requirements such as Sensitive Comparted Information Facility (SCIF) features. Interdisciplinary coordination through BIM software minimized conflicts and questions during construction.

The design-build team, which included RSP Architects and Mortenson Construction, assisted the U.S. Army in their quest for sustainable projects while VAA delivered constructable solutions for the sustainable elements and seismic detailing. Special features of the project include roof-mounted solar panels to heat water, photovoltaic arrays to convert sunlight to electricity and electrical control systems to conserve energy. These features are a part of Fort Carson’s commitment to Net Zero energy, Net Zero water and Net Zero waste consumption by the year 2020.


The fast-paced, 16-month schedule required the design team to work closely with the construction team to meet every design milestone in order to deliver on expectations and specialized requirements of the U.S. Army. The project obtained LEED® Platinum certification, meeting the highest standards of sustainable design, as well as ATFP standards, progressive collapse avoidance requirements and moderate seismic design.