Planning and BIM Create Big Wins for Client and Interstates


The City of Greeley, located in northern Colorado, has been growing exponentially, which means more demand for local utilities like water. The hydraulics of the old facility limited the amount of clean water coming from the city’s main water treatment plant in nearby Bellvue. With high demand on the rise, the City of Greeley partnered with Hydro Construction and Interstates to upgrade its Bellvue Water Treatment Plant to meet the needs of its growing city without putting too much strain on the treatment facilities.

Bellvue, a 35-million gallon per day facility, was able to keep up during the winter. Still, demand during the spring and summer months made it necessary to pull water from the Boyd Lake water treatment facility in Loveland. “Every year around April or May, they would have to turn Boyd on to meet demands, and that would go all the way up to September. With this upgrade, the City of Greeley can let Boyd sit idle until June and also shut it off sooner,” says Novotny.

The scope of the upgrade project was to build a new treatment building to replace the aging building built in 1946. This old treatment building was not able to keep up with demand and meet increasing regulations. The new treatment building is the first of four planned to replace aging infrastructure and increase production. We also did a complete controls retrofit for the existing facility. “We removed all existing pipe and wire and rewired an existing facility in two weeks while only the new treatment building was online. This was successful because of intense preplanning,” says Novotny.

Building a greenfield water plant was a first for us. “We have done a lot of work at existing water facilities, but this was a brand new, greenfield site. So, the schedule was a lot longer than usual. This type of water treatment facility requires substantial amounts of concrete for the basins and foundations, which requires curing time to be incorporated into the schedule.” says Novotny.

Nick Wathier, Senior Project Manager at Interstates, notes that long projects have specific challenges. “Maintaining manpower, management and focus on a project that spans this timeframe is critical. We did our best to keep the same core leadership team to ensure consistency for our client,” he says.

There was always a dangerous level of excavation with so much underground work, and planning was meticulous. “We put as much conduit in the slab as possible,” says Wathier. “This helps save space for future installations, eliminates many safety hazards, and makes for a much cleaner install,” he adds.

Novotny explains that using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and having materials prefabricated saved time: “We had a fully rendered 3D model of the facility which allowed us to model everything from the underground duct bank outside of the building to in-slab conduit to light fixtures. This helped us identify obstacles and avoid them. It prevented a huge ordeal with the lights, and we caught it before the concrete was even poured. We utilized BIM to rough in everything in the slab, about 10,000 feet of conduit, and zero rework. Installing prefabbed underground risers saved a substantial amount of time as well. “What would have taken us three to four weeks only took us a day to accomplish because of modeling and prefab,” says Novotny.

The new treatment building handles 20 million gallons of water a day. It helps the City of Greeley meet the needs of its growing population. Edgar Almanza, a Project Coordinator at Interstates, notes that this was the largest project our Fort Collins, CO Regional Office has taken on. “We typically have three or four electricians on-site, but this project required twelve.” He adds that the “behind the scenes” work that happened on this project was critical. “All the coordination we were part of, the conversations we were leading – it was all to meet the client’s needs and earn their trust so we can continue to work together. I feel like that team-building was a hidden benefit for both parties,” he says.

This article was originally published in the Current Connections Fall 2020 issue.


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