Government and corrections officials from three Midwestern states gathered recently in Lansing, Michigan to discuss trends related to the funding, design and construction of corrections facilities. The first-ever Tri-State Sheriffs’ Forum, hosted by Granger Construction, welcomed officials from 15 counties in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. In addition to a variety of presentations on the state of corrections construction, the forum also featured Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, who shared results of the state’s evolving Adult and Juvenile Diversion Programs geared towards reducing the state’s inmate population at all levels.

Interested in corrections facility construction? Read on for the top five takeaways from this unique event.

  1. The number of corrections industry suppliers is diminishing at an alarming rate. As a result, counties are encouraged to invest a greater amount of time in their due diligence process and take into consideration potential delays in the delivery of special materials. Delays can significantly impact a project’s cost and schedule.
  2. Collaboration is key. The complexity of delivering jails in today’s marketplace requires extraordinary collaboration between design, construction and supplier partners, as well as team members with specialized corrections industry expertise. It is no longer as easy as engaging the services of local design and general contracting firms.
  3. Building Information Modeling and the effective use of state-of-the-art design and construction technologies are essential. Utilizing the latest technology ensures a complete understanding of a project’s vision in order to deliver it with the least amount of change orders. It’s critically important to identify potential issues well in advance rather than encountering them while the project is underway.
  4. Make annual savings part of the equation. When considering funding a new facility – including the ability to meet annual payments – administrators would be wise to weigh the cost savings a new facility will realize through enhanced efficiencies (such as utilities and staff) and other key factors that will reduce yearly operating expenses.
  5. Consider the advantages of pre-fab. Prefabricated jail modules, including steel cells, are commonly accepted components in today’s corrections industry. The cells are installed faster, more economical, and provide numerous advantages over conventional on-site construction. In addition to cells, numerous other prefabricated jail units are available, including medical treatment rooms and sophisticated elevated command centers.

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