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  • Walt Cichonski, LF Driscoll

In-house engineering: A key to successful construction

For many in the building industry, distinct lines separate the roles across the project team: architects design the building, engineers design the building systems and contractors build it all. But what if those lines are blurred, particularly when it comes to construction?

LF Driscoll has an in-house engineering team for just that reason—to take advantage of the efficiencies that come from having experts at every level of a project working collaboratively from the beginning. The LF Driscoll team of experts is focused on mechanical/electrical preconstruction and construction, quality assurance and control, the building envelope and building life safety. This team acts as an on-call service group that works with the design and operations teams to guide and formalize the quality of details between construction materials so that our clients can rely upon a quality product at delivery time.

Design drawings and specifications sometimes lack the detail to allow for full construction, which leaves a tremendous amount of interpretation to the construction team. That’s where an in-house engineering department comes in. From preconstruction through construction, the engineering staff ensures that each project is built not only in accordance with the design document’s intent, but also with professional oversight. They understand the most current industry standards and construction practices and can apply those, as well as draw upon lessons learned from past experiences.

At LF Driscoll, the engineering department is led by professionals from varying backgrounds, from mechanical engineers and trained architects, to carpenters and pipefitters, to technology gurus. This combined team understands the aesthetic needs of design as well as the practical need for functionality at an effective price. They have helped put our company at the leading edge of virtual construction, using integrated design coordination (IDC) to model the architect’s design in a coordinated, buildable form using the same software that the respective subcontracting trades use, with the designer’s full engagement and oversite, very early on in a project.

Having in-house engineers not only “on staff” but as an integral part of our construction process has had a tremendous impact on the communication, coordination, speed and quality of our work. It is one of the factors that has helped us build some of the Mid-Atlantic’s most notable and complex new buildings, from the Comcast Technology Center, the Barnes Museum and the new LDS Philadelphia Temple to major healthcare facilities for Penn Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Reading Health and Meridian Health.

We are committed to excellence in everything we do and continue to build on our legacy of serving clients throughout the region since 1929.

Walt Cichonski is director of engineering at LF Driscoll.

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