Jeff Stephenson, P.E., is the Team Leader of [...]
Author: Darren Hamrick, SE Team Leader
The auto-supplier industry continues to grow in Alabama and surrounding states and we are proud to be contributing to that effort. Within the last few years, Sain has had the opportunity to provide site design, surveying services and traffic engineering for multiple industrial projects that are tied to the automotive industry. These projects, which total roughly one million square feet combined, span several manufacturers in multiple states with even more in the works.
We’ve recently completed three different projects with Gestamp, an international group dedicated to the design, development and manufacture of metal automotive components. In addition, we’ve also completed four individual projects with Kamtek, whose parent company is Canada-based Magna International, which is an auto body supplier based in Birmingham, Alabama. We are thrilled to have won an award for one of the Kamtek projects. Finally, we also did an expansion project for Flex-N-Gate, a producer of products and systems for the automotive industry.
All of these projects were “design-build” projects (d-b) which is a method to deliver a project in which the contractor teams with Sain Associates to value-engineer the most cost-effective design for the project. Most of these projects were also considered “expansions” to existing manufacturing facilities which is why there were some unique challenges to these projects.
When a manufacturer wants to expand their facility, they do so without interrupting their normal production flow. This means a couple different things to us:
- We need to work around the client’s workflow so that they’re able to meet their own manufacturing goals and requirements without being impeded by the new construction.
- We need to “fast track” these projects so that whatever stress their production line is experiencing can be alleviated as soon as possible, and they can begin benefitting from the expansion.
When we fast track a project, it can often also be because of the new machinery that will operate in the expansion. Large pieces of machinery used to manufacture certain products or pieces are ordered and delivered to the space by a specific date. This means we must design and build around the equipment and often have to install equipment prior to the structure being fully finished. Fast track also applies to the design and approval which means we must work hand-in-hand with a state or municipality for permits as we go through the project. These projects have their own set of unique requirements and challenges that we don’t always see in other types of projects or industries. Thus, our team must remain flexible and be able to think outside the box in order to help our clients meet their goals. We look forward to continuing to support our clients in the auto-supplier industry.