Miller Valentine Construction is traveling to the Lone Star State with long-term client Huhtamaki North America.

In early November, Miller Valentine began a massive expansion of Huhtamaki’s manufacturing plant in Paris, Texas. The project will triple the size of the 150,000-square-foot facility, bringing it to 438,000 square feet. The added capacity will enable Huhtamaki to increase the production of folding cartons for the food service business.

Planning Certainty and Safety from Design through Construction

By their nature, expansion and renovation projects carry a high level of uncertainty. Often, as-builts do not line up with their brick-and-mortar counterparts, which creates risk for budget, safety, and schedule. In this case, there were no existing drawings for the 1950s-era structure. The team field measured every aspect of the plant, from member thicknesses to parapet heights, to create an accurate set of drawings.

“We’re going to essentially create openings in every side of this building, whether to build new docks or expand outward, and we needed precise documentation of the structure to protect its integrity,” said Senior Project Manager Dave Settles. “Construction is the wrong time to realize there’s a cross-brace in the way or that we need to relocate electrical panels or restroom groups.”

Another challenge the team addressed early on was phasing the project around the company’s operations. Temporary parking lots and docks need to be built before construction can get underway in force. Logistics need to be meticulously planned to avoid disrupting deliveries and internal plant operations.

“Huhtamaki operates multiple shifts every day, and they cannot be shut down,” said Dave. “Every aspect of the construction plan is designed to keep the company’s operations up and running. We collaborated with the client team throughout preconstruction to develop a plan that supports their operations, and we will continue to communicate with them constantly to stay in front of any challenges that might arise.”

Building on Established Expertise

The project is Miller Valentine’s fourth with the global provider of sustainable packaging solutions. It follows closely on the heels of a major expansion in Hammond, Indiana, that was completed in October.

To replicate previous success and rapidly build momentum, Miller Valentine is retaining several of the same project team members from previous Huhtamaki projects. That includes both internal Associates as well as design partner Schaefer Engineering, the structural engineer. The continuity provides the team with an advantage in understanding the client’s operations and expectations — such as for safety, which is Huhtamaki’s top priority.

“We take pride in managing our jobsites to a higher standard when it comes to safety,” said Project Manager Matt Allen. “When we partner with Huhtamaki, we work closely with the client team to ensure our safety plans align with their expectations.”

Other members of the design team include architect James C. Hawthorn Associates and civil engineer Pacheco Koch.

“It’s always a pleasure to work with Huhtamaki, and we deeply appreciate the trust they have placed in our team,” said Dave. “We’re looking forward to collaborating with the Paris-based Huhtamaki team and local trade partners to deliver the same certainty and results as on their other projects.