Maximizing Wind Build Returns Through Meticulous Planning

Increases in overall project efficiency realized through streamlined practices and advanced technology

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Although the U.S. wind fleet is relatively new, rapid growth in turbine size and hub height has resulted in an evolution in the necessary resources to successfully complete efficient turbine erection. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the U.S. was in the top three countries with the largest amount of installed capacity in 2014. Globally, the wind industry set a new record for annual installations in 2014 with a 44 percent increase in the annual market. In this competitive climate, wind farm construction contractors have had to increase efficiencies to reduce construction time, generating higher returns for developers, owners and operators.
Wanzek Construction, Inc., which has installed over three thousand turbines across North America, focuses on a proactive approach to balance organic growth with customer requirements. With solid experience in installing a variety of turbine types and sizes, Wanzek has developed efficiency processes that directly impact construction schedules and project costs.
 “Our approach is to identify risks and reduce qualifying conditions,” said Arnold Jelinek, vice president of Wanzek. “It comes down to optimizing design, analyzing sites and a strong quality assurance program. And communication throughout a project is crucial. Planning, organization and communication before, during and after site work is essential to each project’s success,” Jelinek said.
During preconstruction services, Wanzek works with customers to optimize the civil and electrical system design as well as determine the implication of environmental requirements. For a project that requires larger turbines, site civil design can directly impact turbine delivery rates, crane moves and project cost. By analyzing site requirements, effectively managing turbine deliveries and organizing optimal crew size, qualifying conditions are minimized.
“As wind turbines have increased in size and complexity, our quality assurance process has expanded as well.” Jelinek said. “We use lean continuous improvement methodologies to optimize all aspects of construction and operations. From inspection of each component as it is received to final walk-down, Wanzek’s quality assurance team measures every step of the process. This focus allows us to work smarter and be more competitive.”
Wind projects are very fast paced. Once a contract has been signed and a plan has been finalized, there is no downtime until the project has been completed. Construction companies are relying more heavily on technology to improve efficiency and productivity. One method Wanzek is beginning to employ is a paperless quality assurance system for wind turbine erection. The system is wireless, compiles data automatically, allows the customer to view progress in real time and saves many man-hours of administrative work.
Wanzek focuses on four core roles for technology including streamlining job site documentation, enhancing collaboration between corporate and field team members, workflow improvement and job site mobilization. According to Jelinek, use of technology can turn a standard field office into a smart job site office.
“Technology allows us to integrate our teams, evaluate our processes and develop effective solutions for successful project completion,” he said.
Implementation of safety programs and training are another part of identifying risks and maintaining an efficient job site. Wanzek offers its employees 64 safety courses taught by safety professionals, including ENSA Height and Rescue training, as well as over 400 courses in safety and regulatory compliance.
“Our focus on safety starts long before we mobilize to the field. It is a crucial part of reviewing and finalizing proposals, continues through project planning and crew mobilization and provides the opportunity for employees to be engaged in our safety program through an employee observation and feedback process,” Jelinek said.
With an efficiency program firmly in place and a commitment to continuous development and improvement, Wanzek has established a work process that supports the continued growth of the U.S. wind industry.

For more information on Wanzek Construction, call (701) 282-6171, email constructors@wanzek.com, or visit www.wanzek.com.