Cyma Builders was contracted to build an expansion to an existing Central Utility Plant in Jacksonville, FL. Not only did this project present technical challenges based on the complexity of the MEP systems and controls being implemented, but the COVID-19 pandemic created manpower, shipping, and fabrication issues that contributed to difficulties faced in completing this project. Those challenges were ultimately overcome, and the systems installed were tied-into production utility lines.
The building construction included a 15,000 square foot building erection with pre-tensioned, load-bearing, precast panels on the exterior. The footprint of the building was logistically constrained by an adjacent alcohol storage building, so our team pushed for a design change to precast for fabrication off-site. The structural package included ground-level columns and roof-level framing for the new deck. In addition to the shell structure, there was also a large site work package that included demolition of an existing restroom building, new concrete sidewalks, and driveway, and underground sanitary, stormwater, and electrical distribution. The new building is conditioned by a new 25,000 CFM custom Buffalo AHU.
Several pieces of MEP equipment were installed around a robust compressed air system that included five 2796 CFM centrifugal units, two rotary screw compressors, two reciprocating compressors, all associated dryers, and six 2560-gallon air receivers—provided by Atlas Copco. Two 2100 GPM dual-cell cooling towers and two 375 GPM fluid coolers were furnished by Marley, and two 1400 ton York chillers were also installed. To support the new mechanical equipment, two 5000A switchboards and a 5000A switchboard expansion were fed. Rather than sequence the compressed air controls through a localized Atlas Copco system, and third-party vendor built an architecture with graphics that integrated with the existing Honeywell BMS system.
There was a lot of heavy pipefitter work surrounding the new equipment. A 12” compressed air line and 16” chilled water line ran across a pipe rack extending from the new CUP to the roof of the existing manufacturing building across the street. In addition, a 1500 linear foot steel rack was erected across three roofs to bring chilled water and compressed air distribution to three separate areas of manufacturing. Once the new systems were introduced, Cyma Builders executed demolition of existing cooling towers, air compressors, and chillers at the existing building to transfer function to the new CUP equipment.
Overall, this project had several design, logistical, and pandemic-related obstacles that were overcome through the input and persistence of the Cyma team. Despite these challenges, the project finished under budget within the schedule that was dynamically updated over the course of the project.