Construction management at-risk is old hat for many contractors, and the use of building information modeling is quickly becoming the same. But on the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Chemical and Material Sciences Building project in Oak Ridge, Tenn., McCarthy Building Cos. and Cannon Design broke new ground for the Dept. of Energy when the team used both processes for the first time on a DOE project.

Photo by Gayle Babcock
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory Chemical and Material Sciences Building in Oak Ridge, Tenn., was recognized as the "Best Higher Education and Research" project in this year's 'Best Projects' contest.

The end result of pushing the government's envelope for building construction methods? The builders delivered the three-story, 160,000-sq-ft research facility six months ahead of schedule with more square footage than originally planned.

Builders used BIM for coordinating MEP systems design and construction; for managing off-site prefabrication of overhead utility corridors; for better safety and quality at a faster pace; and for creating virtual mock-ups.

In its design of the facility—which includes 56 labs and 164 offices—Cannon utilized energy-efficient technologies that had been developed on the ORNL campus, such as a roof-mounted photovoltaic solar array, precast sunshades, light wells and siphonic roof drains.

Reportedly on track to achieve LEED-Gold certification, the project's innovations were recognized with the Secretary's Improvement Award from the DOE.


Key Players

Owner: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Contractor: McCarthy Building Cos, St. Louis

Architect/Engineer: Cannon Design, St. Louis


Submitted by McCarthy Building Cos.