DPR Comes Full Circle for Isis Pharmaceuticals, Completes New Headquarters and R&D Campus
Several years and more than 1,300 projects after building a 29,500-sq.-ft. good manufacturing practices (GMP) facility for Isis Pharmaceuticals in Carlsbad, CA—one of its very first projects in the region—DPR’s San Diego office has come full circle. Last July, it successfully completed a second, and substantially larger, project for Isis, a new $49 million, 175,000-sq.-ft. corporate headquarters and research and development (R&D) campus.
Customer: BioMed Realty Trust, Inc. is an entrepreneurial company focused on Providing of Real Estate for the Life Science Industry®. With more than $4.2 billion invested in state-of-the-art research facilities, BioMed has assembled a premier portfolio of life science buildings in the U.S., which support the world’s most transformational research.
End User: Isis is exploiting its leadership position in antisense technology to discover and develop novel drugs for its product pipeline and for its partners. Isis’ broad pipeline consists of 25 drugs to treat a wide variety of diseases with an emphasis on cardiovascular, metabolic and severe and rare/neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.
Project: Isis Pharmaceuticals Corporate Headquarters and R&D Campus
Construction Manager: Project Management Advisor (PMA)
- The project broke ground in June 2010 with a schedule of just 13 months to deliver the facility, from groundbreaking to project turnover.
- More than 280,000 worker hours were completed with zero injuries.
- The project was completed three days ahead of schedule and finished under budget.
When DPR was awarded the project in November 2009 as a design-assist contractor, the site had not been nailed down and the design was still conceptual, but Isis and BioMed Realty Trust, Inc. needed a contractor that could move forward quickly. The addition of DPR rounded out the team, which consisted of construction manager, Project Management Advisor (PMA), and architect, DGA—both firms that DPR had collaborated with numerous times before. From the outset, it was “pedal to the metal” according to DPR Project Manager Ross Brown, beginning with a highly accelerated preconstruction period that included selection of a 12-acre greenfield site in a new business park in Carlsbad. The team held three days of design charrettes to bring together all the key decision makers to hammer out a plan for the design and move forward with construction.
DPR broke ground in June 2010 with a schedule of just 13 months to deliver the facility, from groundbreaking to project turnover. Brown noted that the schedule was very aggressive for a project of its size, and it did not take into account that San Diego would face one of its stormiest winters in recent history that year. Still, each of the team members brought a “can-do” attitude and determination to achieve the project goals. The project ultimately was completed on the original date established prior to breaking ground.
“We had a great design team out there and a strong relationship already established,” said Brown. “We worked hand-in-hand with the architect and with PMA from the second we got out there to make sure that we were building the best possible project, and they made sure we were getting the answers that we needed in a timely fashion. We had all signed up for a very difficult project with a very tight budget and tight schedule. It helped us get started on the right foot.”
Due to the highly accelerated schedule, DPR was essentially building out the interiors and shell simultaneously, which proved to be challenging when a major rainstorm hit. However, the team pushed through, employing a variety of tools to keep the project on track. According to Brown, the use of building information modeling (BIM) “paid huge dividends.” “Utilizing BIM technology greatly reduced the amount of coordination issues encountered in the field and helped the project stay on schedule,” he said.
With some 350 workers from 30 trades on site at peak, coordination and safety were paramount. In the end, more than 280,000 worker hours were completed with zero injuries. DPR handed over the keys to the owner three days ahead of schedule and finished under budget with significant savings for the client.
“Collaboration and cooperation were keys to the success on this project,” Brown added. “It was definitely a team effort; this was one project that took every bit of everyone’s will to make it happen.”