Market Spotlight Series: We have a profound responsibility to do what is right for our employees, our communities, and the environment. This means choosing to build spaces that make a positive difference in people’s lives. In our Market Spotlight series, we demonstrate the why behind our areas of expertise.
Environments That Fuel Discovery
What could be more impactful than safely advancing human health and wellness, revolutionizing cancer care, or defeating diseases?
For these reasons and more, construction of life science environments has been key to our work for years, from institutions to private companies and new buildings to tenant improvements.
In this region, life science is typically related to human health—diagnostics, therapeutics, medical instruments, clinical testing, and so on. Its research, innovation, and resulting discoveries drive both social and economic development. GLY is proud to support the inspiring clients and hero employees of this ever-evolving industry, which is critical to our community’s well-being.
Whether treating diabetes, eliminating cancer, or improving nutrition, today’s life science facilities must be ready for an undiscovered future. High performance is essential, as well as the flexibility to accommodate real-time advancement of research and technology. Over the last 25 years, GLY has acquired the unique knowledge base that owners require to help align scientific missions with the built environment—from highly specialized laboratories, vivariums, and clean room spaces to supporting office space, educational auditoriums, and areas for rest and recharging.
Design and programming support for bio-safety level certified laboratories: BSL1, BSL2, BSL3, BSL3+.
Design and programming support for flexible incubator lab spaces catered to life science start-ups.
Evaluation and inclusion of education and meeting spaces that optimize learning and collaboration.
MEPF and associated infrastructure for back-of-house utilities such as high performance ultra-pure water systems.
Vibration mitigation for sensitive operations and equipment such as electron microscopes.
Utility coordination for a variety of process gas equipment, including nitrogen generators, liquid nitrogen, carbon dioxide, argon, oxygen, and others.
Utility coordination for compressed dry air [CDA] and lab vacuum systems.
Buy-out, coordination, and installation of fume hoods and bio-safety cabinets.
Life Science Clients
GLY's dedicated life science team is privileged to partner with leading developers, clients, and designers to deliver award-winning facilities. Our client list includes the notable organizations below—as well as promising confidential start-ups looking to gain traction in the Puget Sound region.
GLY is currently supporting a client in centralizing their lab services dispersed throughout 14 locations in the Puget Sound region into a single five-story building. This intensive 200,000 square foot office-to-lab conversion includes a complete replacement of all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing infrastructure, structural upgrades to support point loads for lab equipment and minimize vibration, and a new freight elevator to support the client's lab activities. With a focus on both today and tomorrow, the design incorporates universal layouts suited for current needs, but flexible enough to accommodate future changes in technology, equipment, and processes.
On the new construction front, we’ve joined forces with HKS Architects + Compton Design Office to support LPC West with its 5th & John development, a new nine-story 60/40 lab + research/office building in Seattle’s Uptown neighborhood.
Also in the works is Vulcan's Block 55, a new 10-story 60/40 lab + research/office building in the heart of South Lake Union, designed by Perkins&Will.
In any construction project, challenges are a given. But life science construction in particular comes with its own set of highly technical complexities. At GLY, life science construction is a core service with dedicated experts who leverage proven processes and advanced tools to help each client and design partner succeed.
In-House Life Science, MEPF, and Commissioning Specialists
We make complicated processes easier. Erik Bedell, P.E. is one of our region's top MEPF experts and Vice President of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of ISPE. Bryce Engen, BCXA CCP is also a mechanical systems guru and devoted to commissioning complex buildings. These two join forces with our life science project managers to analyze system options, streamline design-build team procurement, manage lab equipment, FF&E, and long-lead items, and ensure seamless commissioning—often beyond the traditional contractor role.
Our virtual design + construction [VDC] coordination, led by Director of VDC Trevor Lunde, helps streamline design detailing, cooperatively resolve challenges, and facilitate fast, safe construction. While VDC is woven into the approach of every GLY project, one of our eight Design Engineers or Design Managers often dedicates more time to projects with significant life science components, given the high level of technical complexity and moving parts and pieces.
We investigate every detail in advance, turning over every stone. This means digging into existing conditions and as-builts to identify risks, discrepancies, and opportunities, but also understanding every piece of owner equipment—from MEPF needs down to the specific connection points so we can help ensure perfect alignment with wall penetrations. All of this helps streamline design and construction and provide better outcomes for each client.
Night work, negative air, and using the freight elevator are just the beginning. Are experiments vibration-sensitive, which might require different construction methods? Can MEPF systems be shut down, or do they require 24/7 certainty? What level of clean protocol will be needed? As a devoted life-science team, we love to work through challenges and find ironclad solutions to provide you with the optimal experience during construction—and optimal environment to work in for years to come.
The Greatest Reward
As contractors we have a front row seat to enormous advances in human health—which seem to come ever-faster as each advance builds upon the one that came before it. We can only guess what this means for building needs in the coming years, but it'll be exciting to play a part in it. And we'll be ready.