Brownfield Site Facility Expansion for FDA Compliant Manufacturing

Phased construction to compress schedule by three months.

When American Snuff wanted to convert a recently purchased facility into new processing facilities, SSOE had the EPCM expertise needed to lead the project. With the goal to increase capacity and achieve FDA compliance, a new requirement for its product, SSOE proved key to renovating and expanding the site, largely due to its expertise serving FDA regulated industries and renovating brownfields.

Originally designed in the 1970s by SSOE, the site, previously operated by Union Carbide, produced large carbon electrodes for the steel industry. The brownfield site had been abandoned for eight years, making the conversion challenging. However, SSOE’s extensive cGMP and renovation experience allowed it to accommodate immediate and future manufacturing needs while transforming an idle general manufacturing environment to one that satisfies new FDA regulations for the industry.

SSOE’s scope of services included conceptual planning and budgeting, design, procurement, cost control, scheduling, monitoring and reporting, commissioning, and construction management services.

In an effort to achieve American Snuff’s ambitious schedule, SSOE recommended construction sequencing (phased construction with multiple primes) to compress the project construction schedule by three months. Aggressive cost management and early identification of cost trends put the project on track to be delivered within budget.

Frosting Line Addition: 13-Month Schedule Completed in 10 Months

In addition to moving production forward by 3 months, SSOE utilized an innovative approach to the design of the process waste discharge system. This established a realistic peak flow number which the existing infrastructure could support. The realistic flow saved $700,000 in system cost, labor, and installation time.

When a major food manufacturer sought to add production capacity through the addition of a second Ready-to-Spread (RTS) frosting line, it looked to SSOE to provide the same high quality engineering services it had provided on the original RTS line installation more than 20 years prior. SSOE provided complete EPCM project delivery for the line, from raw ingredients to the finished product warehouse, and repurposed existing warehouse areas. The project was slated for completion in just 13 months.

As an industry leader in design technology, SSOE employed Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) to deliver a construction strategy that pulled critical path activities forward, allowing maximum time for process design.

To allow activities to occur concurrently SSOE utilized a phased construction approach. The prequalification process mandated contractors that have the ability to accept a 3D model, add detail, and trade the model back and forth. This allowed the use of the 3D model as a project delivery tool to drive a higher degree of coordination and project delivery integration.

Liquid process elements were modularized and built in fabrication shops on skids, allowing construction to take place in tandem with facility construction. Construction in this type of controlled environment leads to higher quality and is 30% faster, 30% more cost effective, and 80% safer than traditional construction methods. As the 3D model served as the basis for all reviews, no 2D skid drawings were required. Fabrication-level documents were produced for piping, skids, and structural steel in lieu of design intent documents. As a result, contractor rework and SSOE review of submittals were essentially eliminated, accelerating the schedule.

The ultimate result of this approach was a successfully executed project delivered in just 10 months within the budget allocated for a 13 month schedule. This resulted in an additional 3 months of production—-which translates to millions of dollars in revenue and profit.

Repair Tornado Damage on
Pet Food Warehouse

SSOE took immediate measures to restore the partial function of a warehouse, saving the client the cost of leasing an off-site space.

After a tornado struck a pet food warehouse facility, the client sought SSOE’s construction management expertise to restore and improve the building so on-site storage could be resumed. The immediate first step, installing a temporary roof, and subsequent staging of repairs created sufficient warehouse space to meet the demands of full production months before repairs were completed. This was crucial as there were no nearby temporary storage facilities that could meet the client’s criteria.

Due to suppliers’ inventory reductions, some materials were difficult to obtain. SSOE minimized the resulting schedule delays by relocating the project manager to the site for four weeks, managing the project efficiently, and doubling up efforts to secure equipment and materials.

Returning the warehouse to working order included replacement of 50% of the roof, the entire front of the facility, and the east wall. Damaged roof fans were replaced with wall fans as a precaution against future wind damage. The team replaced windows, gutters, vents, and overhead doors that had been blown out, and realigned 12 supporting concrete columns. SSOE also devised a method for reinforcing concrete columns with steel plates so they could withstand forklift collisions and not be damaged. These new column wraps became the standard for future repairs.