The state-of-the-art Johnson Controls engineering and test facility in southern York County, Pa. is on course to become a flagship project for I.B. Abel. The complex includes a three-story, 107,000-square-foot engineering office and a 250,000-square-foot, 40- to 60-foot-tall test facility where the global technology and industrial powerhouse will test its air handlers and chillers.

I.B. Abel’s scope – executed by two project managers, five foremen, and up to 50 field staff – was broken into three sections. The 115,000-volt to 13,800-volt substation was constructed from August 2015 through March 2016. Work commenced on the engineering office and test facility September 2015 with completion slated for November 2017.

We are playing the critical role of bringing power to this complex as a subcontractor to the joint venture of McCarthy Building Companies, PJ Dick, and Stewart & Tate Contracting. The importance of reliable power cannot be overstated. I.B. Abel’s goal was to establish the electrical infrastructure that would allow Johnson Controls to test multiple pieces of equipment concurrently using large motors, pumps, and compressors.

Among the unique electrical requirements in this facility is the need to accommodate five voltage schemes from both North America and Europe. Most projects require two from North America. We responded by installing 28 adjustable secondary transformers with tap arrangements that can be adjusted to fit various scenarios based on Johnson Controls’ needs.

Some of the hurdles we cleared were underground as well. The layout and installation of nearly 1,000 underground conduits threaded with nearly 1.6 million miles of wiring is one example. The magnitude of this task would have been nearly impossible with the traditional method requiring strings and a tape measure. I.B. Abel harnessed the power of modern technology by employing a Trimble 3D system to facilitate the process in a timely and efficient manner.

The sheer volume of materials used on the project demonstrates its magnitude. I.B. Abel crews will have installed 1.6 million feet of wire (approx. 208 miles), 170,000 feet of conduit, 25,000 wire terminations, 12,000 feet of cable tray, and 700 pieces of switchgear and electrical equipment upon completion.

I.B. Abel ultimately prevailed over several bidders on this highly coveted project due to the up-front creativity of our engineering department. An intensive value engineering process combined with the diligence of our field crew will allow the I.B. Abel team to deliver the project at a substantial cost savings to the customer.