NIA Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias Temporary Research Facility

Bethesda, Md.

Award of Merit

Submitted By: Hensel Phelps

Owner: National Institutes of Health

Lead Designer: ZGF Architects

General Contractor: Hensel Phelps

Civil Engineer: Langan Engineering

Structural Engineer: R&S Tavares

MEP Engineer: CFR Engineering

The project provides research space for the National Institute on Aging. The design included single-story modular construction with open concept labs to reduce costs and maximize available space on the $33.7-million project. Mechanical units were placed on the roof, opening up space in the 24,000-sq-ft facility for biosafety Level 2 laboratories, support areas, a break room, breakout areas, huddle spaces, conference rooms and offices.

In order to prevent disruptions to research, the construction team worked with the NIA to schedule the sequencing of moving into the structure, which had to be perfectly timed to minimize the shutdown of robotics used in research. There were also myriad safety initiatives, including a CARES committee that met regularly to discuss jobsite safety, with committee members given special vests so they could be recognized by the tradespeople on site. Committee members were tasked with listening to safety concerns raised by their fellow employees—and not just alerting project management staff—in order to keep attention focused on the issues until they were resolved. Each month, a different worker was recognized for his or her contributions to safety on the project.

Careful planning also went into the logistics of delivering the modular units to the highly secure federal research complex. The units were limited in size to prevent the need for road closures, and deliveries were scheduled for non-peak traffic hours.