Expanding your brownfield facility and avoiding the rusty stuff?

I do remember that very well: more than 10 years ago a multinational company was expanding their brownfield facility. A new multi-level production building was to be constructed adjacent to the existing one.

There were usual challenges, like missing documentation from the existing building, or non-available masterplan with the utility infrastructure. Client team also forgot about an HV cable of a third party on their land. And perhaps, the biggest challenge was the “free” piece of land itself.

The client was pretty sure that there is nothing to worry about. Decades ago there had been a boiler house nearby. The construction site was supposed to be free of any obstacles. All employees, including former ones, confirmed that, and the client did not want to spend money for additional surveys.

Well, when excavation started, the last thing anyone would expect was giant mazut tank. This dammed rusty thing was still full of mazut! Previous owner of the site did not exist anymore, so there was no one to blame. As you can imagine, construction was delayed. 

How to avoid such situations?

  • Involve masterplanning consultants and engineers as early as possible.
  • Allow your consultant to run relevant surveys, including Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). Better to be safe, than sorry.
  • If you do not have all required documentation about the site and infrastructure, or it is outdated, reserve time in advance for your consultant to collect information from public sources and respective utility organizations.
  • If you do not have the documentation at all, engage 3D scanning to recover the whole structure of your facility. By far faster and more efficient. If you have the documents, but building is old, you’d better run 3D scanning anyway!
  • Last but not least, your consultant should work with BIM (Building Information Modelling) and 3D plant design, that can easily take-off from 3D scan. BIM is more than just a 3D model. There are “other Ds” (dimensions), that let you have costs, schedule and maintenance issues incorporated into one single model. If one day you get it to 7D, your facility manager will love you.

If you plan to expand your brownfield facility, please contact us at our website!

Аuthor: Jan Bobek

Previously Business Development Director CEE

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