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Iowa State Capitol

Location: Des Moines, IA
Job Description: Renovation and Restoration
Contract Value: $920,000.00

Iowa First Place Mechanical Award Project of the Year — 1999
Iowa Award of Excellence Project of the Year — 1999



The Iowa State Capitol project was the renovation and restoration of Iowa's Capitol built in 1974. The project began in April 1998 and had to be completed before the legislature came back in session in January 1999.

Proctor Mechanical self-performed seventy percent of the mechanical and plumbing system retrofit. The total mechanical contract was $920,000.


The work included installation of new chilled water system consisting of 120 ton chiller, cooling tower, pumps and piping for winter operation.


Installation of (64) fan coil units, (4) computer room cooling units, (25) cast iron radiators, and (11) unit heaters. 

Renovation and restoration of (2) major bathroom groups for the Iowa House of Representatives. Installation of (2) steam to domestic hot water heaters. Installation of (4) steam humidifiers. Piping consisted of chilled water supply and return, steam and condensate, hot water supply and return, condensate drain, sanitary sewer, waste and vent, storm, domestic water and refrigeration.


The project was a fast track project. The Capitol was built in 1874 and working around and through eight foot walls, uneven dirt basement floors and low ceilings was a taxing logistical project in itself.


The $920,000 mechanical system had to be completed while the General Assembly was not in session. The fan coil units for this project were custom built and had to be shipped on a fast track basis. The unit heaters were installed inside century-old existing round cast iron radiators. The inside of radiators had to be customized to accommodate the unit heaters. Many of the piping mains were in small crawl spaces and tunnel areas. Equipment and material handling was difficult due to sever space limitations. There was mechanical work form the cramped basement catacombs chases and tunnels up through five cavernous domes at 240 feet above grade.

Coordination among all trades was a must on this project to meet the schedule. Chiller and associated equipment as installed in an existing stair vault with micro-space tolerances.


Working in over a century-old building required specialty safety training as well as rigorous fire safety and procedures documentation. We also designated and built a specialized chair lift capable of going 100 feet in height that would fit in 3' X 3' ventilation air chases. Safety was of maximum concern while working in the lift and special procedures were developed and followed in complete detail to insure safety for the "mechanic in the swing."


The project also had several instances of illegal picketing, even one including Des Moines Mayor Preston Daniels working as a picket in payback for union campaign support.

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