How do you become a laboratory expert?
What brought you to Implenia almost two years ago?
Mainly it was the complex, large-scale specialist projects that Implenia are such experts in. Just building housing for my whole career would not have been my thing. I am open to anything, love trying new things, and prefer tasks that challenge me. I enjoy the variety that comes with the project at Campus Irchel in Zurich, where we are currently putting up a laboratory building. I can learn a huge amount here. And there was something else that attracted me to Implenia: I worked with a previous employer on the Gotthard Base Tunnel, where I came into contact with Implenia staff. I met some great people there, which encouraged me to switch to Implenia.
What is the particular challenge when it comes to constructing a laboratory building?
As well as the FGCZ, I am currently also working on the laboratory building for EMPA – my first experience of this field. What we are planning and implementing in the temporary laboratory here is totally different from conventional residential construction. That goes especially for the execution, which is the responsibility of my colleague Lukas Bürgler, construction manager for building technology. Maximum precision is essential. The various gases used here alone demonstrate the specific requirements. Be it different classes of nitrogen, argon or helium, each medium is transported via a separate line to the laboratory, where it is distributed to the required workspaces via taps. There is also specialist technical laboratory equipment, such as the lab hoods that draw off harmful gases and vapours.
“Transferring knowledge between those involved is enormously important in this project.”
Ronny Caduff, Project Manager Execution Building Technology
How did you learn the ropes in this field?
Transferring knowledge between those involved is enormously important in this project. I discuss intensively and regularly with our laboratory planner, who has enormous experience in this field, and with the clients and future users. We need to meet the requirements of the future laboratory staff. Weekly inspections with the future users are a key instrument in this.
Is the project under particular pressure?
When it comes to quality, the pressure comes from ourselves. Even in a project as complex as this, we set ourselves the standard of delivering top performance! In terms of timing, on the other hand, the pressure comes from outside. We do not have much time to make decisions and clarify points. It is great that the client is quick to make decisions. That allows us to make good progress under this tight schedule – even when unforeseen issues arise, like the extended delivery times we currently face.
“Even in a project as complex as this, we set ourselves the standard of delivering top performance!”
How do you counterbalance your stressful job on the construction site?
I have lived in the Zurich area for almost ten years now, but I still love to return to my home region of Graubünden. I spend a lot of time in the mountains, and especially enjoy cross-country skiing during the winter months.
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.
Client: Construction Department of the Canton of Zurich
Construction volume: approx. 12,500 cubic metres
Teamwork against the clock
“Not even the toilets are standard”
One thing is clear. If a Swiss research institution builds a new campus, no run-of-the-mill applications will be used. On the building site in Dübendorf, Implenia is teaming up with the client, the Eidgenössischen Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt (Empa, or Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) to create innovative solutions. You can read here what this has to do with aspects such as the sanitary facilities, plant fertiliser and pizza as comfort food.