The Boeing Co.'s decision to locate its second assembly facility for the new 787 Dreamliner aircraft in South Carolina was a major coup for the Palmetto State. The aviation company's investment in North Charleston marked the largest single investment of private capital in the state's history.

The end result of that investment was similarly immense, involving 11 separate structures that collectively measure more than 1 million sq ft—which the design-build team of KBR Building Group, Turner Construction Co. and BRPH Cos. had just 24 months to construct.

The design-builders completed design for the facility's structural steel and sitework prior to Boeing's formal acceptance of the team's proposal. With this early design in hand, contractors were selected immediately after contract award, enabling them to begin work just two weeks after contract signing. Preparation of the 100-acre location—a spoils-covered site that was formerly a phosphate mine—became the critical path. The site had a consistency similar to pudding, according to KBR project officials. To remediate the site, contractors worked 24/7 to remove roughly the top 10 to 15 ft of the entire site, using about 100 trucks to haul away an estimated 3.1 million cu yd of inert material and then replaced it with engineered sand fill

The entire operation would take about six months, but the building pad site was ready for foundation work in eight weeks. The centerpiece of the facility is the final assembly building, a behemoth measuring 1,041 ft in length, 616 ft wide and 115 ft tall—or large enough to accommodate eight 787 aircraft.

The building has 11 roof trusses 14- to 27-ft-deep, with a 464-ft clear span and a total span length of 614 ft. Each truss has two 307-ft-long sections, each weighing approximately 221 tons. Design efficiencies allowed final truss depth to be 10 ft shallower than competing designs, an important consideration due to FAA limitations on the height of the building. The KBR-Turner-BRPH team completed the LEED-Gold-certified facility on schedule, and under budget.


Key Players

Owner: The Boeing Co., North Charleston, S.C.

Contractor: KBR Building Group/Turner Construction Co., Greenville, S.C.

Designer/Engineer: BRPH Architects-Engineers, Melbourne, Fla.

Structural Engineer: Cary Engineering Consultants, Greenville

Submitted by KBR Building Group