Technology and Engineering Development Facility

Technology & Engineering Development Facility
September 25, 2013

A week ago, the Office of Project Assessment held a review of the TEDF (Technology and Engineering Development Facility). It was a CD-4(B) review. Formally called “Ready for Operations,” this review and its successful completion is broadly recognized as marking the end of the project; just a few items on a punch list and the dedication (on Oct. 16) are left to do.

Indeed, successful is the appropriate word; the review team even spoke of the possibility that the project compete for a “project of the year” award within the Department of Energy. To get to this point, from conception to approval to construction and to completion involved a large number of people at the lab, in part, because we tried to maintain some level of operation in facilities that were being upgraded. “It was like trying to change a wheel on a car while you’re travelling at 40 miles an hour and your sitting in the car!” was a comment from Rusty Sprouse.

Rusty was one of the people I interviewed to get their perspective on the project; Andrew Hutton (Accelerator AD), Mike Dallas (Chief Operating Officer) and Rick Korynta (Federal Project Director) were the others I talked to.

“How did it all start?” was a question I asked all of them. From Andrew’s point of view, they were looking to upgrade the space since about 2000, but only succeeded in building inside the Test Lab and moving light operations to mezzanine-type structures. Then, Mike suggested that they combine multiple requests for $10M add-ons into a single, larger request on the thesis that if you don’t succeed with a small request, you should increase it. Rusty’s memory starts in 2003 or 2004 with a request from Engineering to have a facility near the Canon Boulevard end of the accelerator site, and Physics wanting something at the other end and Accelerator wanting to renovate the Test Lab. Rick recalls that Ray Orbach, then head of the Office of Science and undersecretary, was pushing George Malosh to create an infrastructure program that they could take to Congress. In 2006, Mike heard a request from Malosh to come up with the components of the program, which resulted in a request for several billion dollars when the druthers of all the labs were collected. It was in this phase that the combined TEDF project was hatched and successfully pitched. The Jefferson Lab project was one of the first in the Science Lab Infrastructure (SLI) program, and the project received “Mission Need: CD-0” in 2007.

The SLI program is interesting in itself. Its scale is a couple hundred million dollars a year. That makes its budget something like the size of one of the smaller science program budgets, so quite visible. But when the science lab directors had a discussion of the need three or four years ago, every one of the 10 spoke in favor.

For TEDF, CD-0 was a start; progression to CD-1 happened in 2008, CD-2 in 2009 and CD-3 in two phases in 2010, when the actual construction began. The approach taken was to use a Construction Management General Contractor. This minimized the number of lab staff actually on the project, but also placed an emphasis on the liaison between the customers and the project.

In fact, the need for the participation of the customers (in the definition of the project) was recognized at an early stage; Charlie Reece, for example, is one cited as having played a big role in the layout, and, of course, the laboratory project managers, Keith Royston and then Rebecca Yasky were in the mix. But all involved would say that the actual implementation of the project in these circumstances was the trick and took much more effort than foreseen. For a significant fraction of the project, either the project or the superconducting radiofrequency (SRF) team were working swing shifts to reduce the conflicts and to keep things moving. A “deconfliction” meeting was instituted; for this to work a high degree of cooperation and understanding was needed. Each component had major external and internal pressures on their schedules, including those coming from the 12 GeV Upgrade Project. A measure of the success of these efforts is that, while I was aware of many of the weekly issues, I do not recall any needing to make a Solomonic decision to cut the baby.

The deconfliction meeting made it to a list of the items that constituted success for the project. That list included staying within cost and schedule and, in fact, proactive management of the contractor schedule. Several mentioned that having a responsive contractor, M.A. Mortenson Co., was a key item. (Just recently, Mr. Mortenson, the owner of the company, visited and we gave him a tour of the lab; his evident enthusiasm for what he saw belied his years.) Finally, the safety record of the project turned out to be very good. There was one instance of an injury, which led to a worker needing time off; that is one DART (Days Away, Restricted and Transferred) case in the three-year construction phase, significantly better than the industry standard.

As a final note, not forgetting the stimulus funding that helped substantially, it was remarked by Joe McBrearty, who took George Malosh’s position as the senior operations person in the Office of Science, that with the project, we have succeeded in transforming the laboratory and introducing a campus-like feel.

Over the past couple of months, it has been a real pleasure to hear members of our team showing off the new facilities. The people who made it happen and, indeed, the whole lab should be proud of the TEDF project.