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GlobalFoundries inspections to expand beyond Malta Building Department

A month into construction, the task of monitoring the nation's largest private building endeavor is rapidly becoming bigger than Town of Malta officials expected.

The Town's Building and Planning Department on Tuesday, Aug. 25, formally asked the Town Board to green light an expansion of the contract between the town and its chief consultants for the GlobalFoundries microchip factory project the Chazen companies and Evergreen Engineering to cover a number of inspection services that were not originally planned for.

After discussion, the Town Board agreed to draft a resolution and place it on the agenda at their next meeting, set for Tuesday, Sept. 8. All five members agreed the change would be necessary.

Building and Planning Coordinator Anthony Tozzi said that through conversations with consultants across the nation who are experienced in the field of chip fab construction, it became apparent that the workload involved with inspecting the budding facility would overwhelm the department in coming months. Without the outside help already provided, the momentum of the project would have already overtaken his staff, he said.

"If our consultants hadn't been there, there might have been some design issues that were not caught by GlobalFoundries or [M+W] Zander," Tozzi said.

The sheer magnitude of the project is a big issue, Tozzi continued, especially with only two building inspectors. The entire 200-year-old Town of Malta is assessed at $3.1 billion. The 1.3-million-square-foot Fab 2 will be $4.2 billion and is on course to be completed in two years. Once the economy improves, it's certain that construction on various other projects in town will shift into high gear, as well.

Sitting ominously to the side during the workshop were construction plans for the fab, the volume of which required a hand truck to be moved comfortably.

There is also the matter of the extremely complex and expensive machinery that will be placed in the building, some of which will be working with hazardous materials and be replaced almost continuously. Complicated inspections not covered in the initial contract will be necessary to ensure that the facility remains safe, Tozzi said, and nobody is quite sure how much manpower that will take.

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