Single Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif., have a new reason to look forward to going home. A modern masonry dormitory is the first of a multibillion dollar U.S. Marine Corps initiative to replace outdated bachelor enlisted quarters (BEQs) with comfortable, modern facilities. P-015 BEQ, Horno 53 Area provides soldiers with a living environment similar to apartments or college dormitories in the private sector.

The design/build project consists of a four-story, 68,500-square-foot reinforced concrete masonry BEQ that houses 340 Marines, and an adjacent single-story concrete masonry activity building. Masonry was a natural choice for the facility, which was meant to resemble a college dorm in aesthetics and functionality, but also be durable, economical, and sustainable.

Sourdough-colored smooth block gives the structure a modern feel while still blending with existing buildings on base. Red and brown split-face block accents make the structures more inviting.

Commercial masonry contractor Frazier Masonry Corp. in Lancaster, Calif., was responsible for the structural masonry. Frazier's team of 35 masons placed almost 200,000 8-inch CMUs and installed precast window sills within a fast-track, 11-month schedule. “We were able to meet the tough schedule despite extreme weather conditions, while maintaining an outstanding safety record,” says president Russell Frazier.

Planning the mission

Design concepts for the project were refined during pre-project meetings which included San Diego architects Cass Sowatsky Chapman + Associates, San Diego-based general contractor Harper Construction Co., and Frazier Masonry. “Frazier provided numerous design alternatives, and a wide range of texture, pattern, and color combinations,” says David Golden, Harper's vice president of preconstruction. “They worked with the block manufacturer to ensure the proper block design and colors were specified and available.”

The project team developed creative engineering solutions to address unstable soil conditions and stormwater drainage concerns. The building's foundation is built with deep concrete structural piles and a 6 ½-inch building pad. Large detention basins with emergency spillways were designed to meet 50-year storm criteria, since the barracks are located downstream from two natural canyon drainage basins. Also, the structure had to sit at least 82 feet from nearby roads and parking areas, to meet Department of Defense Antiterrorism/Force Protection Construction standards.

Sustainability was also a major focus. Custom CMU block helped reduce jobsite waste, and existing materials from demolished structures and paving were crushed and recycled as part of the new construction. Masonry also contributed to recycled and regional material requirements, indoor air quality, and energy performance, to help the barracks earn LEED Silver certification.

Best of the best

Since the P-015 BEQ was completed in May 2008, the Marine Corps has officially recognized its design as “Best of Breed,” and it has been adopted as the standard for all future U.S. Marine Corps bachelor quarters projects. “We recognized the opportunity we had to provide improved quality of life and morale with this new design,” says Golden. “While current BEQ projects have already exceeded the P-015, this was the initial catalyst that pushed the limits of creativity, innovation, and performance for bachelor quarters.” In 2009, the project was also awarded a Design Award of Excellence by the National Concrete Masonry Association and Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute.

Frazier Masonry and Harper Construction have partnered on several more BEQ projects at Camp Pendleton. Frazier has provided structural CMU service on these barracks, including spending nearly 98,000 man-hours on BEQ Package 1 project without a lost-time indicent, placing 55,000 block per week on USMC BEQ Package 5, and placing 30,000 block per week on USMC BEQ Package 6.

WEB EXTRA: SLIDESHOW of the P-015 BEQ project. For photos of more Camp Pendleton BEQ projects, visit

Project Participants

Owner: U.S. Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Architect: Cass Sowatsky Chapman + Associates, San Diego

Structural Engineer: SMR-ISD Structural Engineers, San Diego

General Contractor: Harper Construction Co., San Diego

Masonry Contractor: Frazier Masonry Corp., Lancaster, Calif.

Block Producer: Orco Block Co., San Diego