How FCA and its contractors put together Detroit’s first new assembly plant in 3 decades

Steel erection work was split between Aristeo, Ideal Contracting and Indiana Bridge Inc., a Muncie, Ind.-based steel fabrication company that worked on Little Caesar’s Pizza’s downtown Detroit headquarters and the paint shop at FCA’s Sterling Heights assembly plant.

“We had two concrete contractors, we had three excavation contractors, we had two different roofers,” Haller said.

Schreiber Corp. in Warren rebuilt the roof on Mack I for the general assembly shop and Toledo-based Fred Christen & Sons Co. did roofing work on Mack II for the body shop.

“We did that so that enough craft labor and craft supervision was available to complete the job,” Haller said.

Skilled trade labor unions were given monthly projections of man-hours by trade to help union leaders plan and organize labor in a “superheated” construction labor market, Haller said.

The coronavirus shutdown in the spring required additional shifts and workers, particularly millwrights for the assembly of the tooling inside the new plant, said Mike Barnwell, president of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights.

“The timeline was extremely tight to begin and then with COVID thrown in it really didn’t change the end dates much, it just changed the amount of hours that our men and women had to work out there and the amount of people it took to do it,” Barnwell said.

Approximately 40 percent of the dollar value of contracts and subcontracts for the general assembly and body shops was awarded to minority-, veteran- or women-owned businesses, Haller said.

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