Case Studies

Kemin Industries Research and Development Laboratory

Creating More Space for Innovation for Feed and Food

Kemin Industries (Kemin) provides molecular solutions specifically developed to provide nutrition and health benefits for humans and animals. The research and development company is currently in the midst of building a new research and development laboratory in Des Moines, Iowa.

Neumann Brothers Inc. (Neumann), a construction company based in Des Moines, is the lead contractor building this new facility. Neumann has been the lead general contractor on many projects in Des Moines. It’s hard to look in the city’s downtown and not see a building touched by the company.

Work started on Kemin’s 46,300-square-foot building in April 2012 with Chad Bunner, project manager for Neumann, overseeing the work. The new state-of-the-art facility will provide 1,215 linear feet of laboratory bench space for about 60 scientists. This includes two general labs, six shared labs and three pilot labs. The pilot laboratories will be used to develop products that can be scaled up in preparation for full-market launch.

“If you want to know what inspires scientists and researchers to do their best work, all you have to do is ask them-and that’s exactly what we did,” reports Dr. Chris Nelson, president and CEO of Kemin, in an April 2012 press release. “They helped create the design for the new R&D facility which is an open-concept approach and includes shared laboratories. It is the best possible environment for encouraging collaboration and new product breakthroughs.”

The new facility will help scientists further research and development of products for the feed and food industries as well as the health, nutrition and beauty markets. The existing facility will remain home to scientists focused on discovery research and pet food.

Attending to Details

Neumann celebrated 100 years of business as it launched efforts on Kemin’s new facility in April 2012. Crews are creating a two-story facility with test kitchen, sensory lab, test kitchen and ample space for research and development. The $15 million project is progressing ahead of schedule, reports Bunner.

The construction company subcontracts out the majority of work on projects. One subcontractor working with Neumann on the Kemin project is mechanical contractor A. J. Allen (AJA).

AJA, founded in 1932, has frequently worked with Neumann on various area projects. The company won a bid for a $4.3 million plumbing, HVAC and lab piping work. AJA handled an integral part of the facility, equipping laboratories with boilers and chillers to serve multiple buildings, according to Mark Allen, project manager for AJA.

“The uniqueness of the project is that it is a scientific laboratory building with many lab gases and acid waste systems piped to many lab stations,” says Allen. “It’s not a typical office building. We used many specialty piping and plumbing fixture applications.”

Kemin selected Neumann based on its reputation in the area and recognized for building the first LEED Gold Certified building in Iowa. “The company’s dedication to service and a quality product has remained the same throughout the past century,” says Bunner. “We’ve changed through time with technology and tool advancements, such as BIM/Revit 3D modeling and LEED sustainable construction.”

Overcoming Challenges for Success

The new facility will mean Kemin headquarters double in size by the time construction wraps up. Neumann has been working steadily to keep the schedule on target despite facing challenges.

The facility is very close to a river, according to Bunner. There was a lot of underground water that posed problems to the initial construction work. Neumann ran into water digging just six feet into the ground.

“It was something Kemin was aware of,” says Bunner, and something contractors had to keep in mind. There efforts to remediate some of the water in the area. The company also dug four 30-foot to 40-foot deep wells.

Despite various challenges, Neumann remains committed to its clients’ needs during every project. The company delivers construction services from design-assist to design-build and construction management. Neumann has evolved to meet demands and this is true for the Kemin project.

“Kemin Industries has been a great client to work with,” says Bunner. “The client has exceptional knowledge in their field, as well as knowledge about construction and their needs for this new research and development facility.”

The knowledge past from the client to the construction management company has helped Neumann keep up construction pace. Neumann Brothers Inc. had anticipated work to be complete by the end of summer, but Bunner reports Kemin Industries New Research and Development Laboratory may be opening sooner.

For more information about Kemin Industries New Research and Development Laboratory please visit:

For more information about Neumann Brothers Inc. please visit:

Published on: September 11, 2013


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