By Adam Palmer, director of operations and project executive at JM Electrical

When tackling construction and building development projects for our many Boston area life sciences and technology clients, time is of the essence. While every company wants their work done on schedule and on budget, firms developing new products, tools, and technologies in this very competitive and quickly evolving sector frequently require expedited construction schedules so that research, development, and manufacturing can move forward without disruption.

Despite the “need for speed,” it is crucial that every aspect of these multifaceted projects be completed accurately and safely. According to the Project Management Institute, there are two approaches to fast-track construction. In one option, work on different phases of the building process (superstructure or exterior walls, for example) gets underway simultaneously, rather than waiting for each step to be finished before beginning the next. Alternatively, construction can begin in stages before the overall design has been finalized. These expedited processes require careful planning and coordination, as mistakes in one area can impact other phases of work, causing costly delays.

At JM Electrical, we recently invested in a warehouse prefabrication facility in Woburn. This move allows us to assemble many of our components offsite, reducing project completion timelines and offering a faster, more efficient assembly process in sync with the site build. In the Boston market this state-of-the-art facility is believed to be the first in its sector, with as much as 50% of all projects benefiting from the services provided at this new facility.

In addition, these fast-paced projects require a team like ours with deep expertise, excellent communication skills, and a willingness to collaborate, which, according to the Construction Industry Institute, is an important best practice. Designers, contractors, and project managers must be aligned with a shared emphasis on clear and frequent communication so that all project partners can execute their work, identify potential trouble spots, and avoid delays. These coordinated efforts help minimize disruption by pinpointing potential problems before negatively impacting the project timeline.

Additionally, as life science buildings require special technology and state-of-the-art equipment (when a building houses a lab space, for instance), plans for those elements must be clearly defined and carefully scheduled. Technical spaces like these often require specialty equipment to be assembled off-site and shipments from suppliers synchronized so that all materials arrive when needed.

Today, Boston’s life science market remains the world’s leader in biomedical and pharmaceutical research, with demand for space continuing to be a high priority. With a steady pipeline of new projects, both major construction and renovations are constantly being proposed with groundbreaking occurring across the region. Given the significance of the work being accomplished at these facilities, there is zero room for error. Whether it is spec developments or outfit projects, with the right advanced planning and the right team in place, even the most complex life sciences assignments can be completed efficiently and successfully.

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