by Jim Alibrandi
In Boston and beyond, life sciences continue to boom, especially as COVID-19 vaccine production ramps up. Whether you’re upgrading a life science facility or building a new one, incorporating the advances made in the electrical industry over the past decade ensures a successful project.
Make Sure your Electrical Contractor is Using the Latest Technology
Software and hardware tools built for the construction industry have advanced considerably in the past few years. If the teams and contractors you are working with aren’t keeping up with the latest technology, your entire project will suffer.
One of the most important tools that has revolutionized the engineering side of construction is building information modeling (BIM) and the use of 3D design and visualization tools. BIM models allow electrical engineers to visualize the complete electrical installation prior to beginning work, allowing for upfront coordination and clash detection of the various service vendors.
One of the cutting-edge tools at our disposal at Interstate is the Trimble system. This advanced suite of hardware and software can map the locations and mark position points for all electrical components including temporary lighting, inwall receptacles, inwall switches, commercial panels, permanent lighting fixtures, transformers and switchgear. This allows for extremely precise installation locations while streamlining the process.
Using state of the art 3D design and visualization software, Interstate’s team of engineers and 3D coordinators work closely with other trades to plan, develop, and finalize the site plans. Interstate was one of the first commercial electrical contractors to fully embrace 3D modeling, a necessary component of the company’s growing prefabrication operations.
Prefabrication is Key for a more Efficient Project Timeline
Life science projects of all sizes can benefit from prefabrication for vital lab components like mobile benches or unique power equipment. At Interstate’s 100,000sf UL-certified Operations Center, our licensed journeyman electricians and assemblers can work hand-in-hand with our in-house project coordinators and detailers in a controlled, efficient environment. The turn coordinated construction drawings into actionable plans for material assembly, testing, and just-in-time delivery of the finished, ready-to-install electrical components & systems directly to the point of installation.
Our detailing team verifies locations and counts for any pre-built units to be used during construction, such as temporary power panels, in-wall rough receptacles and switches, residential and commercial power panels, interior and exterior light fixtures, pre-cut pipe and conduit bent and measured to exact specifications based on the 3D coordinated drawings.
This lean method of construction has many benefits both for the Interstate site team and the other trade teams currently working the job. Delivering ready-to-install assemblies to the point of installation, precisely at the time they are needed, both streamlines the installation process and reduces jobsite clutter. Prefabricated electrical assemblies such as power panels and in-wall rough (outlets and switches) are quality checked by licensed electricians and UL certified before being packaged in reusable crates for delivery to the jobsite.
Jim Alibrandi is president of Interstate Electrical Services Corporation.