Blog

Why Proper Planning and Early Engagement Are Key in the Modular Process

Proper planning from inception is important for manufactured products like modular utility systems. With most projects driven up front in the early design or pre-construction phases by owners and consulting engineers, early engagement in the design-assist process is key in developing a modularization plan and scope.

For Systecon, it’s not necessarily always about the end-product. It’s how we work together and how we can assist the owners and engineers to properly plan for a successful project. We must have an awareness to be able to assist the stakeholders in figuring out where it makes sense to apply our modular methodologies. Having that conversation up-front during conceptual design is a fundamental moment. Many general contractors and construction managers are also involved early on, and it has been a rising trend for them be part of our front-end customer audience.

Picture of a Systecon modular Central Utility Plant for Chemours' Discovery Hub

Going Modular with Chemours Discovery Hub’s Central Utility Plant

An excellent example of early engagement in the design-assist process is the Chemours Discovery Hub. What can be described as a complex project, the construction of Chemours’ 312,000 sq. ft research facility on the University of Delaware’s Science Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus came with a very tight schedule.

To meet their client’s strict timeframe, IMC Construction, the project’s GC / CM, considered offsite construction and the modularization of certain components. Looking at ways of incorporating modular into the build and providing the resources needed that would meet the client’s schedule played in the decision to modularize the facility’s Central Utility Plant (CUP).

Attributed to their positive previous experiences with Systecon and with modular construction, IMC subcontracted the Central Utility Plant to Systecon. The project consisted of the CUP, modular air handling systems with dedicated hot water and humidification systems, and modular indoor corridor pipe rack systems to support laboratory and office space.

Other deciding factors in choosing Systecon included the ability to meet schedule, quality, and affordability, according to Jerry Brandmueller, IMC’s Project Executive at the time.

Modular construction also allowed components to be built in parallel with other construction, and in a controlled environment that prevented weather-related delays.

Designing A Complete Utility Solution Was a Collaborative Effort

In a collaborative effort, using consulting engineer, NV5’s design requirements and IMC’s desire for modularization, Systecon developed a complete utility solution that included chilled water, condenser water, process water, high pressure steam, low pressure humidification, and hot water with associated power distribution and controls. H.T. Lyons developed a complete corridor pipe rack system for indoor installation.

A photo of the installation of Systecon's central utility plant for Chemours' Discovery Hub. In the picture, a crane is lowering a cooling tower.

Mission Accomplished

The prime objective was to meet the client’s schedule so that the company could move-in on time. Construction of Chemours’ new $150-million research facility began in late 2017 and was completed in December 2019.

Staying on budget and on time were among the many benefits of modular, which shorter lead time and turnkey installation of a modular utility solution helped accomplish.

© Copyright 2021 • Legend Web Works, LLC