Electric vehicle maker Rivian has chosen Clayco to construct a $5-billion, 1,800-acre manufacturing campus in Stanton Springs, Ga., planned to begin production in 2026.

An announcement from Clayco lists Jacobs as engineer-of-record and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) as design architect for the facility, expected to create 7,500 jobs.

The state has completed a robust mass-grading package on the site where the contractor is already mobilized to begin construction on the 16-million-sq-ft plant, says Anthony Johnson, president of Clayco's Industrial Business Unit. Groundbreaking is expected in early 2024, followed quickly by vertical construction, the company says.

"We're going to ramp up pretty quickly with construction activities on site," Johnson says, adding that it's essentially pad-ready. 

Speed is a focus for the project. Everything but the paint shed will be executed under a construction management contract. The paint shop is a design-build project.

Clayco is already gearing up to navigate supply chain lags and workforce capacity issues. Clayco is working closely with Rivian and the engineering team to tackle procurement challenges head on, working to get in front of long lead times and procure needed materials and equipment early in the design phase, says Johnson.

In terms of labor, Clayco focuses heavily on the local and regional workforce, Johnson says. Experience in Georgia and neighboring states has given the contractor a good feel for subcontractor capacity, Johnson adds.

"We'll structure procurement packages so we can be sure to have them in a compartmentalized size so that local and regional subcontractors have the ability to participate in large scale," he says. 

Jeff Hammond, Rivian’s chief design officer, says the company does design work in-house before bringing in architects and engineers to create drawings and work out finer details—a process similar to the one it uses to develop parts for its electric vehicles.  

For the most part, the plant will have insulated metal panel walls, though the project team continues to work through the more detailed design components for the "full automotive manufacturing campus, including everything from press and stamping through body paint, assembly and storage," says Hammond.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced the planned $5-billion project in December 2021, saying production capacity could be as many as 400,000 vehicles per year. At the time, the plantrepresented the state’s largest economic development project. The $1.5-billion incentive package from the state, as of 2022, also is Georgia’s largest, according to Pat Wilson, economic development commissioner.

Johnson says the project should create around 2,500 construction jobs with a peak of about 1,500 workers. 

Much of the 2,000-acre campus will be preserved as natural space, and the Georgia Dept. of Transportation will construct an interchange and four-lane frontage road paralleling Interstate 20 to serve the facility, according to the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton Counties.

Sustainability and efficiency will be a focus for the facility, according to the announcement. "We believe this will be one of the most uniquely sustainable manufacturing projects ever built," says Johnson.