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Coming in at 135,000 square feet of science and technology space, it took a total team effort to bring the Georgia Southern University Center for Engineering and Research building—the largest non-athletic facility on campus—to completion.

The four-story structure encompasses 33 unique laboratories and includes an additive manufacturing metals lab (metal 3-D printing), cleanroom, nano materials manufacturing space, and different robotics and automation labs. As JE Dunn’s largest project with GSFIC to date, the scope was not only complex, but it also required multiple digital iterations and detailed collaboration to deliver maximum value within the specified budget.


To achieve the goals of all parties, the team carried out a textbook execution of Collab­orative Project Delivery (CPD) by engaging professors, Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission (GSFIC), and Georgia Southern University facilities staff through programming, preconstruction, and construction, providing physical mockups and real-time estimating along the way. The construction team leaned on BIM technology and collaboration with trade partners to streamline the process and ensure the project stayed on schedule.

In concert with mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection trade part­ners, BIM allowed the team to prefabricate 182,000 linear feet of electrical conduit, 32,000 linear feet of plumbing pipe, and 90,000 linear feet of ductwork off site.

“BIM enabled all potential overhead clashes to be coordinated ahead of time, which mitigated rework—and thus cost— and allowed for a high-quality installation,” said Superintendent Maren Moss.


Working on an active site required extreme coordination for installations, and the chal­lenges extended to the tie-in of an existing central plant with the other buildings on the current closed mechanical loop. These challenges were amplified by the fact that the equipment within the existing system had different pump configuration setups. “While the tie-in on an occupied campus is challenging in and of itself, we were also delayed in the install of the chilled water line across campus, followed by other issues that further delayed it by two weeks,” said Moss. “To stay on schedule, we installed an efficient temp air system that was well-functioning and maintained. We went into other buildings on the closed loop and assisted in engineering, TAB, and commissioning efforts to ensure a well-functioning system at the end of the day for the University.”

In addition to tying into an existing central plant, the team had roughly 315 pieces of technology to coordinate. To ensure a smooth process and that below-slab rough was correct, JE Dunn handled the coor­dination of all equipment. “We purposely left out the slab on grade to minimize and eliminate any concrete cutting for rough-in since the floors were exposed polished concrete. We coordinated all in wall rough-ins with the campus professors and their material vendors, which resulted in zero rework due to missing services,” said Moss.


The advance planning, collaboration, and coordination resulted in a lean project that not only saved money, but it also gave the client added value in the purchase of their desired equipment. The lean approach to preconstruction allowed the project to stay on budget and ultimately buy back an added scope of $2.7M within the GMP. This added scope of work included lab equipment coordination, rooftop research space, cleanroom lab, modular casework, expanded parking lot, and polished con­crete floor. “We made a point to utilize the full CPD process, and the client reaped the benefits of that,” said Moss.