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Fast-Track Construction

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Magazine Dated: April 2003 Pages: 104-107
Emily Waltz; Mike Montgomery
Date Published
April 2003
4 pages
This article discusses the costs and benefits of fast-track construction, especially as it relates to correctional facilities.
Meeting increased correctional capacity needs with tight budgets can prove trying. The problem of tight budgets is often coupled with the lengthy amount of time it typically takes to build a new correctional institution. It can take up to 2 years to construct a jail that is needed to house inmates who are being crowded into older facilities. Fast-track construction can alleviate this problem by constructing a jail in approximately half the time it takes to construct a building with traditional construction methods. The authors explain the method of fast-track construction and show how this method may be preferable when time and resources are an issue. Fast-track construction involves a collaborative process in which the architect, the contractor, and the client work together throughout the process to design the building as it is being constructed. Typically, a contractor would not see the plans an architect has put together until the plans are complete, holding up construction for plan amendments and changes. In fast-track construction, each member of the team is involved in every phase of the operation and construction generally gets underway before the plans are even complete. This saves time and money because resources are not wasted and construction begins right away. Opponents of fast-track construction point out that beginning construction before plans are complete may lead to problems later in the construction phase. The authors offer several examples of correctional facilities that were built quickly using fast-track construction methods, including the Florence Correctional Center and the Idaho State Penitentiary. The authors point out that with State budget crises, inmate crowding, and dilapidated facilities, fast-track construction is becoming a necessity.