Moyle Construction– Enstrom Helicopter Plant Expansion

Enstrom Helicopter Corp.‘s choice of general contractor to design and build an expansion to its manufacturing plant in Menominee, Mich., became clear after the company looked into the backgrounds of the frontrunners for the job. “The feedback Enstrom received during the prequalification process from our previous clients is what swayed them to hire us and weighed heavily in their decision,” says Tom Helminen, president of Moyle Construction USA, the contractor chosen in 2013 to lead the project. 

Much of the positive feedback Enstrom received about Houghton, Mich.-based Moyle Construction’s work noted the skills and abilities of its project staff. “We’re a construction company, but we’re not just about computers, heavy equipment and steel – we’re about people,” Helminen says. “Our people are what make a project happen, and from top to bottom, we have a very good staff in all departments of our company.” 

Moyle Construction’s experience with design/build and fast-track projects also figured into Enstrom’s decision. The contractor broke ground on the $8 million expansion project in May, with an anticipated completion in December, Vice President of Engineering and Design Barry Givens says.

The contractor’s capabilities include in-house project management, design and trades capabilities, which allow it to supplement the work of its subcontractors. Moyle Construction’s portfolio includes retail, commercial, residential, educational, industrial and infrastructure projects.

“We’ve done many fast-track projects and design/build projects, so those are really our bread and butter,” Givens adds. “If there’s a project where time is of the essence and budget is critical, we’re able to excel.” 

‘Great for the Community’

Moyle Construction is on track to complete the total 102,000-square-foot expansion project in time to meet its aggressive deadline. The expansion includes increasing the manufacturing plant’s overall footprint with a one-story, 78,000-square-foot addition that includes a 24,000-square-foot steel-framed mezzanine level, Project Manager Andrew Kemper says.

The expansion features a pre-engineered metal structure, a concrete floor and steel stud and drywall interior walls. The mezzanine will house engineering offices and training and break rooms. 

When completed, the expansion will more than double Enstrom’s production capacity. The added space will include new paint, gel coat and sand blast booths for component parts as well as expanded manufacturing and flight testing areas. “This expansion will provide Enstrom several amenities that they’ve been going without, including HVAC improvements and high bay space including hoists and cranes,” Givens says.

“Moyle has been an outstanding company to work with, as we have weekly status meetings to keep us abreast of schedule and costs. We are 60 percent complete and costs and schedule remain on track to the forecast provided at the beginning of the project,” Enstrom President and CEO Jerry Mullins says. “We have actually moved into the first phase of the project and expect the remaining areas to be fully occupied by year end. Moyle has worked with us on a daily basis to minimize impacts to our production schedule while work continues. 

“I am very pleased with their performance as our prime contractor and would highly recommend them to other businesses that need to maintain schedule while expanding their facility,” he adds. 

Close Connections

Moyle Construction is maintaining a constant line of communication with Enstrom and its subcontractors. This includes electronic exchanges of CAD drawings and other project information. 

“We’re in such a fast-track environment that we need to use technology to the fullest to make sure the project goes as smoothly as possible,” Givens says. 

In addition to sharing information electronically, Moyle Construction’s field engineer and construction superintendent meet regularly with Enstrom to update them on the project budget and schedule. 

Enstrom’s plant is located in an operating airport, making on-site safety a concern. Moyle Construction is addressing safety through a badging and security system as well as through daily meetings with Enstrom’s flight department. These meetings help the flight department route test flights and other activity taking place near the construction area. Safety is of prime importance to the owner and contractor and the project has had zero lost time hours to date, Kemper notes.

Regular communication is also maintained with subcontractors, who are playing a critical role in making sure the project remains on track. “From the very beginning when we started requesting bids and looking for team members, we emphasized that time and budget were critical,” Givens says. “All of our subs have brought ideas to the table about how to bring this project in on time and reduce our costs without compromising quality.”

Moyle Construction’s ability to establish close relationships with its subcontractors as well as with Enstrom and other stakeholders including regulatory officials has made the project successful. “We meshed with Enstrom very quickly,” he adds. “They understand how we work and are honest with us, just as we’re honest with them. Ultimately, the most important thing on any project is building trust and relationships.”

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