Case Studies

Connolly Brothers Inc.

As the firm builds a new HQ for HighRes Biosolutions, the clock is ticking

Connolly Brothers Inc. has nine months to build a giant.

In May 2016, the construction management firm broke ground on a huge 80,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing facility for HighRes Biosolutions, a company that makes medical robotics for biotech, pharmaceutical and academic research laboratories.

The new facility was originally scheduled to be up and running by June 2017, but to accommodate the changing needs of its client, Connolly Brothers accelerated construction to be finished in February.

Connolly Brothers Inc.

According to Jay Connolly, vice president of Connolly Brothers, this date isn’t a suggestion, but a firm deadline.

HighRes had outgrown its current facility and had to be moved as soon as possible to keep up with its manufacturing demands.

Even with this added pressure, Connolly says his one-stop, design-build firm has never doubted they would be able to deliver the building on time.

In part, that’s because the company owned the land for the new headquarters and has acted as the developer for the project which has streamlined the process. It also used its team of in-house architects to design the new space, hired all the consulting engineers necessary, and is currently overseeing the construction phase.

Over 100 years of Connolly

Located in Beverly, Massachusetts, Connolly Brothers has used this methodology to complete ground-up construction and renovations for commercial and industrial projects throughout the state.

Connolly says the company will usually have six to 10 projects happening at one time. For instance, while the company was designing the HighRes headquarters, it was also renovating a large bakery in Medford, Massachusetts, into a sausage manufacturing plant. The company has also used its design-build method to build indoor sports facilities, car dealerships, office buildings even doctors’ offices.

Connolly Brothers was founded in 1880 as a general construction contractor and has been family-run ever since. Jay Connolly says it “blows people’s minds” when they hear he is the fifth generation of leadership.

“For me, it’s really special to be a part of company that has been around this long,” he says.

Connolly Brothers has lasted through the Great Depression, two world wars, a recession and the many transitions and changes of the construction industry. Since the 1970s, the company has focused on commercial and industrial projects that range from small single businesses to 100,000-square-foot office buildings.

Streamline design to construction

For the HighRes headquarters, Connolly Brothers used its experience building manufacturing facilities to help with the design.

Connolly says that in the construction industry, the term “design-build” can sometimes have a broad definition. For instance, some construction managers say they do design-build because they have an existing relationship with an outside architecture firm.

“But we have a full design department here in our office with registered architects and draft people,” he says.

This design department worked alongside HighRes to create a layout that would fit the company’s needs.

With the February deadline impending, both client and builder knew there would no time to change their minds once the design was approved, so every detail from the color of the paint in the offices to the type of tile in the lobby was meticulously planned.

Connolly also says having an in-house design team improves communication between the different departments of his company.

“We were able to have full control over the design process from the very beginning so we can avoid creating architectural details or mechanical design that we know might look good on paper, but would not be feasible to build in the field,” he says.

For instance, manufacturing spaces, like the HighRes one, are required to have a certain amount of ceiling clearance. During the design process, Connolly Brothers knew how to coordinate mechanical systems and duct work to not interfere with that requirement.

The company was also able to introduce HighRes to new design elements, such as using a polished concrete floor in the manufacturing space.

Even with the time crunch, Connolly says projects, like the HighRes headquarters, are special because it’s not every day his company gets to create something out of nothing.

“This whole thing has been on an extremely fast tracked schedule, but it’s something that having everything in-house allows us to do,” he says.

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Spring 2018



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