As the developer, we at WSP investigated user needs and drew up the project reference framework. Next we produced a detailed draft project for general contractors, all in under two months, and assisted Latécoère in the choice of a company. Once the contract was signed, we made sure the work matched the detailed study and supervised both construction and final project delivery. We also worked with Latécoère’s divisions to commission the plant.
One of the challenges we faced was the need to start from scratch. “Latécoère had a site and an overall plan, but nothing nailed down,” said Nicolas Camus, WSP’s project manager in France. “We had to come to an understanding of what they wanted to do and translate that into concrete needs. Then we could start talking about volumes, dimensions, and the rest. It involved walking them through every step of the decision-making process.”
The other bridge to cross was linked to the new ways things are done in industry. Process automation and digitalization mean that production space may need to be reconfigured rapidly as new equipment, processes, or products come online. “The key word here was flexibility,” said Camus. “You have to be adaptable, because even though there’s a master plan, it can all change in a heartbeat.”
The construction schedule was also extremely tight, but thanks to the 3D model it all rolled along beautifully. “We had to move construction forward without entirely knowing how it would eventually be used,” said Camus. “We had to be bold and flexible.” The result was that Latécoère commissioned its new plant in May 2018, less than a year after breaking ground.