It’s All Greek to Me

Winter 2013

DBIA Honors Chobani, Inc.’s Greek Yogurt Facility as “Project of the Year”

When DBIA and its Awards Jury consider the “Project of the Year,” they think of the best. The best is not defined by just meeting expectations, but rather exceeding them. The winner of this prestigious award demonstrates innovative solutions to project challenges, develops a unique and high-quality design and effectively uses emerging technology for project outcomes. Chobani, Inc.’s new Greek yogurt facility in Twin Falls, Idaho, earned those accolades this year.

Very few food products have had such a spectacular rise in popularity over the past few years as Greek yogurt. So Chobani set out to build the world’s largest yogurt plant with the best technology, innovative design and extraordinary efficiency. To meet growing demand from the Western United States, Chobani chose to build the plant in Idaho and needed it ready for new products as soon as possible. It selected the design-build project delivery method and DBIA member Shambaugh & Son to lead the design-build team.

Additionally, the yogurt plant needed to be designed to accommodate new products and packaging that had not yet hit the market, requiring flexibility with design and technology enhancements (some of which hadn’t even been determined). Design-build is often used to enhance delivery speed, but the need for innovation and flexibility in the design was also a major reason Chobani wanted to integrate project delivery.

“Our project goal was to design and build a facility to redefine the yogurt industry,” says Mark Shambaugh, principal in charge of the project and CEO of Shambaugh & Son. “By every measure we succeeded. No other yogurt facility in the world compares in size, technology, expandability and efficiency.”

The $450 million Chobani facility encompasses an impressive 1 million square feet, making it the largest yogurt plant in the world. The plant is sized to accommodate 14 production lines and 11 million pounds of milk per day with infrastructure for future expansion.

The design-build project team peaked with 1,000 staff members working six days a week, divided in two 10-hour shifts. Per DBIA Design-Build Best Practices, key construction personnel were involved in all design meetings in this hypertracked project so that it could be completed in just 10 months — 100 percent faster than the time it would normally take to complete a project of that size.

In addition, the project team achieved more than 2 million hours without a lost-time incident. To ensure the highest level of safe working conditions possible, the design-build team minimized truck traffic, limited access to segments of the plant and created optimal employee traffic patterns.

“All of us at Shambaugh & Son are proud to have been a part of making the Chobani dream a reality,” Shambaugh says.

“The benefits of design-build are manifested in the speed at which this project was completed and the quality of the final product,” says DBIA Executive Director and CEO Lisa Washington. “We could not be more proud to name Chobani’s Twin Falls Greek yogurt facility as DBIA’s Design-Build Project of the Year.”