Building Use—Heavy Manufacturing
Size—76,000 square feet
Design-Builder—Consolidated Construction Co., Inc.
Architect— Consolidated Construction Co., Inc.
From mining conveyors to tower cranes and municipal transformer boxes, the people of Weldall create massive iron and steel components for heavy industrial clients in the construction, power, and mining industries. Weldall Manufacturing of Waukesha traces its roots back to 1974, when David Bahl Sr. opened a one-man shop in northern Wisconsin in a tiny quonset hut with a rented welder. Today, Weldall employs over 250 and Bahl’s shop is no longer specializing in parts you can hold in your hand. Instead, it’s downright typical to watch a 150,000 pound product move out the doors while an equal amount of raw material makes its way in.
Upon touring Weldall’s formerly 142,000 square foot facility for the first time, the team from Consolidated Construction learned of the company’s phenomenal growth and bold entry into the heavy equipment fabrication and weldments market. Bahl explained that he entered these markets carefully, with a plan, and knew that preparation was, and would continue to be the key to Weldall’s success. He invested heavily into technology and ISO certifications, but was keenly aware that it was efficiencies that could set the company apart. By moving the enormous products through the house more efficiently than anyone else, Weldall could outperform any of its competitors and exceed its customers’ expectations.
Weldall chose to “Consolidate it” with one call.
There are larger industrial buildings than the 76,000 square foot addition Weldall proposed that could perform adequately. Larger needs, larger building, right? Not necessarily. Our challenge was to make that 76,000 square feet work harder than 100,000 or 150,000 square feet. In order to ensure it, we knew Building Information Modeling would be part of the equation. Utilizing BIM during the earliest stages of in-house design allowed us to accommodate and organize the building structure, crane mechanisms and paths, MEP’s, and dust collection system most effectively. While these technical specifications are typically reserved for sometime later in the process, utilizing the design/build method in conjunction with BIM to identify and solve conflicts early on likely maximized the amount of equipment the building could accommodate and minimized the project schedule by establishing needs for long lead time items. In the end, Weldall gained a super-efficient layout with even more capacity than they had anticipated. Consider, for example, their crane capacity. In 76,000 square feet, Weldall’s two manufacturing bays include:
- Two 100-ton overhead bridge cranes with 75-ton auxiliary;
- One 50-ton bridge crane with 25-ton auxiliary;
- Two 20-ton bridge cranes;
- Two 20-ton gantry cranes;
- Six 10-ton gantry cranes; and
- Twenty-eight column-mounted 2-ton jib cranes (currently
installed, with a capacity for a total of 80 column mounted job cranes should
Weldall choose in the future.)
Using BIM to predict project needs, the 100-ton cranes were ordered from Europe very early on and arrived on-site before they were needed. All of the cranes are mounted on multi-levels, and run independently, over and under one another in a coordinated fashion, maximizing workflow.
Consolidated Construction’s self perform concrete crews understood the enormity of the building load and, with engineering direction, prepared a heavy-duty foundation that would normally be required in a much larger building.
The concrete footings of the Weldall addition nearly span the length of the building. To support the massive columns, the crews installed 40 sets of 24 – 2”x54” anchor bolts and base plates, and 32 sets of 24 – 1”x54” anchor bolts and base plates.
Weldall had previously installed outdoor steel rails in the ground at the site for equipment load testing purposes. They wished to keep these rails accessible inside the new building, essentially requiring that the new floor elevation inside the addition match that of the existing rails that were already in the ground. After pouring the concrete floor reinforced both with rebar and laser screeded for ultimate level tolerances, the finished elevation was within 1/16” of the desired elevation. The crews also formed the concrete rail pit.
Setting the Standard
Weldall moved its operations into the first of the two new manufacturing bays one and one-half months earlier than scheduled. Full occupancy certification was achieved a month later. The design/build delivery process, BIM, a highly coordinated schedule, and crews that worked together in a synchronized flow produced a building that was 76,000 square feet in size, but much larger in functional capacity.
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