A high-tech design center was built in Miami using design-build and lean construction methods. The Royal Caribbean’s new Innovation Lab (RCL) will be the perfect space for employees to design new cruise ships. The lab is equipped with a three-story virtual-reality cave with projectors positioned around a glass platform which will immerse team members in a 3D environment.

For a project that would typically require an 18-month construction schedule, the innovation lab was built in 10 months, from design to occupancy. The lean process was set up into two parts: preconstruction and construction. There were daily meetings to chart out everyone’s responsibilities and to determine constraints.

“If the architect needed to design elements of the building, then we’d figure out how much time and information they’d need,” says Brett Leven from Turner Construction. The contractor was working preconstruction with design, and getting subcontractors onboard to do design-assist with architecture firm Leo A Daly.

The building was set into two pieces, so the contractor could figure out what to do first in order to get the architect going. Precast allowed the team to start with the shop drawings while the slab-on-grade foundations were being built. The precast panels were erected as they arrived onsite. The 20-foot0-tall precast panels were mounted to the building’s steel frame, and weighed up to 27,000 pounds.

Precast concrete was used for its aesthetics, speed of construction, and durability. Steel components accelerated the project schedule as well. Durability was a key concern due to the lab’s location in the salt-water environment of Port of Miami. The 20,000-square-foot building was completed in February 2017.

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