2000 Miles from Home
This is a job managed by Bill Ray. The precast producer has devised a way to ship cell modules by train. That has allowed them to bid jobs all over the country. This has presented unique challenges that have had to be overcome by the yard, transport, and erection crews.
In June we completed the Lower Buckeye detention facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The need for this detention facility was the subject of a recent television expose' because the sheriff is keeping the prisoners in tents in a stockade until the new detention facility can be completed. With temperatures often up to 115 degrees, the sheriff is insistent on timely completion.
This was a big job, with 432 modules, 336 spandrel panels, and 80 roof deck planks; 848 pieces in total. The modules were produced in Atlanta and the flatwork was purchased in Phoenix.
The design is six stories tall and had to meet strict seismic (earthquake) standards. The engineering, drafting and approval of the design was a challenge. Post tension cables were specified to hold the modules to the foundation in the event of an earthquake. This added a lot to the complexity of erection because the tendon ducts must align and be grout tight.
The modules went out of the
plant on yellow tag. Certain finishing work was scheduled for the
yard. It takes three weeks for a freight train to travel from Atlanta
to Phoenix. That meant a big scheduling challenge. It required
an every-piece six week rolling schedule from yard finishing, to rail loading,
transit to phoenix, unloading, and erection at the proper place in the
The project erection started six weeks late due to a regulatory delay at the job. We were asked to make up the time. That meant 6-day weeks and 10-hour days for the erection crew. Temperatures on the job were regularly above 100 degrees toward the end. Individual crew members worked 3 weeks at the job and then spent one week at home. This was done in rotation so that erection was continuous. We also added a contract erector to supplement the company erection crew. This added a lot to the scheduling challenge, and had to be anticipated by six weeks.
Safety was the first consideration. We completed erection without a safety incident. We also made up most of the late start. The owner and general contractor are pleased with the product. The job is a credit to the hard work it took to get it right.
This is the first time we, or anyone, has produced and erected such a large detention facility so far from home. It demonstrates once again the value of planning, following established procedures, and the need to do it right the first time. For the individuals involved, this job shows the results of hard work, persistence, and dedication. These are results in which they can take pride.