Sometimes you have to just take a chance. That is precisely the mentality taken by one innovative project team working on the largest federal building in New Jersey, using the opportunity to apply a few cutting-edge technologies, devices, and concepts during construction.

Located in the heart of Newark’s civic center, the Peter W. Rodino Federal Office Building is receiving a major upgrade thanks to funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Officially the project team consists of a Tocci/Driscoll, A Joint Venture (a JV between Tocci Building Corporation,, Woburn, Mass., and LF Driscoll Co.,, Bala Cynwyd, Pa., as the design/build contractor; Dattner Architects,, New York, N.Y., as the bridging architect; KlingStubbins,,  Cambridge, Mass., as the architect of record; and Bovis Lend Lease,, New York, N.Y., as construction manager.

Add to that list names like Vela Systems,, Woburn, Mass., and Onuma Inc.,, Pasadena, Calif., and what you have is a definite opportunity for innovation.

Upgrades to the 43-year old building include the construction of a new glass curtain wall over the existing precast facade, renovation of the interior offices spaces, and full asbestos abatement for the building.

On its blog Cool Calm Constructed, Tocci says the project has been selected as one of the GSA FM BIM Pilot projects, a program that is leading the way in the integration of FM (facility management) and BIM (building information modeling). The Tocci/Driscoll team has been working with Onuma and GSA Region 2,, to define goals for the project, one of which is the scope of work that includes integrating BIM and CMMS using COBIE data structure, bar-coding and QR-coding of equipment.

Let’s break that down a bit. Perhaps you know QR coding by the square pattern designs with white backgrounds you see in the corner of magazine advertisements, for example. It is a two-dimensional code that can be read by specific readers or camera phones–the latter being the reason why you see them on such things as magazine advertisements. COBIE stands for construction operations building information exchange and is the approach to structure data as it is being created during design, construction, and commissioning.

The role of Vela Systems is to implement the bar-coding and QR-coding and support the organization of data. This data will be validated using Onuma’s custom Web-based BIM planning, programming, and project system.

The innovative nature of this project will extend out to the field workers too. According to Tocci, the project team plans to use iPads with Bluetooth bar-coded readers for purposes of implementing and using the bar-coding system.

Proving the team is very forward-facing too, Tocci says the plan is to use QR-codes in addition to bar-codes in anticipation that technology will improve and evolve as the construction phase of the project progresses. It’s safe to say this project team has an eye on the future when it comes to project tools and technologies.