project’s most distinct requirements came as a surprise. In 2011, Mr. Brubaker’s team discovered the
projectiles that contained mustard agents—liquid
at the time of production some 70 years ago—had
solidi;ed. ;at meant the plant would not be able
to destroy these weapons by draining the mustard
and neutralizing it.
;e new destruction method and its accompany-
PRINCIPLE OF CONTINUITY
ing equipment required a static-detonation cham-
ber that couldn’t be incorporated into the main
plant. So the team had to adjust the scope to include
a separate facility next door—which required the
Army Corps of Engineers to approve a new design.
Construction of that facility is scheduled to be
completed in November 2016. “It was a signi;cant
change,” Mr. Brubaker says. “;e static-detonation
chamber is basically a three-level apparatus. With
the ;rst facility’s layout, we just couldn’t have
;e change raised concerns for local safety advo-
cates, including the Kentucky Chemical Demili-
tarization Citizens Advisory Commission (CAC),
a stakeholder group made up of local leaders from
various industries. “;eir eyes got wide,” Mr.
Brubaker says. But his team gave CAC members a
tour of a similar static detonation chamber at the
Anniston plant and shared an environmental assess-
ment report stating that the new technique would
be safe and e;ective.
Although the construction project team never had
to handle chemical weapons, every move it made
impacted those who ultimately will. So, project
managers worked hand in hand with the operations team to ensure the design and construction
met all its requirements and safety preferences, Mr.
For instance, when the team was building the
small explosion-containment rooms to destroy
nerve-agent rockets—rooms that have ;oors that
are 4 feet ( 1. 2 meters) thick, and walls and ceilings
that are 2 feet ( 61 centimeters) thick—the operations team used 3-D models to replicate operators’ tasks and ensure they would have the ability
to move around without damaging equipment or
puncturing safety suits.
“;e one thing about this project that’s very unique
is that we’ve had operations people on the design team
from the beginning,” Mr. Omichinski says. “;ere’s a
continual operations presence and opinion as to how
the facility is going to look and work.”
Managing safety and compliance risks also required
creating a cohesive and well-trained team. ;e
team established a goal of having 800 craft laborers
on-site most days, Mr. Omichinski says. But to ;nd
enough quali;ed team members, he had to expand
Douglas Omichinski, PMP,
corporate manager of construction and principal vice
Houston, Texas, USA
Experience: 35 years
Other notable projects:
1. Mosjoen Carbon Anode
Facility, Mosjøen, Norway, a
commercial mining project
near the Arctic Circle that
was completed in 2007. Mr.
Omichinski was site construction manager.
2. Diablo Canyon Nuclear
Power Plant in Avila
Beach, California, USA. Mr.
Omichinski served as field
engineer for the project that
completed in 1984.
Career lesson learned:
“Establishing a culture of
accountability on a project
is paramount for success.
The project team must
collectively agree to the
key results they want to accomplish on the project, and
then empower themselves
to overcome the difficult
obstacles to get the results
they want, with full management support.”
“We’ve had operations
people on the design team
from the beginning. There’s
a continual operations
presence and opinion as to
how the facility is going to
look and work.”
—Douglas Omichinski, PMP