DBIANE 2022 Gold Award for Building Construction – Dacon

Project Name: Edwards Vacuum Design Center for Innovation
Owner: Atlas Copco UK
Contractor: Dacon
Lead Designer: PDA Incorporated– Dacon in-house architectural affiliate  

Major Participants: 
Engineering Group; Architect – PDA Incorporated (Dacon In-house architectural affiliate),  Electrical – Commonwealth Electrical; Mechanical – Phoenix Mechanical Contracting; Plumbing  – North Shore Mechanical, Inc.; Fire Protection – Platinum Fire Protection Services; LEED – BranchPattern  

Dacon/PDA was tasked with developing a new facility dedicated to cryopump manufacturing,  research, and development for Edwards Vacuum’s new Center for Innovation. The project  involved the construction of a 135,000 SF headquarters with a footprint of 101,000 SF and a  34,000 SF second-floor office. The building includes manufacturing and assembly spaces,  research and development laboratories, administrative offices, and mechanical support areas.  

Early selection of MEP/FP Design-Build engineers enabled a strategy of setting the design  schedule to focus on engineering aspects of the building that coincided with the release of long lead items to keep on schedule.  

Partnering early allows the team to meet the demanding project schedule while responding to  the client’s budgetary concerns. It gives them the confidence to make substantial monetary  investments for early release of items such as steel and HVAC equipment before the design is  even finalized.  

The need for weekly standing project meetings including both the client and teaming partners is  required. This enables the team to review schedule, design and review any open issues  requiring resolution. Each meeting has an agenda with meeting notes that identify action items  and deliverables required by each party. The engineering teams work through design  development to resolve any issues that may affect schedule and cost. These issues are brought  to the table at regular weekly meetings for the client’s consideration and approval.  

Unique to Dacon’s project planning is the project lead who manages the preconstruction  process. The planner coordinates the architects and engineers with their scope of work,  schedule and budgetary goals. Being respectful of the project team’s time is key to keeping the  team engaged and motivated. The planner sets an agenda and appropriate goals for what is  being covered in each meeting. This allows for proper attendance, to address issues at hand, while maintaining efficient use of time for other team members. Meeting notes are transmitted to  all parties regardless of attendance at each week’s meeting to ensure all information was being  properly communicated.  

As the project transfers to construction, the project planner transitions the preconstruction  meetings seamlessly to the project manager, for weekly onsite subcontractor and owner  meetings. The project manager is to be engaged weeks prior to construction start with the  planner staying on after construction begins. All information is then shared on the project  management website, including financials, schedules, drawings, submittals, observations, daily  logs, and photos. 

The barriers found in the traditional bid build process do not exist in design-build, as sharing an  office with everyone working on the same goal is inherent to the process. Special methods do  not need to be employed to reinforce team engagement. Methods to relay information to all  team members are a must, such as meetings and notes. When something needs resolution the  first thought is not individual responsibility, but rather how it can be fixed. The field staff has  direct access to the architectural team and vice versa; this allows for constant communication  on a daily basis during construction.  

As an end result, weekly subcontractor meetings, daily foreman meetings and required pre install meetings which the design and construction staff attend ensure clarity and consensus. A  pre-envelope meeting is an example of a pre-meeting that brings the design team, construction  staff and installers together to ensure a seamless installation. Design intent, details, scope and  sequencing are reviewed before any material is on site. Design and construction are not a linear  process and meetings like these are key to demonstrate that and promote collaboration.  

Each week’s owner meeting became populated with the new team members therein becoming a  forum to discuss which stakeholders needed to be added to move the project forward. Edwards’  parent company, Atlas Copco UK, had limited daily involvement, however, was the ultimate  stakeholder in approving project initiation. Understanding this stakeholder was important due to  international differences in construction requirements generated from a Loss Prevention  Standard used for risk mitigation.  

As Edwards’ manufacturing representative managed equipment design and the overall  manufacturing process, additional support was acquired to oversee the project through  construction. NE Facilities Solutions Corp functioned as an OPM to coordinate the owner  provided items. Mar Fiber Tech Two, LLC was engaged as a construction manager to review  and approve invoices. Adding these team members was critical to the process. Understanding  each other’s roles kept the project moving forward, allowing key decisions to be made in a  timely fashion and removing the possibility of a bottleneck. 

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