Storm Considerations in Central Plant Construction

The 2017 Hurricane Season was particularly brutal to infrastructure in the south and Caribbean this year, highlighting the challenges that stem from flooding and high winds.  Too often, storm consideration is a small component of overall central plant construction – but as we’ve all seen lately, when serious storms arrive, the impact can be devastating.

At Greenland Enterprises, our design-build approach as a prime contractor means we take a holistic look at risks – not just for the construction phase of a project, but for the entire lifecycle.  During construction, we arrange for temporary boilers, power systems and similar infrastructure redundancies to minimize the potential for disruption. That same methodology guides our long-term operational decisions as well – we have the right people on the team, use a proactive planning model and have processes in place to adjust and adapt to changing circumstances.

For example, when the existing boiler plant for the Columbia, SC VA Medical Center flooded in October 2015 during a 1,000-year rain event, the entire medical center was left without steam. Greenland was nearing completion on a new boiler plant (which did not flood) and within hours on a Sunday afternoon our crews mobilized to solve the problem. By mid-day Monday the new plant was tied-in to the hospital’s critical steam system and operational. This type of response was possible because of the Greenland pre-planning and expertise. As the building representative stated, “This was due to the Greenland superintendent having the vast knowledge and experience of the construction of boiler and energy plants.”

Whether it’s evaluating a new plant building’s flood mitigation plan, ensuring the roof and structure will withstand historic wind speeds, or simply advising on upgrades to incoming utility infrastructure, our teams go to great lengths to identify risks and develop mitigation plans, even when those potential risks might lie outside the scope of the original project.

Of course, no one can predict all of the potential damage that comes from a category five hurricane. However, the team at Greenland Enterprises gives extra consideration to major events that could impact a project. It’s just one more example of the Greenland difference. If you are developing an RFP for a central plant or similar facility, we highly recommend ensuring the eligible respondents have adequate experience planning for and responding to major interruptions in service – including those caused by major weather events and natural disasters.

If you have questions about the Greenland difference or would like to learn more about our capabilities, please contact our Hampton, Virginia headquarters, at 757-864-0640.