Berenyi Incorporated Wins PACE Award For Daimler Chrysler Project

December 5

Berenyi Incorporated, Hitt Construction, and Daimler Chrysler were awarded the 2006 Pace Award of Merit for their teamwork on the new Dodge Sprinter van facility in Ladson, South Carolina.  PACE, the Palmetto Architecture, Construction & Engineering Awards, are presented annually to the teams that produce the best designed, constructed, and managed projects in the Charleston area.  

Daimler Chrysler, the world’s largest commercial vehicle producer, selected Ladson, South Carolina as the site for its new Dodge Sprinter van assembly plant. Company officials said that the hands on involvement by state officials and easy access to the Port of Charleston were the major reasons why South Carolina was the winner of the extremely competitive site selection process. The $35 million investment called for the conversion of the 460,000 square foot building and site occupied by American LaFrance, a subsidiary of Daimler Chrysler’s Freightliner LLC.

The primary design goal for Daimler Chrysler was to modify the facility to accommodate the new Dodge Sprinter assembly equipment and vehicle storage while temporarily sharing the space with the American LaFrance fire truck assembly line, keeping it in full operation during the construction process. This complicated but well coordinated effort involved relocating existing equipment, building additions and site modifications, new equipment installation, floor and foundation work, and related plumbing, mechanical and electrical system changes.

The many building modifications included a 10,000 square foot addition needed for the expanded assembly line, new pits, cranes, and support structures.  The additions matched the existing precast concrete wall panels and roof systems. Structural review of the existing steel and concrete as well as designs for the new pits and foundations were required. Working with the German engineers at Eisenmann, the architectural and engineering designs were coordinated, translating from German to English and metric to imperial systems, for a seamless fit of equipment to building.

For the new processes, a conditioned paint mix building was added with large explosion relief panels. A new guard house was constructed at the entry to the vehicle storage area to monitor the traffic and control the inventory.  A new employee entrance was added to the front of the building to improve security and control.  The tank farm was enlarged. To improve the corporate offices, the main building entrance was redesigned to add a monumental stair and view windows for easier access to the second floor offices. Offices were refinished and a new computer server room was added in the office area with a specialty fire protection system. All of this was done with minimal impact to the American LaFrance production.

The site improvements included several new loading docks, a vehicle wash and rain test area, vehicle storage lot for over 850 newly finished Sprinter vans and over forty service trucks, approximately 13 acres of pavement. To balance the large amount of site improvements, the landscape architects and civil engineers protected all isolated wetlands and associated buffers on site, created large detention ponds that can handle up to 3 million gallons of water, set aside green spaces to preserve about a thousand trees, and added nearly 100 tree and 500 shrubs to beautify the site.

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