Boeing's five-year Chinook H-47 Focus Factory Conversion Program transformed its historic 85-year-old industrial helicopter production complex into an updated facility while production continued.
Design and construction occurred as Boeing's helicopter delivery rate was increasing to meet rising demand. The modernization and new construction project involved more than 1,500 construction workers and required not disrupting the 24-hour, seven-day-a-week assembly operations. The team employed fast-track scheduling and project phasing, which were communicated directly with the client, military, regulatory, commissioning and contract entities.
The factory complex includes multiple contiguous buildings that house much of the production and support functions for the Chinook program. The program approach called for ongoing daily interaction and cooperation among designers, contractors, service providers, Boeing shift management and key production personnel at all levels to meet milestones. Phased sequences designed into construction schedules allowed extensive rehabilitation activities to be carried out while aircraft assembly was under way—in most instances less than 20 ft from a temporary demising wall.
The existing factory did not offer another location for the main assembly lines to be set up during construction. The construction team enacted new material staging and relocated critical utility systems protocols while aircraft production and parts flow continued unabated between various assembly positions. Production-dock renovations were scheduled during off shifts to keep activities moving forward on parallel paths.
To isolate construction dust, dirt and debris, contractors put in place indoor air quality management plans for each phase. They included such control measures as full-height scaffold sail walls, sealed plastic dust barriers, negative pressurization of affected zones and fitting all gas or diesel equipment with exhaust scrubbers to reduce airborne pollutants.
The five-year program achieved Boeing's goals and was completed on schedule and within budget without safety incidents or claims.
Manufacturing: Winner - Boeing Center South, Chinook H-47 Focus Factory Conversion Program, Ridley Park, Pa.
Owner The Boeing Co.
Lead Design Firm Ballinger
Construction Manager STV Construction
Structural/MEP Engineer Ballinger
Civil Engineer H. Gilroy Damon Associates
Builder Haverstick-Borthwick Co.; Paul Restall Co.
Concrete Healy, Long and Jevin; Petrini
Electrical Clinger Electric
Mechanical Truskey; River Mechanical
Steel Central Metals