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Working in an organisation from Start Up Phase

Tom Gorton our consultant managing the role
Posted by Tom Gorton
Published on 28 June 2021

If an organisation decides they want to build new manufacturing facilities, they need a Start Up project team assembled. This team of professionals help to bring a new facility to life, and the pioneering work they deliver can bring patients closer to life-changing drugs, including biologics - of which there are around 350 on the biopharmaceutical market.

So what creates the demand for a Start Up project? The projects, also known as Capital projects, often begin either when there is an uptick in the demand for a certain drug or when a facility begins to run out of manufacturing space. Each project will vary in length depending on size - and whether it's a brand new facility build or an extension to an existing one - but will typically span between two and five years.

Read on to learn about the professionals involved in the various stages of a Start Up project.

The seven stages of a Start Up project

  1. The conceptual stage – a pharmaceutical company will create the first concept for a facility they want to build.
  2. Basis of design/basic design – at this stage, the pharma company will take the initial idea and build upon it. The ideas start to come to life and the drafts are created.
  3. Detailed design – as the name would suggest, more details are added to the concept, and this is the final stage of design where the idea comes together.
  4. Construction and execution- now the design is ready to be built. Various pieces of equipment are needed at this stage.
  5. Mechanical completion – all fabrication is done on the physical building. More new equipment is brought in, and by this point, the pipework and electrical will be done.
  6. Installation - the focus shifts to the installation of the equipment.
  7. CQV - any new equipment, even something as basic as an air conditioning system, needs to go through the commissioning, qualification and validation (CQV) process.

How we staff Start Up Phase projects at Quanta

Pharmaceutical companies - whether they specialise in biologics, research and development, or generics - require an external team to manage the design and structure of their facilities. Typically, organisations won't have this team readily assembled as their attention is focused on manufacturing rather than design and construction. This is where Quanta comes in.

Our CapEx (capital expenditures) team will build the teams that manage the stages from concept to when they hand over to the internal team, following which point Quanta are also able to offer skilled consultants to support the sustaining operations. This means we'll often hire contractors who will support existing teams. We help our clients with the day-to-day tasks around equipment and manufacturing of the drugs, ensuring everything is moving forward.

During the design phase, the focus is on recruiting a project services team - project services manager, project planner, project scheduler, cost controller, cost engineer, procurement manager and contract manager. As the project progresses, new teams are built. Next, the attention shifts to engineering management - the team that acts in technical capacity across the project. They work around specific design disciplines, such as CAD, BIM.

CQV is a big area of business here at Quanta. In fact, we have the strongest network of personnel within CQV. For the final stage of the Start Up project, we can build a team of CSV engineers, validation engineers, process engineers and EHS specialists, who focus on the performance of equipment and ensure that it adheres to standards and tests.

Greenfield projects

It's an exciting prospect to be a part of a greenfield project. Much of the project team are involved right from the beginning. Being an entirely new design, greenfield projects have fewer constraints and obstacles to navigate. Members of the core project are afforded the opportunity to put brand new processes in place and bring in new equipment for the first time.

Not only is it pioneering work, but the fast-paced nature also makes working at these facilities challenging and exciting. What’s more, greenfield projects are springing up in life sciences hotspots around the globe, from the US and Denmark to Switzerland and Singapore.

Explore careers at Quanta

If you're looking to take your next career move then what are you waiting for? We're always on the hunt for professionals with experience at every stage of a Start Up project, including, project management, engineering/automation, construction, CQV, QA and operational readiness. Browse our latest Capital / Start Up project jobs and get your application started.