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DPR Team Commended for Collaborative Approach, Good Communication on 182,000-sq.-ft. Blood Processing Center Project in Douglasville, GA
Actually “walking the walk” is what makes DPR stand out from other contractors, according to Bennett Wiggins, Heery International, Inc., site representative for the American Red Cross Blood Processing Center project. Wiggins has been working with DPR’s Atlanta team since July last year on the new 182,000-sq.-ft. blood processing and distribution facility currently under construction in Douglasville, GA, for the Southern Region Blood Services division of the American Red Cross.
Client: American Red Cross
Architect: Ewing Cole
Located on a 19-acre site, the facility will include state-of-the-art laboratories used for processing blood and platelets, as well as blood component storage and maintenance of a rare blood bank. Due to the facility’s use, construction must adhere to regulations determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“A lot of firms know how to do the work and can talk a good story about what they’ve done and what should be done on a project. The difference I see is that we’re actually putting it to use,” said Wiggins. “Scheduling and planning sessions are used to work through issues on an ongoing basis. Everyone understands what everyone is doing, and we’ve identified critical milestones for the project. We’ve built a real nice team here in large part because of DPR’s willingness to create a cooperative environment.”
Collaboration and cooperation have been key themes from the project’s beginning — starting with a trip to Johnstown, PA, to tour another recently completed blood processing facility for the Greater Alleghenies Region and Colonial Division of American Red Cross Blood Services. Both the Johnstown, PA, and Douglasville, GA, projects are part of the same 10-year national capital improvement campaign that will consolidate and streamline the Red Cross blood system into a standardized network of blood processing facilities that include laboratory, blood processing and administrative office space.
“We met with the construction manager of the Johnstown project, which is a similar type of facility, to discuss lessons learned and brought that knowledge back to our job,” said Patrick Houck of DPR. The lessons learned in Johnstown, however, could not address the challenge that local temperature and humidity requirements presented for the facility. During the award process, DPR offered the American Red Cross several opportunities to improve the performance of the building. One suggestion, to meet the hot and humid needs of Atlanta, was an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star white reflective roof in lieu of the black ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) roof as specified. The change to a green roof not only resulted in an immediate initial credit of $25,000 for the American Red Cross but also is expected to generate $60,000 in energy savings over 10 years
Mother Nature also tested the project team with a rainy winter season that impacted the second concrete slab on grade pour and cost DPR 29 weather days. In addition, the American Red Cross considered adding a 15,000-sq.-ft. basement for an underground box conveyor system and freezer condenser room to the project shortly after the start of construction. After DPR estimated that the change would add $1 million to the project cost and a total of 45 days to the schedule, the American Red Cross elected not to proceed with the basement. The exercise, however, resulted in a 25-day delay and required the team to completely resequence construction. Despite these setbacks, the DPR team is tracking ahead of schedule on its first two major project milestones.
“The project is tied to five milestones-individual critical paths we identified for meeting the overall schedule,” said Bryan McCaffrey of DPR. “The first milestone is to install environmental control rooms and freezers by no later than 17 weeks prior to substantial completion, and the second is to install the temperature monitoring system by no later than 10 weeks. Currently, we are tracking four weeks ahead on the first two milestones and are working to meet every deadline for a successful project delivery.”
The team also is using threedimensional (3-D) drawings for the MEP coordination, which, according to McCaffrey, has saved time by allowing materials to be prefabricated. “We completed more than 50,000 square feet of the MEP installation before we had our first clash in the field, and we’ve experienced firsthand the benefits of our preplanning and use of technology to verify that everything is in the right place before we start building.”
Once complete, with an anticipated final delivery in February 2007, the facility will house approximately 450 employees and increase the Red Cross Biomedical Services, Southern Region’s ability to process and distribute blood components, expanding current capacity from 290,000 to 750,000 units of blood a year.