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Boilermakers shine on Huntington Beach Energy Center job

Submitted to the Boilermaker Reporter by Tobe Schmidt, Kiewit Project Safety Manager – Huntington Beach and Gabriel “Lucky” Martinez Vasquez, craft safety adviser, Local 92.

Huntington Beach Energy Center

SAFETY AND HARD work — and having the right Boilermaker craftsmen on the job — were the keys to success for Local 92 (Los Angeles) on two recent Kiewit projects: AES Corp.’s Huntington Beach Energy Center and Alamitos Energy Center.

The Huntington Beach Energy Center is a “2x1” combined cycle power plant consisting of two combustion turbine generators (CTG), two heat recovery steam generators (HRSG), one steam turbine generator (STG), and a 30-cell air-cooled condenser (ACC).

The project broke ground in June of 2017 and began going vertical in March of 2018. Even with a restricted schedule, Boilermakers accomplished what some would call impossible. They built two 150-foot stacks in eight weeks and erected two HRSGs in 18 days. Those builds consisted of setting 16 modules, 10 floor panels, 36 wall panels, spool duct panels and a steam catalytic reaction system. They also removed all shipping steel, then assembled and installed the carbon monoxide frames, eight roof sections and drum support steel, and set the two HP steam drums.

The ACC was also completed ahead of schedule. Hazards were eliminated through planning and design. Workers fabricated the fan decks for the ACC on the ground level in modular sections and flew them into position. This method made the project safer and more productive.

The project’s success was due to the craftsmen and women who performed the work. Local 92 was outstanding in safety, quality, production and scheduling.

As with any large construction project, there were some struggles along the way. With the Boilermakers restricted schedule, they were only able to work a single shift until the modules for the HRSG arrived, and even then, restrictions of night shift permitting did not allow for any light or sound pollution due to the proximity of neighborhoods in the area.

The amount and type of work was limited, but it was crucial for the goals the team had set. There wasn’t a single challenge presented to the Boilermakers that they didn’t knock out of the park. Pride in themselves and their local, paired with their skill, really drove their success.

A sister project, Alamitos Energy Center, located just 15 miles away, proceeded at a near parallel schedule. The projects entered peak workforce about a month apart during a time of high craft demand in Southern California. Even though shorthanded at times, Boilermakers performed safe and productive work while producing a quality product that substantially contributed to the overall project performance.

With every Kiewit project, the lessons learned from previous projects is key to continued success. Each project presents new and interesting challenges. With the team Huntington Beach Energy Center brought to the table, coupled with local unions, the success was second to none.

Safety was incorporated into every aspect of the work through planning, design, and construction, and Boilermakers bought into and ran with the safety program. Kiewit utilized a Craft Voice in Safety (CVIS) program that allowed each craft to have a leader/spokesperson meet with the management team weekly to communicate and resolve issues. The program resulted in a million man-hours worked with a total recordable incident rate of 0.21.

A special thanks to all the Boilermakers who were part of the overall success of the projects. Some of the key Boilermakers included: Area Safety Manager III Robert Stormo; Construction Manager Dan Campos; superintendents Marco Torres and Justin Miller; general foremen Thomas Reed Blevins and Zeke Campos; craft safety advisor “Lucky” Gabriel Martinez Vasquez; CVIS members Fernando Saenz, Chuck Speiser and Dominic Campos; steward Sal Perez; foremen David Rodriquez, Ryan Martin, Zeke Campos, Pedro Flores, Joe Abetta, Dominic Campos, Roman Soto, Lalo Cervantez and John Clark.