but don’t be afraid to give extra space
to above-ceiling utilities. Especially
important in labs, a design that creates
simple routing pathways for ductwork,
piping, telecommunications and other
systems can increase prefabrication possibilities and reduce unexpected coordination issues.
• Meet with the building authorities early
and often in the process. Review the
plan for phased permit approvals and
• Engage a code consultant and review
any complicated code issues that may
require variances or code modifications.
Review these issues in detail with the
building authorities early in the design
MATERIAL AND EQUIPMENT SELECTION
Constantly look for opportunities to
expedite the procurement of all materials.
If you don’t have it, you can’t install it. Store
materials offsite well before they are needed.
Seek out storage, lay-down or warehousing
facilities nearby. Verify production of materials by reviewing production schedules and
visiting manufacturing facilities in person.
Never rely on sales personnel updates, verify
with manufacturer’s production managers.
Work collectively to determine systems
and materials—such as exterior skin—that
minimize the number of on-site trades
involved, maximize the possibilities of prefabrication and maintain the design ethos.
• Select local products when possible and
avoid foreign products due to lengthy
shipping and customs inspection times.
This has the added benefit of also being
an excellent sustainability strategy.
• Customize only in high-impact—
visually, functionally or a combination of the
two—areas. Intricate, complex details in
back-of-house areas are easy targets for
• Avoid field measuring for long-lead
items. Establish “build to dimensions”
that incorporates tolerances for support
materials, such as concrete or steel.
This allows materials to be fabricated in
advance of field construction.
• Identify the plan for phasing of separate
bid and permitting packages early and
get commitments from the entire team
to meet this plan.
Create a Building Information Modeling
(BIM) execution plan to maximize the use
of BIM for coordination and prefabrication. It’s essential the design and construction team have experienced BIM managers
in-house, rather than relying on outside
vendors, consultants or subcontractors to
run the coordination process.
• A well-coordinated BIM model helps
eliminate conflicts and RFIs—changes
typically not found until installation
creates construction delays.
• BIM improves construction efficiencies
and increases opportunities for prefabrication, thereby reducing jobsite installation times. By reducing the number
of issues and conflicts through BIM
coordination, subcontractors have confidence to prefabricate. Prefabrication
results in improved quality, safer construction techniques, reduced field
manpower requirements and faster
assembly times in the field.
• Translate the coordinated BIM model
directly into the field using digital layouts, such as “Total Station” devices,
to precisely locate floor penetrations,
sleeves, embeds, hangers and walls. This
not only saves time in the field, it reduces
conflicts by translating the fully coordinated information directly into the field.
• Bring key subcontractors and man-
curtainwall—onboard early in the
design process. This can be handled in
a truly competitive environment, while
enabling the team to design and coordi-
nate for the actual materials and equip-
ment rather than theoretical “basis-
of-design” products that may never be
purchased or installed.
This key to success can’t go unstated:
minimize changes. Review each change to
determine if it’s absolutely critical to the
project. Can it be done post-occupancy? If
the change must be performed, it’s imperative the project operates an efficient, expeditious change order process to authorize
work quickly. Once the work is authorized, a
streamlined process must be in place to avoid
any delay in payment to subcontractors.
With so many fast-track projects executed in the past few years, it’s easy to develop
a skewed perspective that this is just the
new norm and easy to accomplish. The
necessary decisions and suggestions above
help serve as a reminder of the complexities
from inception through completion of any
project, and demonstrate the importance of
experienced, collaborative partners.
Steve Gurtel is a Senior Project manager with The Whiting-Turner Contracting
Company. With over 16 years of experience,
he focuses on delivery of highly complex
facilities, serving clients in the S & T market.
Stephen Palumbo, AIA, LEED AP (BD+C),
is an Associate and Project Manager with
Tsoi/Kobus and Associates, and has worked
on numerous lab projects.
Pros and cons of fast-track
continued from page 12
Teams working quickly to close the building envelope during summer months.