The turnkey approach to design building a cleanroom has been moving toward the forefront of cleanroom design and construction for many reasons — one of the most important being schedule. Design build lends itself to fast track construction in such a way that a high quality product can be delivered, as well as help reduce a customer’s time to market. With the critical nature of hitting a window with certain products, the faster the project completes the better.
Having a detailed equipment list from the user and load information are both essential to allowing design and construction to proceed rapidly. Assuming relatively accurate information is received, design can proceed and produce long lead equipment specifications for early procurement and early permit package — demolition, site, concrete, etc., can be produced and, in most facilities, permitted early.
Getting the specified equipment early should help with schedule and quality control; no substitutions mean the drawings should more accurately reflect the equipment and reduce coordination issues. This leads to another key to the design/build method … having a single source of responsibility. With today’s companies having fewer and fewer engineers on staff, they need to have more ability to manage one source of supply while simultaneously doing their own jobs.
Much of today’s design and construction is done turnkey and open book, with guaranteed maximum price contracts that allow customers to see how their money is spent. Customers are also encouraged to participate in the spending approval process. This also helps reduce the project risk by eliminating surprises. If the product and subcontractors are known to the customer, there is little surprise when the installation starts and once it’s completed.
The design build approach also helps reduce cost. The phrase “time is money” is particularly true in construction — the faster the job is built, the less it costs. Buying out early equipment packages can reduce layers of mark-up. The contractor and designer can set the level of documentation required for proper use. Duplication of documents like general specifications and bid instruction can be eliminated, and the details on the drawings can be determined — this helps reduce design cost.
There are organizations set up to provide standard contracts for design build work, such as the Design Build Institute of America. Organizations such as this have written contract documents that help define the roles of the owner, contractor, and designer, and help make sure the responsibilities and risks are assigned to the appropriate parties.
Fifteen years ago, it was the common belief that design build construction was only good for simple building like warehouses and offices. However, times have changed — contractors get involved earlier to help owners save time and money, as indicated previously. Cleanrooms are done in large numbers this way today — in some cases, this involves manufacturers using their systems of walls and ceilings to do design build. Other design builders may come from general construction backgrounds.
Cleanrooms are becoming more complicated nowadays. There’s more to consider than just clean air, temperature, humidity, light, sound, vibration, static, and explosive limits — many other factors are in play, thus making a well-rounded construction and design background more important than in the past. There are still those projects like soft wall cleanrooms that just require something as simple as blowing air, although this is more an exception than the rule today.
Most design build contractors have systems in place to understand the owner’s needs, so that they are able to communicate this to the designers. This pushes projects forward and ensures timely, cost-effective, high-quality projects for the customers.
As President of Hodess Construction Corp., Blake G. Hodess has over 30 years of construction experience. He is highly recognized in the industry for his expertise in advanced technology construction. Blake has vast experience in all project responsibilities throughout the construction process. www.hodesscleanrooms.com