Best Industrial

Photo courtesy Merck
Merck challenged the construction team to deliver the facility considerably faster than past company and industry benchmarks.

Merck's vaccine facility in Durham, N.C., was built at a cost of $315 million. Construction included the addition of a 214,000-sq-ft Vaccine Bulk Manufacturing Facility, or VBF, along with infrastructure expansions to Merck's existing material management supply facility (MMSF), energy center and operational support facility office buildings.

Construction began in February of 2009. The VBF, energy center and MMSF buildings were completed and became occupied in March through July of 2010. The LEED-Silver-rated operational support facility office building was the last to become occupied, in October 2010.

At the outset, Merck challenged the project team, led by Jacobs Engineering, to break the industry record for completion of a large-scale vaccine manufacturing facility from “charter” status to “operational qualification” milestone by 16 months, and Merck's best project delivery benchmark for similar facilities by five months. Early analysis gave the project less than a 3% chance of success in meeting the proposed schedule, according to Merck.

To achieve this goal, Merck's Global Engineering Group organized the project as an integrated partnership in a “hyper-tracked” engineer-procure-construction management modular design-build execution. Jacobs performed as the engineering, procurement, CM and modular builder, and delivered the facility on schedule and under budget,

The project, which recorded more than 1.4 million work hours without a lost-time accident, received an Owner's Safety Excellence award from the Construction Users Roundtable.


Owner: Merck, Durham, N.C.

Contractor: Jacobs Field Services North America, Pasadena, Calif.

Architect/Engineer: Jacobs Engineering, Conshohocken, Pa.

Civil Engineer: John R. McAdams Co., Durham, N.C.

Submitted by: Merck