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The City of Olathe, Kansas is the 15th fasted growing community in the United States. This rapid growth presents constant challenges to provide quality utility services to the area’s new businesses and residents. Expansion of Water Plant No. 2 from 17 million gallons per day (MGD) to 36 MGD with future expansion capacity to 52MGD is a major step to add capacity for the areas present and future water needs. In addition to the capacity increase, the facility expansion introduced cutting edge membrane filtration technology to the Kansas City Region.

Project Development Phase:

Carollo Engineers worked with city staff to develop a 30% set of plans that established the basis for a competitive design/assist team solicitation. As Faith Technologies worked with the pre-qualified design/assist teams we were challenged with preparing unique cost proposals based on each groups design approach to the project. Disciplined application of the companies computerized estimating system, Accubid, assisted the estimating team prepare the multiple cost breakouts required for each design and established the basis for future value engineering efforts. Once proposals were submitted, the City and Carollo selected two general contractors for finalist interview. Both GC finalist proposals listed Faith Technologies as their electrical contractor partner and invited SKCE to participate in the finalist interview process.

Pre-Construction Phase:

The design and construction team quickly began to tackle the details required to transform the 30% design documents into a complete set of construction plans. One of Steven Covey’s “seven habits” is to “start with the end in mind.” The design/construction team took this advice to heart by traveling to Austin, Texas to inspect multiple completed membrane filtration facilities located in the region. Faith Technologies project management, engineering support, and field superintendent participated in this trip to review sites and meet with the projects Texas based electrical design firm VK Gupta & Associates. The trip observations and ensuing discussions led to development of value engineering and scope change criteria that were evaluated for incorporation into the final plans.

Major VE Items Included:

  • Increase electrical service 3000A to 4000A and savings $25,000 reduce main-tie-main gear quantity and feeders
  • Utilize existing onsite emergency generation and savings $34,000 eliminate planned UPS System
  • Incorporate Sch. 80 PVC vs PVC coated rigid conduit savings $8,000 in highly corrosive chemical room

These listed items as well as multiple revisions to Motor Control Centers, motor sizes, and VFD revisions resulted in VE savings in excess of $80,000.

Design Completion – Fast-Track Construction Phase:

In order to meet the projects aggressive schedule, construction activities were initiated prior to completion of final design documents. Faith Technologies utilized their extensive experience in the water industry to assist the design/construction team overcome the challenge of uncertainty in equipment layout due to pending vendor selections by applying innovative constructability techniques. One example is the design of a recessed concrete wiring trough built into the electric room building foundation & floor to allow for future expansion and to accept a wide variety of future vendor VFD’s and gear where the floor access openings are unknown.

Faith Technologies’ CAD and engineering department supported the project team with detailed equipment layouts and overlays of multiple systems to allow for space saving raceway support designs. Both additional raceways and space for future conduits were incorporated throughout the facility to ensure adequate capacity for final design parameters.

Construction Phase:

No major construction job is completed without its own share of challenges and problems to be overcome by the project participants. To this groups credit Grimm Construction, Carollo Engineers, and the City of Olathe worked very closely with Faith Technologies to minimize the impact of construction problems on the schedule, cost, and quality of the project. A few examples of the team overcoming adversity are described below.

The project required a temporary test plant be constructed to analyze water quality and process efficiencies to incorporate these parameters into the final design. A temporary water line that serviced this facility burst, flooded and then froze the recently roughed in and compacted electrical room area. The underground raceways had to be reinstalled as subgrade materials were replaced and re-compacted. While a setback, through cooperation the construction team regained the schedule slippage created by this event.

A major electrical component and critical delivery item were the 500HP variable frequency drives required for the high service membrane feed pump units. Faith Technologies had contracted to Robicon to provide these units. During the project Robicon filed for Chapter 11 protection and Faith Technologies moved forward in the face of threatened litigation to cancel Robicon’s order and secure VFD’s through Cutler Hammer. The city, designers, and general contractor were all involved on a conference call between Faith Technologies’ management and Robicon’s corporate office as this decision unfolded. Credit goes to the engineering team for quick review of submittals to incorporating the CH drives into the control scheme. Our innovative sub floor design allowed for a seamless replacement of these major components.

We have realized through experience that a smooth water facility start up begins with close coordination with the plants systems integrator and careful attention to wiring nomenclature and wiring terminations.

Faith Technologies held several meetings with RE Pedrotti Co., the projects system integrator, in order to coordinate PLC control with equipment furnished by Faith Technologies including motor control centers and VFD’s. Faith Technologies held site specific training to familiarize its field staff with the numbering conventions of the utilized PLC architecture. On site heat shrinkable labeling equipment was purchased to allow for quick field response to dynamic start up control changes. As a result of the team’s efforts, a smooth and well documented start up was achieved.

Grimm Construction leadership in encouraging active participation by major subs in the project sequencing and scheduling phase led to an efficient construction build process. Regular three and six week schedule look aheads were reviewed as short interval planning tools to support the overall master schedule. Samples of these schedules are included in the supplemental materials. All of this planning effort led to a project that delivered additional water capacity to the city’s customers and allowed the city to avoid costly water purchases from neighboring water districts … in fact with the new plant online the city was able to sell excess capacity to other water systems and contribute positively to the city’s operating budget.



City of Olathe, KS

General Contractor

Garney Construction


Olathe, KS


53,536 square feet