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Navigating Construction Challenges at Alliance Rojas

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By David Venegas, president of VEMAC

In construction, the difference between success and setback often hinges on one’s ability to swiftly navigate unforeseen challenges. This was vividly illustrated during our recent Alliance Rojas project, where a significant obstacle turned into an opportunity to demonstrate VEMAC’s problem-solving prowess and commitment to innovation.

Alliance Rojas is a state-of-the-art industrial spec building located in the bustling industrial hub of east El Paso, Texas. Spanning 99,507 square feet, the facility is strategically positioned near Interstate 10 and less than six miles from the Zaragoza International Bridge. It offers modern logistical capabilities with a clear height of 32 feet (minimum), up to 27 dock positions, and flexible space configurations to accommodate various tenants.

The project’s location presented unique challenges from the start. A steep slope and high-voltage powerline restricted traditional crane operations on the west side of the site. If not addressed with innovative planning, this obstacle could have led to significant delays and increased costs.

Our breakthrough came during a brainstorming session with Anthony Ortiz from Alliance Riggers & Constructors, Ltd. Together, we developed a novel solution over casual discussions at a local café. We decided to enhance the concrete riprap slope that was already included in our scope to serve as a stable bracing point for the tilt panels, allowing us to effectively redirect the crane path.

To address the unique challenges the Alliance Rojas project presented, our team at VEMAC, in collaboration with Alliance Riggers & Constructors, Ltd., embarked on a series of detailed and technical adaptations. These were essential in ensuring the project remained on track without escalating costs or extending timelines.

  • Brace anchoring: We anchored the braces to the top edge of the riprap to support the panels during construction. This involved straightforward considerations of the riprap’s design, specifically assessing its slope and thickness to ensure it could handle the loads effectively. Simple adjustments were made to guarantee the stability and robustness of the anchoring throughout the construction phase.
  • Panel lifting books: Given the modifications in our brace-anchoring strategy, it was essential to review our panel lifting books. This required close coordination with the lifting and bracing system manufacturers and engineers to ensure that the erection process remained safe and efficient, and properly aligned with the new anchoring configurations and site constraints.
  • Boom lift access: The relocation of the crane path impacted how boom lifts could access the panels. Adjustments were made to the site layout to ensure that boom lifts could safely reach the areas where braces needed to be attached and removed. This planning was crucial to maintaining safety standards while adapting to the new erection strategy.
  • Deadmen placement: The new crane leave-out ramp and starter panels’ locations made strategic placement of deadmen crucial. Deadmen serve as temporary anchors during panel erection, and their correct placement was vital in ensuring the stability of the construction process under the modified conditions.
  • Steel sequencing: The sequencing of steel installation to reinforce the west panels was revised in response to the new crane path and erection sequence. This ensured the structural integrity of the building was maintained despite the unconventional approach to construction and erecting panels.
  • Subgrade turnover acceleration: We also accelerated the preparation of the subgrade turnover of the riprap slope. This was critical to ensure the slope was ready to support the new construction demands. The riprap needed to be sufficiently robust to serve its primary erosion control function and to act as a foundational support for the heavy loads imposed by the crane and panels during construction.

These adjustments and their meticulous execution were instrumental in overcoming the logistical hurdles faced at the Alliance Rojas. By focusing on these specific areas of problem-solving, our team demonstrated the capability to adapt and innovate under pressure, ensuring the project’s success without compromising on safety, quality, or timing.

Collaboration and Feedback

The success of this project hinged not only on our ability to innovate but also on our collaboration with project partners. Feedback from our colleagues, like Perry Seeberger of Seeberger Architecture and Christian Perez Giese of CBRE, has been overwhelmingly positive, highlighting the strategic significance of our solutions in a challenging environment.

I thank our general contractor, EPX Construction, and all involved parties, including Alliance Industrial Company and Langan Engineering. Their collaboration and expertise were instrumental in turning a potential problem into a testament to innovative construction methodology.

Reflections on Leadership and Innovation

This project exemplifies VEMAC’s leadership in tilt-up construction and our dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in industrial building projects. Our proactive approach addresses immediate challenges and sets a precedent for future projects where similar challenges may arise.

In conclusion, Alliance Rojas stands as a beacon of how foresight, innovation, and collaboration can seamlessly blend to overcome obstacles and ensure project success in the dynamic field of construction. At VEMAC, we embrace challenges, transforming them into opportunities to demonstrate our commitment to excellence and innovation in every project we undertake.

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