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Leveraging a multi-faceted approach, JE Dunn addresses delays and budget issues common to Life Sciences construction.

What does it mean to “start from the finish?” JE Dunn uses this phrase to help our clients understand how we keep construction projects on track, both in terms of time and expense. It is also a way for our clients’ projects to move at the “warp speed” that the life sciences marketplace demands today.

Delays and budget issues are unfortunately common in the world of life sciences construction. According to a January 2021 study by Turner & Townsend, approximately 70% of pharmaceutical construction projects exceed their original budget by an average of 15%. In addition, projects were found to overrun their schedule by an average of four months. Overspending and delays are usually due to a failure to accurately anticipate the time and resources needed to complete utility, mechanical, electrical, process piping, and plumbing (MEPP) installations, as well as associated commissioning, qualification, and validation (CQV). 

With JE Dunn, early client collaboration confirms expectations about the final product. By “starting from the finish,” JE Dunn leverages our team of experienced personnel, using proven procedures and a blend of industry standard and proprietary tools, to anticipate, communicate, and deliver to our client’s exacting standards.

This way of working is critically important today. Pharmaceutical projects are moving faster than ever, with tighter tolerances and little room for error. Our approach of starting from the finish, moving at warp speed, is the industry’s expectation.

Consider the following questions:

  1. Did the final project cost exceed the project’s planned capital budget?
  2. Did the initial project schedule not meet expectations?
  3. Did the project operate with complete transparency for safety, quality, cost, and schedule?
  4. Were the system manuals/turnover packages finished in a timely manner?
  5. Did you engage the commissioning agent and construction manager early in the project?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting from the finish:

Have information at your fingertips

When you are working on an accelerated timeline, our proprietary JE Dunn Dashboard is a valuable technological innovation. JE Dunn Dashboard, a web-based user interface for the project, enables clients to view safety, quality, project cost, schedule, Building Information Modeling (BIM) and critical project details in real time…from anywhere. While this innovation is impressive, the procedures in place “under the hood” truly power your project, without shaking apart under the pressure of a very aggressive timeline.

Cost and schedule controls begin with a well-defined process for managing scope, including sequence of approvals, documentation, and schedule impact. Changes can include field value engineering of unnecessary scope, constructability innovation, and risk mitigation items. The key is understanding exactly where the budget and schedule stands at any point.

For a transparent, no-surprises approach, JE Dunn provides continuous cash flow forecasting, synched with an integrated project schedule. Our schedules utilize tools such as Primavera P6 in tandem with Last Planner, TAKT planning, pull planning, and daily coordination, so everyone involved is always on the same page.

Preconstruction and continuous estimating are also essential when starting from the finish. JE Dunn’s preconstruction process utilizes continuous estimating on both JE Dunn Dashboard and our propriety Lens software. This approach invites collaboration through active engagement. For example, constructability reviews can be conducted with field resource integration, identifying opportunities for Lean Construction, prefabrication, and off-site packages. A staffing plan can then begin to tell the story quickly, allowing JE Dunn to leverage our team of construction professionals to plan and execute your project.

Identify potential risks early and be ready with turnover plans
A project’s risk register can identify the level of transparency your project team delivers. Good risk management practices require notes of all known risks to prepare for the future. Examples such as safety/quality, cost, and schedule risks, are identified early, and appropriate solutions developed and communicated.

Where required, well thought out mitigation plans are developed with trade partner collaboration, after discussing potential avenues with the project team. A complete project team includes your construction manager and commissioning agent, to allow collaboration as early as possible.

Early engagement on a commissioning and turnover plan builds a shared expectation of quality regarding project commissioning scope, activities, deliverables, and milestones for operational readiness. Items such as turnover packages and system manuals are socialized among all project stakeholders upfront, agreed to, and memorialized in the commissioning plan and project schedule. 

The increasing demands of life sciences have affected every aspect of the industry, and construction is no exception. To work at warp speed, the entire team needs to move at warp speed as well. And the best way to make that happen is by starting from the finish.