Building a massive Jeep assembly plant in rural Brazil required complex coordination between American and Brazilian firms. Longtime Chrysler contractor Walbridge worked hand-in-hand with Brazilian construction giant Construcap to craft a hybrid design-build delivery method for the automaker's Goiana Jeep Assembly Plant. The result was a 3.3-million-sq-ft assembly complex that was completed in only 26 months.
Located in the Brazilian countryside a two-hour drive away from the nearest city, the project's remote location required the general contractor to self-perform more than 45% of the work. Maintaining the supply chain out to the site was critical, according to John Linenberg, Walbridge assistant vice president for engineering. "Our closest steel fabricator was 1,500 miles away—it took five to seven days to receive a shipment. Because of that, we had people in constant contact with the steel fabricators, visiting them and making sure they were on schedule and delivering in a timely fashion."
Working with a diverse international team raised concerns about communication, which the team addressed. "Having multiple languages spoken by key team members on-site was a challenge. Some spoke only Portuguese, others Italian and others English. That caused us to depend more on visual-based communications. Progress updates on scheduling were communicated with graphs and visual tools," says Linenberg.
Considered the most technologically advanced assembly plant in Fiat Chrysler's global portfolio of manufacturing facilities, the Goiana Jeep plant is, in the words of one judge, "a showcase of quality."
Owner: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
General Contractor: Consortium Construcap Walbridge
Lead Design Firm: Engevix
Sitework Construction Documents: CFPS Engenharie Projectos S.A.
Engineering Design Consultant: MHA Engenharia Ltda
Site, Structural Engineer: Minerbo-Fuchs Engenharia S.A.
MEP Contractor: Idest Engenharia do Brasil Ltda.
Interior Design Consultant: studio architetti associati