Project Shield

Pharmaceutical Company | Gurnee, IL | Spring 2020

In the spring of 2020, the fight against COVID-19 was ramping up, and the need for virus testing resources was skyrocketing across the country. In response to this critical demand, a well-known pharmaceutical company committed to retrofitting an existing 250,000 square foot warehouse into a space for the manufacture of COVID-19 quick test machines.

Needing to construct six 10,000 square foot rooms with nine-foot-high ceilings, the challenge was to engineer, source, deliver, and install these rooms in just three weeks without any pre-construction time. The total area of manufacturing space created was 66,000 square feet.

​The facility was an empty shell warehouse, with a 40-foot floor-to-roof clearance. After evaluating the structural capacity of the building, it was determined the existing structure could support no load.

The client, Morgan Harbour Construction, needed an exceptional partner on this critically important, high-profile project. Based on past experiences together completing complex, time-sensitive projects, the client knew that PCI was the only company it could trust to get the job done. The teams rallied immediately and began to establish a supply chain and plan of action.

​However, after two days of planning and strategizing, the teams were thrown a curveball. To support the mechanicals, construction had to change from the planned architectural gauge steel to heavy gauge framed walls and ceilings. Even though the past two days of preparation had to be scrapped, the PCI team kept its cool and didn’t flinch. Supply chains were reestablished, authorizations were processed, and the team was up and running again.

PCI initiated the project with an integrated project delivery style contract to create a partnership with the contractor and client. The project team assembled, proactively sourced raw material from two different states, leveraged relationships across multiple vendors, established on-site new hire procedures, managed a field crew of more than 130 tradesmen, and set up a panel shop on-site to prefabricate the walls. This was all done under new work guidelines for social distancing from the CDC and the state of Illinois.

​The job site was bustling with activity every day of the week throughout the project’s duration, with workers scheduled 12 hours per day Monday through Friday, and 10 hours per day Saturday and Sunday. Despite the aggressive schedule, PCI recorded no safety incidents.

​In partnership with its engineer, distributor, manufacturer, project team, and field crew, PCI was able to fulfill the client’s needs. This dedicated team sourced:

•    40,000 pounds of custom rolled steel studs/joists, 
•    5,000 sheets of drywall, 
•    2,200 sheets of plywood

This material was installed without incident over the course of 10,768 manhours across just 26 workdays.

The PCI employees that built the Project Shield were focused and proud. The resulting facility will not only provide a much-needed resource for our country during this challenge – it will also provide employment for hundreds of area residents.

The purpose of the mission was clear and the opportunity to be part of the solution was inspiring.