C3 Embraced on MD Anderson Construction Project

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As acting director of the Construction Career Collaborative (C3), I recently talked with Brian Golden of J.T. Vaughn Construction, LLC about one of the first construction projects to be built under C3 principles.  Golden is a project manager for the Zayed Building for Personalized Cancer Care, which upon completion will become the newest cancer research facility in The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  He shared the following conversation with me. –KK

KK:  Please tell me a little about the Zayed Building which you are working on – the size of the project and some of the details about the construction.

BG:  The MD Anderson Zayed Building for Personalized Cancer Care will consist of a 13-story new building in the Texas Medical Center.  The 620,000 square foot structure is split into four towers from level 3 through 13, with levels 1 and 2 making up the “podium” base below the towers.  The building façade consists mainly of a unitized curtain wall system.  Level 1 is clad with cut granite on CMU.  There are also provisions for a canopy at the main entry and sky bridges to a future garage and existing buildings.

How will this building be used?

This new cancer research facility will be the home to two programs:

  • Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy – a comprehensive program designed exclusively to individualize cancer care so that each patient receives treatments that target the genetic and molecular abnormalities in his or her tumor, and
  • Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research – dedicated to accelerating scientific discovery that will make a pivotal impact on pancreatic cancer, one of the most fatal types of cancer, which is rising in incidence yet remains significantly underfunded compared to other disease sites.


The C3 principles are designed to be implemented from the top down.  What made your company decide to talk to the project owner about utilizing C3 practices on this project?

Vaughn approached MD Anderson about implementing C3 on the Zayed project due to the positive impacts that a better-trained and compensated work force can have on a construction project.  MD Anderson welcomed the implementation of the C3 program on the Zayed project and asked if we could implement the program on additional upcoming projects.


How has this project benefited from C3?

To date we have had over 900 craft workers on the project.  By stressing the importance of safety training, over 60% of the craft workers showed up to the project site with at least OSHA 10-hour training.  Vaughn has provided OSHA Focus Four Training to an additional 250 craft workers.  The project has since transitioned to offering the C3 5-Hour Safety Awareness Training, now that it is available.  Trade contractors have reacted positively and are seeing the positive effects of a better-trained workforce.

What, if anything, was difficult about implementing the C3 principles?

The largest obstacle we have encountered thus far is the general lack of knowledge by the trade contractors regarding the C3 program.  After gaining a general understanding and the requirements of the program, the trade contractors have responded positively.

How have the workers responded to the C3 initiative?

Being that the Zayed project started amidst the infancy of the C3 program, our emphasis has been on safety training and ensuring that all craft workers are being paid the correct wage and “by the hour”.  The feedback from the craft workers has been positive.  The craft workers are keenly aware that we, as an industry, care about their well-being and their ability to make an honest living to support their families.  This awareness has shown to produce better safety results and a perceived lower absenteeism on the project site.

Thank you for answering my questions.

You are welcome.

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