Egger Wood Products

Lexington, North Carolina



OWNER: EGGER Wood Products

LEAD DESIGN FIRM: Professional Engineering Association Inc.

STRUCTURAL | CIVIL ENGINEER: Professional Engineering Association Inc.

MEP ENGINEER: Gamewell Consultant

In planning its first plant on U.S. soil, wood products manufacturer EGGER aimed to build a facility that exceeded its already exacting standards. Design and construction of the 815,000-sq-ft plant aimed to create “the most modern plant in the world for this type of product,” according to Carsten Ritterbach, plant manager, commercial services for EGGER.

Egger wood products

Photo courtesy of Gray

During the proposal stage, Gray visited an EGGER particleboard production facility under construction in Poland. The plant was designed and built according to the European Union Best Available Technology regulation, which aims  to prevent or minimize environmental impact. Once the project was under contract, the Gray team visited an existing EGGER facility in Austria. The visits helped set the bar for project expectations.

Egger wood products

Photo courtesy of Gray

To deliver the new plant, the team faced significant hurdles. The initial start was delayed three months due to two hurricanes and the need to surcharge soils. The site consisted of unsuitable soils due to excessive rain and material that was not properly compacted prior to the owner’s possession of the land. In addition, EGGER’s equipment commissioning and start-up vendors from Europe were delayed approximately one month due to the COVID-19 international travel ban. Despite these challenges, the main critical path for the equipment installation was met. The 18-month project was completed on schedule in October 2020.

The project was also a standout for our judges, especially considering the hurdles it faced, including trenching and excavation exposures; steel erection; fall exposures; multiple trade exposures; and European workers. One judge noted that the contractor compressed the schedule by bringing in the owner’s European vendors to install equipment alongside the contractor’s scope. “From a safety perspective, lots of moving parts,” the judge added.   

Egger wood products

Photo courtesy of Gray

Gray also entered into a SHARP partnership with the North Carolina Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Division to evaluate, reinforce and actively monitor the effectiveness of the project safety program in real time. Additionally, Gray required workers to wear European-style safety helmets, which offer substantially more protection than hardhats. The team logged more than 1.2-million work-hours with one lost-time injury and a total of six recordable injuries for workers for the entire project.

The project is also expected to have a positive impact on the community. Economic development officials calculate that each of the 770 new jobs at the facility will create three indirect jobs in the region. EGGER also uses a mix of wood-based manufacturing by-products and pre-consumer recycled materials sourced from forests throughout North Carolina and the surrounding states.