22 July 2011 // Thoughts

16 Stages of Project Development: Fabrication and Installation

Stages 12 & 13 – Production, Fabrication, Installation and Testing

Greetings, readers!

In this post, we’ll be continuing our 16 Stages of Project Development. But before we begin, let’s take a look at what we’ve done so far:

Phase 1: The Dreaming Period
Stage 0 – What is “it”?
Stage 1 – Zoning: will the community let you build it?
Stage 2 – Government Approvals: will the local authorities let you build it?
Stage 3 – Environmental Impact: what will it do to the surrounding area?
Stage 4 – Financing: can you pay for it?
Stage 5 – Feasibility Analysis: if you build it, will they come?

Phase 2: The Designing Period
Stage 6 – Master Planning and Programming: developing your scope and setting your criteria for success
Stage 7 – Preliminary Concept Design: developing your preliminary concept designs and addressing economic and operational guidelines
Stage 8 – Final Concept Design: completing your master plan
Stage 9 – Schematic Design: defining component elements and preparing cost estimates
Stage 10 – Detail Design: describing the project in fullest detail
Stage 11 – Production and Fabrication Documents: developing construction bid documents, tendering to sub-contractors and negotiating contracts

We now move into Phase 3: The Doing Period, which begins with Stage 12 – Production and Fabrication. In this stage, coordination is critical between JRA’s design and project team, the fabricators, the general contractor, and the specialty subcontractors (audio-visual hardware, rides, media and lighting). Close adherence must be paid to the schedule and the budget so that neither deviates from its intended target.

Depending on the scale of the project, prototyping is likely to occur at this stage. These prototypes can range from small-scale models to full-scale mock-ups of critical and/or complicated components. For children’s museums, interactives are often “kid-tested” to make sure they properly engage the project’s little visitors. For theme park projects, rides undergo vigorous testing and approvals by various engineering authorities. Once the prototypes are approved by JRA and you, the exhibits, rides and/or attractions then move to fabrication.

Media production also takes place during this stage, beginning with appointment of the producer and proceeding through storyboarding, pre-vis, production and post-production. We’ll cover this process in greater detail in a future JRA Insights post.

The fabrication, AV, ride, lighting and media components are usually constructed off-site, so they will need to be shipped to the project location. Depending on where your project is located, it could take anywhere from 2-8 weeks to ship the items and clear them through customs. Before they can be installed into your facility (Stage 13), the bulk of the building works (structural, mechanical and electrical) must be complete. At the very least, the site will need to be climate and humidity controlled, dust-free and have clean power (i.e., a continuous power stream isolated from the building’s power supply) so that electrical equipment can properly function. JRA’s project manager will provide on-site supervision during the installation, testing and commissioning processes, and JRA’s art director will ensure that the design integrity is maintained through fabrication, installation and opening.

So, your various components have been fabricated, shipped, cleared through customs and installed in your exhibit-ready building. Congratulations! You have now completed the Doing Period. Now begins Phase 4: The Done Period(!), where JRA and the various producers introduce your operational staff to the project. Once your staff is ready, you’ll conduct a soft opening to work out the kinks before unveiling your finished museum or attraction to the public (and the media). That’s up next!