GMC Utilities 3 Update
In February 2020, Baton Rouge Mechanical was awarded the lump sum contract for the General Mechanical Construction (GMC) of the Utilities “UT3” Plant. The UT3 Plant will support several new process units after construction completion of two on-going adjacent chemical process expansion projects as part of the mega expansion in a plastics/chemical facility in Plaquemine, LA. The GMC UT3 Project was executed as a fast track project with an accelerated schedule, which meant construction execution needed to be adjusted as engineering deliverables arrived. Failure to meet the mechanical completion end date would result in a large liquidated damages contract penalty.
Before starting work in March 2020, Cajun assembled an execution team led by Site Manager-Johnny Miller, Pipe Superintendent-Tommy Peak, Steel & Equipment Superintendent-Jeff O’Neal, and Lead Pipe General Foreman-Matt Chaisson. This team supervised a crew of dedicated front-line foremen and quality craftsmen. The support management team included Project Director-Robert Manalli, Project Coordinator/Senior Planner-Drake Blanchard, Project Coordinator/Scheduler-Blake Taylor, Safety Manager-David Seal, and Quality Manager-Dennis Melville, who were later joined by Systems Turnover Lead/Work Package Coordinator-Mary Messina, and Materials Managers-Jeff Hood and Jacob Ponthieux. Upon receiving 30% of the IFC drawings in early March, Senior Estimator-Luke Granier performed a thorough analysis of the bid package until August. This consequently provided a sufficient analysis of the IFC drawings to identify and purchase priority pipe supports and prioritize pipe fabrication. This design, estimating, procure, construct sequence continued until all new IFC and/or major revisions were finally received in September 2020. In conjunction with the compressed schedule, the construction method required us to work in unison with six other contractors with whom Cajun had no contract.
Fortunately, the civil construction, which started in late 2019, was awarded to Baton Rouge Civil (Civil). However, due to significant weather delays at the GMC award and subsequent mechanical construction commencement, the civil work was only 20% complete. The Cajun GMC team (led by Johnny Miller) coordinated daily with Civil (led by Ronald Cottrell) to make schedule adjustments and sequenced the work to open up critical work fronts. Fabrication was sequenced and prioritized to follow the updated path of construction. Specific work areas were coordinated to focus on the overall critical path and reduce cost and schedule impacts to Civil and Mechanical. The owner’s decision to award both civil and mechanical scopes to Cajun saved approximately two months and $1.6MM due to our ability to manage to change priorities internally, thus avoiding mechanical schedule impacts. Amidst months of engineering delays, COVID-19 pandemic, and over 25% engineering changes/additions, we are still on schedule to achieve mechanical completion by the end of January 2021, with overall completion (including paint and insulation) by the end of February 2021.
The project consisted of shop fabrication for all dual laminate/ FRP,carbon, and stainless steel piping, installing all aboveground piping through pipe racks and new process areas, installing all equipment, millwright work along with miscellaneous structural steel structures and finger racks.
This project stands as a testament to Cajun’s ability in the General Contractor role to work across multiple disciplines together. It exemplifies our ability to perform major mechanical projects, safely construct fast-paced large mechanical projects on time and budget, work with owners and engineers to coordinate their design and construction efforts simultaneously, and exhibit quality workmanship while executing various construction disciplines. A job well done to all Cajun employees contributing to this notable display of Cajun culture as competencies work together safely!
Blake McKee | Project Manager
Baton Rouge Mechanical