With Iowa’s coldest winter in two decades standing in the way, it didn’t seem likely that Lemartec Engineering and Construction Corporation would get much accomplished on the 28.8 acre site in Eddyville, Iowa.
Days with wind chills as low as 40-below zero and six-inch snowfalls weren’t exactly the best conditions to begin construction on a mammoth four-building plant for H.F. Chlor-Alkali LLC under EPC contractor Conve & AVS, which will provide chemicals for H.F. Chlor Cargill. But Lemartec and lead design consultant BRPH, promised to start in October and the team was determined to keep its promise.
It is now springtime, and Lemartec is on schedule despite the brutal weather.
“What we were able to accomplish in those conditions is a confirmation of Lemartec’s expertise,” said Manny García-Tuñón, the company’s president.
“The design-build process enabled us to begin construction quickly. We worked hand in hand with our client and process engineers, and we had plans within a few short weeks — probably in record time. This type of project fits right into our wheelhouse.”
In Eddyville, selecting the right construction team was key, according to Jose Garcia-Tunon, Lemartec’s COO.
“I attribute a great deal of our winter success to first having in place the right project management and supervision team and then the selection our sub-contractors,” he said. “It’s Iowa – we knew we’d be facing tough conditions. So we wanted top-of-the-line personnel and contractors who had experience in those types of conditions. It was a wise investment. They exceeded our expectations.”
“We realize if you try to cut corners, it’s going to cost you in the end. We’re all about quality and safety. We believe sub-contractors are a reflection of a company and its reputation. That’s vitally important when repeat business is a key factor in your success as it is with us.
Jose Garcia-Tunon said that the local subcontractors’ advice played an important role in helping Lemartec determine what type of equipment would be needed during the winter. The selection process proved to be crucial.
Gene Owen, Lemartec’s Senior Project Manager, said ground heaters – huge snakes of rubber hoses that are spread along the ground – thawed the ground and kept it at a workable temperature. Despite freezing temperatures, about 500,000 cubic yards of earth were moved and concrete slabs were poured for the foundations.
The project entails the development of four operating facilities; a 4,000-square-foot storage facility; a 35,000-square-foot processing building; a 35,000-square-foot salt saturation building; a 4,000-square-foot office building.
In spite of all obstacles Lemartec faced during these strenuous and demanding conditions, construction on the four buildings are progressing as planned.