live environment

Coordination of Trades in a Live Pharmaceutical Environment

ADCO’s Lessons Learned

Managing independent contractors who share common goals, but differing processes is a key challenge in any construction or fit out project. Integrating vendors, tracking budgetary concerns, and collaborating with a team of specialists requires careful coordination. This is particularly true in the pharmaceutical industry due to the critical nature of the products, the regulated environments and the increased time-sensitivity of delivery.

The strength of the ADCO teams lies in our proven track record and today we’re going to share three of our most important “lessons learned” to ensure effective and efficient coordination in a live pharmaceutical environment.  


Tip 1: Build in Flexibility (Keep on Moving)

Construction project planning and scheduling is complex. With so many people and moving parts to manage, projects will undoubtedly face unforeseen disruptions for example; adverse weather impacting project deadlines. 

Not every construction project will go according to plan, which is why at ADCO we insist on investing the time at pre-planning stage to formalise a process for dealing with changes as they arise. Our trades teams understand clearly their lines of communication and what their remedy options are. By building this flexibility into projects from the beginning, we create the space needed to turn setbacks into opportunities.

Utilising dedicated construction resource management software (e.g., Procore), allows for tools and personnel to be tracked in real time and ensures we can identify when to pivot as needed. As a coordinator of trades, we are always thinking one step ahead, particularly when it comes to forecasting project delays.


Tip 2: Be Rigorous with Inspections (Keep on Checking)

Even on construction projects that culminate in a client-led inspection, we’ve learned that it’s essential to have your own quality control processes that catch issues before the customer does. Building inspections as a fundamental part of our programme ensures that by the time clients begin their “walk-down” that we’re putting our best foot forward and continuing to maintain their trust. This is a priority for us because maintaining our reputation with clients is the foundation of our success to date.

This of course is particularly important in live pharmaceutical environments. Extremely delicate, sensitive and high priority medicines and processes are taking place right next to construction processes. By initiating our own regular inspections and critically by acting swiftly if needed, we give peace of mind to the client that we are proactively protecting their vital and sensitive workspaces and equipment. 

This also crucially speeds up the client inspection and reduces the snag list. Investing the time consistently on inspections throughout the project results in saving time, money and reputation in the long run. 


Tip 3: Be Brutal with Debriefing (Keep on Learning)

The final “lesson learned” may seem like an odd one considering we are discussing the coordination of live projects, but it would be a mistake to miss it. During the debrief with clients, construction teams, and management personnel we ask everyone to be as brutally honest as possible. 

We push for an open discussion where we can all critically assess how any setbacks were handled and ways to improve on the processes in the future. This open dialogue covers all aspects of the project including the documentation, closing out of the contracts, and other project control processes implemented during construction. 

By delving into the setbacks and problems, and critically by documenting them properly, we have built a library of “lessons-learned”. This library becomes the starting point for our next project and has significantly streamlined our problem-solving. By documenting our project wins and setbacks, everyone in the team can combine their experience. Should any team member leave, their learnings have not left with them. 


Thanks for the tips! Now can you tell me more about ADCO?

ADCO was founded in 2009 to focus on pharmaceutical and medical sector clean rooms and fit outs. Now in 2022, over 80% of our work is from repeat clients including Pfizer, Alexion, Allergan, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Covidien, Leo Pharma, Forest Labs, Mallinckrodt, Biotrin, Astellas and Ipsen.

While our award-winning clean room, shutdowns, upgrades and fit-out work has earned us expert status within the pharmaceutical sector, we also provide new build, fit-out, project and waste management services for the healthcare, commercial, industrial, hospitality, medical and automotive sectors. You can see more of our projects here

Get in touch today to see how we can help you to achieve your vision: 

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