The team’s technical know-how, along with collaboration and transparency, were crucial in completing the 430,000-sq.-ft. project. Photo by David Robinson Photography.

Technical Expertise Soars on Project for Gulfstream

When the newly minted affiliation of DPR Hardin competed for Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation’s coveted new manufacturing project in Savannah, GA, it wasn’t deep aerospace experience that ultimately won the job. It was DPR Hardin’s solid technical expertise.

Process-driven, MEP-intensive, technically complex projects, like the data centers and microchip/wafer plants that DPR is known for, offer clear parallels to aerospace manufacturing projects. The team’s technical know-how, along with collaboration and transparency, were crucial in completing the 430,000-sq.-ft. project.

Team Players

CUSTOMER: Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation designs, develops and manufactures the world’s most technologically advanced business-jet aircraft. Gulfstream has produced more than 2,200 aircraft for customers since 1958.

ARCHITECT: Shlemmer Algaze Associates

PROJECT MANAGER: Orr Partners

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The 430,000-sq.-ft. project was built to meet the manufacturing needs for their new family of business jets: the Gulfstream G500 and G600.
  • The facility sits on a 3-ft.-thick platform and nearly 5,000 controlled modulus columns, akin to a “floating bed” to support the foundation.
  • Infrastructure systems in the manufacturing floor include proprietary fuel and hydraulic fluid testing systems, two 3,600 CFM compressed air units, a drying system, and extensive power and data systems.
PROVEN EXPERIENCE

The opportunity to compete for the project in early 2012 arose from DPR’s long-standing relationship with project developer, Orr Partners. DPR successfully completed several projects for Orr in the Washington, DC, and Rockville, MD, regions, including a renovation of the Democratic National Committee headquarters and a 157,000-sq.-ft. research facility consolidation for U.S. Pharmacopeia.

“We were very excited about the opportunity, and ultimately, I think it was our collaborative project approach that really helped win us the job,” said Darryl Strunk of DPR Hardin’s Atlanta office, who served as project executive.

Gulfstream had two representatives on site to help facilitate rapid decision-making. “They provided quick direction, as well as passed on lessons learned from previous projects,” said DPR Hardin’s Lance Wafler, who served as senior superintendent. “That type of collaboration was key.”

Strunk also pointed out that another factor was a full understanding of the difficult site conditions.

UNIQUE FOUNDATION SYSTEM

Though not exactly a swamp, the soil on which this particular building is located provided little hard surface to bury the foundations. The solution: Install nearly 5,000 controlled modulus columns (CMCs), each ranging from 40 to 60 feet deep. A 3-ft.-thick stone load transfer platform was then built on top of the CMCs, creating a stable foundation to support the building structure.

CMCs are semi-rigid cement inclusions installed using a displacement auger, reinforcing the existing soil rather than functioning as distinct structural elements or piles. “The improved ground has increased stiffness and therefore improved settlement and bearing characteristics,” Strunk said. “This system definitely added a layer of complexity.”

NO ORDINARY MANUFACTURING SPACE

Once the foundation was set, the team moved on to deliver a facility that is a study in aviation innovation.

Designed to accommodate several full-size jetliners at a time, the facility has approximately 4,500 linear ft. of stainless steel trenches lining the manufacturing floor, which house a complex web of infrastructure systems, some with tolerances within eighths of an inch. They include proprietary fuel and hydraulic fluid testing systems, two 3,600 cubic feet per minute (CFM) compressed air units, a drying system, and extensive power and data systems.

‘AIR ON’ EARLY

Another challenge was accommodating the arrival and installation of equipment. One particular piece of equipment was scheduled for delivery and installation during construction. To protect the equipment, conditioned air and other environmental systems had to be fully functioning.

“We had to get air on early,” Strunk said. In addition, the equipment was installed in the middle of the manufacturing floor, requiring extra measures to protect it from dust and other construction impacts.

“BIM and lean processes were especially helpful for equipment and schedule coordination,” said Strunk. “This was one of coolest, most challenging and satisfying jobs most of the team has ever built. It’s really a tribute to a true team effort.”