Green field oil seed processing facility

Integrated project delivery profile


Project Team

Electrical Engineering, Instrumentation Engineering, Electrical Construction and Installation: Interstates Companies, Sioux Center, Iowa

Process Design and Mechanical Engineering: Karges-Faulconbridge Inc., St. Paul, Minn.

Construction Management: McGough, St. Paul, Minn.

Integrated project delivery (IPD) and collaboration brought a team of companies together to design and build a green field oil seed processing facility located in the upper Midwest. The facility, with capacity to process 1,000 tons of seed per day, produces food-grade oil. Along with the processing, the facility has capacity to store 830,000 bushels of grain. The site covers 390 acres including the grains receiving, preparation, extraction, refinery, and utilities areas.

To leverage market demand for its finished product, the owner had to commit to local growers that the facility would receive grain at the next harvest. The approaching winter season created additional pressure to begin construction of the foundation and underground electrical system. These factors required that the teams collaborate early to make design decisions and proceed with construction without a fully finished design.

Reflecting on what the team did to ensure the IPD method was successful for this project, Jim Faulconbridge, PE, president of Karges-Faulconbridge Inc., said, “The team stayed focused on the critical path schedule, making sure that the decisions were made in the right order. Also, the willingness to develop design ‘workarounds’ in the absence of complete information was key.”

For a team to successfully execute IPD methods, they must work toward key areas of early budgeting, scheduling, and a strong start-up. Early dependable pricing gives the client, and those financing it, the confidence to continue with a project. Early collaboration lends itself to significant schedule advantages. When team members are collaborating and providing just-in-time design, clients are able to respond to market conditions. In this case, the client and team were focused on completing the grains receiving area by the next harvest.

“To say that every single aspect of the project was smooth sailing due to integrated project delivery would be a stretch,” said Doug Post, PE, president of Interstates Engineering. “However, early agreement to proceed with construction when design was not 100% complete enabled the project to move forward according to the owner’s priorities.”

Start-up is the moment of truth for a project. When the team has worked well together in design and delivery of the project, the owner can feel confident as start-up approaches. “A strong start-up is important,” said Post. “It’s the most recent impression on the owner’s mind when all is said and done.”  

Ultimately, success circles back to the budget. The end result of IPD should be that the project finishes within budget and meets the owner’s business needs.

IPD methods allow team members to work together with the owner to provide value that includes not only the initial construction cost of a facility, but also the long-term cost of ownership. “If the design is calling for 16 valves that need regular maintenance to be situated in locations that can’t be accessed safely and easily, the owner will be reminded of this design decision forever,” said Post. “With early design collaboration, team members have input from many perspectives and can suggest value opportunities. While it may require more piping for the initial installation, the value of future ease of maintenance gained by repositioning those 16 valves to be grounded close to the floor clearly outweighs the added expense.”

 “Early specialty contractor involvement is only as good as the early detailed breakdown of costs and schedule they provide,” said Faulconbridge. “In this case, the team was better able to understand the impacts of proposed P&ID changes as design developed, and manage budget and schedule accordingly. This had the effect of protecting contingencies.”

IPD must capture the value of collaboration. The system must reward collaboration, and the designers must be incented to seek outside perspective on the constructability of the design. To successfully execute IPD, specialty contractors must be encouraged to suggest design alternatives. This project is an example of how early collaboration facilitates better decision making and value for the owner.

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