Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. - Illinois Chapter
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Project Scope

MKD Electric was selected as the electrical contractor for a ground-up UPS mega-parcel distribution facility in Atlanta, Georgia. The original contract value of this project was $14 Million. The actual value is closer to $16 Million at significant completion of the project. The duration of the project was 12 months; starting in September of 2017 and running through the end of September, 2018. MKD installed over 225,000 feet of conduit, almost 6.5 million feet of wire, and completed over 76,000 terminations on this project.

Unique Project Challenges

One of the big challenges of this project was the massive scale and the schedule at which the work was to be performed. The whole project was to install a ground-up mega-parcel distribution facility, which in its basic form is an automated conveyor and diverting system. An endeavor like this one brings both typical and new challenges – one of the major tasks being manpower. Our peak crew sizes was near 100 electricians, mostly working 6-7 days per week for months, which required a high level of organization and communication across all levels to ensure the crews were working safely and efficiently. We utilized labor support from other ABC-affiliated electrical contractors in order to complete this project.

The aggressive schedule required MKD crews to spread out and work 6-7 systems at a time during peak to remain productive. At the same time, the project was held up by delays from other trades for manpower material lead time issues. The MKD team learned quickly how to float between systems while following the conveyor installers and meeting deadline after deadline for system turnover to the owner.

Trade stacking played another significant role on the project. On any given day, there were upwards of 500 contractors working in the same building. Despite a very large footprint (over 11M sq. ft.), workspace conflict was inevitable.

A project of this magnitude brought about another unavoidable challenge – change order management. At the peak is this project, MKD was asked multiple times a day to look at changes of all kinds: schedule compression, device relocation, design changes, value engineering, rework, etc. Although MKD’s change order revenue was nearly 25% of the initial contract, we worked closely with our client to offer cost-effective solutions to the many challenges we faced.

Project Safety

MKD took a lead role in dozens of site safety and coordination meetings, not only to discuss how to work safely on our own scope of work, but also to coach other contractors on working safely amongst themselves as well as around others.

Because of the sheer physical footprint of this project (the UPS Atlanta Hub is over a mile and a half long), along with various other trades operating at the same time within the facility, MKD Electric conducted a site-specific safety orientation for all new Team Members and subcontractors prior to commencing work in the facility. Due to the overall commitment to safety by all of our Team Members, we were able to complete this project injury-free.



Project History

MKD Electric was asked to perform a critical project at Reichhold Chemical that involved workers in and around energized 13,800 volt power lines. Due to the age of the existing power lines, the plant suffered through cable failures and repairs over a several year period. As a result, the plant reached a point where the lines had to be replaced. MKD reviewed the project and strict timeline and committed to doing the replacement project.

Project Pre-Planning

The 13,800 Volt power cable was 800 feet long and required (10) 500-pound steel structures to be mounted on top of the 30 foot high existing steel structures; these brackets were installed over 6 sets of energized 13kV feeders as well. Successfully executing this project required a high level of coordination and planning, both internally and with the client, in order to execute the work safely and efficiently. We had daily planning and safety meetings to ensure that all aspects of the project were being clearly communicated to everyone involved with the project.

We held training in order to familiarize our team with the cable system, which was new to us. This included a trolley system which allowed us to pull all 800 feet at one time with multiple pull points. Our internal fabrication division built the steel structures on an expedited timeline to be ready for the shutdown. Equipment and material were mobilized at the site the week prior.

Project Execution

The first objective was to install as many of the steel structures as possible prior to the shutdown. When it was presented to us that these lines could not be shut down until the day of, we developed a written plan on how to approach the 13kV lines live. By utilizing tested, insulated tools, insulated bucket trucks, blankets, barriers and appropriate levels of PPE, we developed a safe process to install the steel on the majority of the structures while the lines were energized. We executed this by first insulating the cables at each support structure with high voltage blankets under NFPA 70E guidelines. Our team suited up in safety gear rated for the incident heat energy level up to 40 cal. We then hoisted the new prefabricated steel structures over the existing structures and secured the structures together by drilling with a magnetic drill to secure them in place with prefabricated brackets custom made from our prefab shop.

During the 24-hour shutdown period, MKD mobilized 30 Team Members, consisting of two crews working in 12-hour shifts, as well as all of the necessary tools and materials. Prior to starting work, we held a safety meeting and walked the team through the complete job. During installation, there was a section of the feeder that transferred from overhead to underground, and then into the substation switch. Cable was pulled in and (6) 13kV terminations and connections to lightning arrestors were completed. When the overhead cables where finished being pulled in, the terminations to the transformer where completed. We then had to pull the cable carriers down off the messenger and install the insulator separators through the whole run.

Unique Challenges

This project presented us with several unique challenges. The scope of work dictated that the work be performed near or over energized 13,800 Volt overhead power lines. Our team members wore arc flash gear in accordance with NFPA 70E requirements to ensure we worked safely.

The project also had a strict 24-hour time-frame for the shutdown portion of the work to be completed. We met the deadline due to great teamwork and communications.