The Celgene Project - Making the Impossible, Possible

Don Holden, Sr. Electrical Designer, CRB Engineers
Keith Higgins, Mechanical Engineer, CRB Engineers

The Celgene Lab project presented a number of challenges from the outset. The first was to find a suitable site. So a three month site selection was performed. A suitable site was selected but it drastically cut into the already extremely aggressive design schedule, reducing it to 3 months. Three month's was for the complete design for 127,000 sq ft of Tissue Culture, Chemistry and Biology labs, Vivarium and office space on two floors. But about half way through design the decision was made to add an additional 19,000 sq. ft. as well as raise the total number of fume hoods to 67. The challenges continued when the building owner could only provide 500 of the 1300 tons of chilled water necessary and could not provide the required electrical power. The construction schedule was also reduced to 9 months, in an existing facility.

The goal was still to provide an energy efficient/sustainable design that was to achieve a minimum of LEED silver and stay within the budget and project time frame. To accomplish this we designed an advanced lighting control system that controlled lights by monitoring motion and daylight. At the same time and unoccupied LAB sent a signal to the BMS system to reduce the air change rates.

If the design was aggressive, the construction schedule seemed impossible. To support the schedule the design utilized the Revit platform to minimize conflicts in the field. The result was a project that only had 6 Engineering change notices, was completed on time and within budget. The entire project was only possible by total teamwork from the Owner, Architect, Engineer and Contractor.


Don Holden is an Associate, Certified Project Manager, and Senior Electrical Specialist at Clark, Richardson and Biskup Consulting Engineers. Don has been in the Electrical Engineering field for over 30 years. Don worked 16 years in Clark, Richardson and Biskup Engineer's Kansas City office where he was team leader and Project Manager for the Institutional and Laboratory Division before moving to the San Diego area in 2002. Don has worked on a variety of projects with a concentration on the Laboratory/Life Sciences field. In 2000 Don served as the IES President for the Heart of America section and in 2099 he was the San Diego chapter President of the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers.

Keith Higgins, PE has been a Mechanical Engineer, and LEED, AP at Clark, Richardson and Biskup Consulting Engineers for over 7 years. Keith has worked on a variety of projects with a concentration on the Laboratory/Life Sciences, vivarium, pharmaceutical and biotechnology projects. Keith was the lead mechanical engineer for the Celgene project.


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