The Key Ingredient: BIM at Hershey Creamery Company

Sep 27, 2021

by Kinsley,

181096_N3Twenty years ago, Jason Lush began his career as a drafter, creating design documents for architectural, structural, refrigeration, mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades. One of his first projects involved designing these systems for Hershey Creamery Company’s Middletown, Pennsylvania, plant. Fast forward to today, Jason plays a key role on our VDC team as a Building Information Modeling (BIM) Technician and is back at that same plant, but this time his role is what kept the expansion project moving forward.

In 2019, the Hershey Creamery Company (also known as Hershey’s Ice Cream), hired Kinsley’s Building team and Galbraith Pre-Design in a joint venture to deliver a 170,000-square-foot expansion that includes an ice cream production area, dry and cold ingredient storage areas and a new three-story office building. This expansion included the coordination of seven separate areas with multiple wall and structural systems, including precast concrete, insulated metal panels, a concrete masonry unit (CMU) and steel, all of which needed to be constructed simultaneously in a small area.  Additionally, the team was up against a challenging schedule – one that the Project Manager, James Kinsley, called a “constant moving target.” This is where Jason came in. 

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Adding BIM to the Mix

The ice cream production areas were specified for precast concrete panels, which were scheduled to go into production prior to the MEP and equipment suppliers completing their final designs. So, before production, Jason and the team identified possible areas or zones in the panels that could be drilled through after installation without impacting their structural integrity. Jason identified these zones in the Navisworks model, which helped the MEP subcontractors and equipment installers know where to drill. And knowing that Hershey may expand their facility in the future, our team identified zones that would accommodate additional equipment and system installations, which were added into the Navisworks model.

Part of this project included a dry ingredient storage area with stringent Early Suppression Fast Response (ESFR) fire sprinkler obstruction limitations, so the sprinkler head placement took precedence over all other systems. Jason worked with our fire protection subcontractor and coordinated the sprinkler placements for other subcontractors to design their systems around. After we received the subcontractors’ drawings back, he noticed that part of the racking would not clear the sprinkler system. Jason immediately informed the racking subcontractor and suggested moving the rack forward a few feet, which the 3-D model showed would allow for the pipe to pass unobstructed and meet the required clearance. Catching this potential issue prior to installation helped save the sprinkler system from damage that would have been caused if the racking wasn’t adjusted.

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Our BIM capabilities also came in handy while dealing with the cold storage areas that required sophisticated ammonia refrigeration systems. Though this didn’t fall under our responsibility, it was still important to coordinate with our work. The challenge was that the refrigeration contractor started their work later in the project. The refrigeration contractor was invited to our bi-weekly BIM coordination meetings and Jason incorporated their refrigeration model into our overall building model to detect possible clashes. By doing this, adjustments were made to the sprinkler design prior to the work in the field, which prevented potential rework and delays.

Jason truly went above and beyond for this project. He continued to create custom visuals to indicate where all work was happening throughout the building, regardless if other subcontractors (not hired by Kinsley) were utilizing BIM or not. This helped the entire project team identify priority areas within the schedule and coordinate accordingly. Thanks to Jason’s and the team’s expertise, we wrapped up our work in April, and this project serves as a great example of how our in-house Virtual Design and Construction services can be the key to a project’s success.