A Cleaner Install Through Early Planning

Interstates has just wrapped up work on a organic grain terminal for Minneapolis-based Pipeline Foods. Located in Bowbells, ND, the facility will receive organic grains by truck and ship out by rail, improving the supply chain for organic grain across the region. Interstates provided the power engineering, control engineering, programming, and construction on this project. In order to support cleanliness, Interstates took special measures, including installing conduit in the slip. Early planning, flexibility when materials were delayed, and constant collaboration with the general contractor made this project a success for everyone involved.

According to Pipeline Foods, this is the company’s first greenfield project. The facility is strategically located adjacent to the BNSF main line railway and US Highway 52 for efficient transport. The grain terminal will be fully automated, compliant with Food Safety Modernization Act regulations, and is designed to receive, clean, and blend organic crops.

“The main goals were to open the facility in time to take advantage of the 2018 harvest and to keep the install clean to support the near food grade conditions,” says Scott Koll, Project Manager at Interstates. Installing the conduit in the slip supported this goal and took a fair amount of front-end organization.

“Early planning enabled us to first install conduit in the main mat slab concrete. Since design is often not complete at this early stage in the project, we needed to use our experience to get the correct number of conduits installed,” says Koll. Time was spent collaborating with the general contractor, Weitz, on how the install would go.

“Prior to the slip, we coordinated with Weitz to make sure everything was in place to make things run smoothly,” says Koll. Materials were placed on site and roles were reviewed before the slip form construction began. During the process, Interstates personnel rode the slip to install the conduit as the forms went up. “With Weitz’s assistance, we staged just the necessary conduit needed each day to avoid clutter on the slip platform,” says Koll.

Working hand-in-hand with Weitz ensured a safe process and a cleaner install for the customer. “There’s no exposed conduit rack to clean around. It also looks better, cosmetically, and installing conduit in the slip helps the schedule by allowing this work to be done early and taking activity out of the busy part of the project,” says Koll.

Nick Rinehart, Superintendent at Interstates, says that Pipeline Foods’ choice to run conduit this way helped with allocating manpower to other projects. “The conduit inside the slip was a big win. We only needed one person on site at that time. It allowed us to mobilize a lot later, which saved money for the client, not to mention money saved on lift rentals,” says Rinehart.

“The biggest challenge was lead times on key materials being extended dramatically. On a short-term project, we couldn’t afford to have 8-week lead time changes,” says Koll, who adds that vendors were changed midstream to expedite the delivery process.

Extended hours had to be worked to make up for the lost time, but it didn’t impact the project outcome. “Though we had our challenges, the field quality was maintained. Our relationship with Pipeline Foods and Weitz also aided in the success,” says Koll.


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