Philip Hilbert, José Pedro Castro, Knut Brunier and Ronny Caduff are currently putting up a temporary laboratory in record time at Zurich’s Campus Irchel. The skills they need in this race against time and why the combination works so well.
“This project is definitely not the right place for people who take a relaxed approach,” says José Pedro Castro. The Project Manager is leading the construction of the technically demanding laboratory building, which is being put up in just 18 months at Zurich’s Campus Irchel. “There is absolutely no slack in the schedule – everyone has to pull together.”
The extremely tight schedule demands maximum coordination between everyone involved. That only works because the team works in an agile way,” emphasises Knut Brunier, Implenia Planning Lead for Overall Performance Competition and Planning. “It also helps that the planning team already knew each other from the project on Empa Campus Dübendorf, so they could hit the ground running.”
Construction manager Philip Hilbert knows that the collaboration works so perfectly because everyone in the team is working towards the same goal. “Sometimes on construction sites, you can see that individuals are only taking care of their own area and ignoring the others,” he says. “In very tightly synchronised phases like we had in February and March, preparation overlaps with planning and execution in this project. That can be very stressful. In those cases, the construction site can only work if everyone keeps the overall project in mind and is tolerant and flexible. And is able to jump in and help when one person has too much to do.” It helps that the team is made up of young, open people who get on well at a personal level and can laugh about the same situations. “Being on the same wavelength brings us together.”
Ronny Caduff, who is responsible for planning and executing the building technology, adds: “As well as working hand in hand with everyone involved on the construction site, intensive exchange with the laboratory planner, the clients and the future users is central for us. A laboratory places especially tough requirements on building technology. Continuously transferring knowledge – for example on weekly site tours with the future users – is the only way to successfully pick up on and implement all requirements.”
José Pedro Castro is confident that the laboratory building will be ready to hand over to its users in September 2022. He does not feel stressed: “I have built supermarkets before, that is much worse. While we’re still building walls, people are already bringing in fish and vegetables for sale,” he laughs.
Temporary laboratory at Campus Irchel in Zurich
The Functional Genomics Center Zurich (FGCZ), a research and training platform run jointly by the University of Zürich (UZH) and ETH Zürich, will offer space for 80 lab staff and scientific equipment on a total area of around 3,000 square metres. For the area outside the laboratories, an innovative office concept that allows different forms of collaboration is planned. The new temporary building is part of the first stage of construction at the campus and, with a lifespan limited to 15 years, is a particular challenge in terms of sustainability.