Invitae – East Coast Laboratory and Production Facility

Morrisville, N.C.

Best Project, Renovation/Restoration and Best Project, Excellence in Safety

Submitted By: 35 North

Owner: Invitae

Lead Design Firm: Hanbury

General Contractor: 35 North; BE&K Building Group

Civil Engineer: Kimley-Horn

Structural Engineer: Bennett & Pless

MEP Engineer: RMF Engineering

Architect: Gensler

Workplaces are changing, and in the case of medical genetic testing company Invitae, that meant taking 125,000 sq ft of a former outlet mall built in 1981 and transforming it into an advanced, high-performance laboratory and office space.

The space is now the company’s East Coast headquarters after eight months of work from design-builder 35 North, which included Rolls Royce generators, and dedicated outdoor air system which had to be flown in via helicopter due to the close proximity of the Raleigh-Durham Airport.

The project breathed new life into a once-busy facility, and brought it into the 21st century with a commitment to innovation, the community and the environment, seeking LEED Silver certification and implementing numerous sustainable initiatives.

Invitae’s new headquarters also won ENR Southeast’s Excellence in Safety award, logging 196,520 work hours with no lost-time incidents, recordables or COVID-19 cases.

Invitae – East Coast Laboratory and Production Facility

Photo courtesy Stanley Capps

Crews with 35 North and BE&K Building Group transformed the 125,000-sq-ft former outlet mall into a high-performance laboratory and office space. The project also received a top nod as Best Project in the Renovation/Restoration category.

In its application, the project team says that in addition to standard pre-mobilization tasks, site safety procedure manuals and drug screen verifications, each subcontractor was required to complete a task hazard analysis for every task each day that included detailed descriptions of the subcontractors’ planned work. Safety Manager for Gray, Joshua Bullock, who assisted with this year’s safety judging, says that’s no small thing.

Invitae – East Coast Laboratory and Production Facility

Photo courtesy Stanley Capps

“The task hazard analysis was a big one,” he says. “The safety observations each day – usually that’s done through your auditing systems.”

The team's attention to identifying at-risk behaviors and conditions stood out to Bullock as a safety professional, he says.

Invitae – East Coast Laboratory and Production Facility

Photo courtesy Stanley Capps

The application notes that ongoing safety observations were performed throughout each day by project and subcontractor ream members to identify those at-risk and safe behaviors and conditions, correcting at-risk behaviors and rewarding safe behaviors.

“I think that they hit on a lot of the things that I would expect to see from a safety standpoint,” Bullock says.

The project team also relied on helicopter transport of dedicated outside air system units on the facility roof due to the site’s proximity to the Raleigh airport.